DC’s cinematic universe is an admittedly mixed bag. Man of Steel was good but ultimately forgettable, Batman v Superman was controversially flawed, Suicide Squad was an okay diversion, Wonder Woman was fantastic, and Justice League was an outright disaster. Now it’s Aquaman‘s turn. How does the iconic sea-bound hero fare in his first cinematic outing?
Pretty darn good! Thanks to confident direction by James Wan, Aquaman introduces an expansive underwater world that’s visually stunning and narratively engaging. Ironically, the above-ground scenes (which should be easier to pull off) are less successful. They’re packed with shoddy green-screen work and distracting backgrounds. Only a riveting chase sequence across Sicily’s rooftops manages to make it out unscathed.
Cast-wise, Jason Momoa is predictably fantastic. He was one of Justice League‘s bright spots, and he’s equally excellent here. He handle’s the film’s emotional moments well, and he’s of course kickass in the narrative’s bombastic action set pieces. Sadly the same can’t be said about Kekoa Kekumano, the 16-year old actor who portrays a young Arhur Murry; his performance is painfully forced in every way.
I’ve never really seen Amber Heard in anything, but she makes for a terrific Mera; in fact she’s so good that I kind of hope she’ll get her own spinoff soon. Although her stunt double is painfully obvious, Nicole Kidman is also a highlight. She’s the finest actor here and elevates every single one of her scenes with a healthy dose of gravitas and emotion.
Thrilling action and eye-popping visuals (most of the time) make this a memorable superhero flick.