Recently it was announced that James Gunn, he of Guardians Of The Galaxy fame, will be heading over to the DC Universe to head-up the forthcoming Suicide Squad 2 movie. On the evidence of previous DC Universe films, including this latest, Aquaman, he has a lot to do.
DC have got into the habit of following where others lead. This is probably unfair, given that many of their characters and storylines were around first, but, the sad truth is, many have copied and copied well, leaving DC to play catch-up.
Here, as writers David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (“Orphan”, “The Walking Dead (TV)”), Will Beall (“Castle (TV)”, “Gangster Squad”), Geoff Johns (“Arrow (TV)”, “The Flash (TV)”) and James Wan (“Saw”, “The Nun”), who also directs, literally plunge us into the ocean (again and again and again), we get stories, imagery, even music, that are all too familiar.
The half-blood rightful king is reminiscent of Harry Potter, Jason Momoa (“Justice League“, “Sugar Mountain“) trying to be all quick-witted and sarcastic is reminiscent of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, as are the underwater battle scenes involving space ships…underwater space ships, sea ships, space ships that go underwater, anyway, those, as the music takes an eighties-esq vibe and we’re full of neon.
You could even look at some of the sea creatures and compare them to Pirates Of The Caribbean, of the mythical, not-so-mythical giant creature to that of the Kraken from Jason And The Argonauts, heck, even the final big battle reminded me of Pacific Rim. As I said, I’m completely aware that DC may well have been there first, but on screen, they lag behind.
So, where does this leave us? Well, it leaves Momoa as a land-dwelling, half-blood, should-be-king of Atlantis searching for a mythical trident with the aid of his brother’s fiancé Mera, Amber Heard (“Justice League“, “The Danish Girl“), who doesn’t believe in her future husbands plan of “attack the surface”, is the best one.
The brother, Patrick Wilson (“The Commuter“, “Bone Tomahawk“), joins the underwater realms, including that of King Nereus, Dolph Lundgren (“Arrow (TV)”, “Rocky IV”), to launch an attack on the land-dwellers, and become the master of everything.
Only Momoa can stop him, after his journey to get the staff, naturally, oh and there’s a side story with Manta, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“The Greatest Showman”, “The Get Down (TV)”), which is all a bit of an unnecessary distraction really.
Willem Dafoe (“Murder On The Orient Express“, “The Great Wall“) is whoever’s in charge right hand man, whilst Nicole Kidman (“Paddington“, “Lion“) is Aquaman’s mum and Temuera Morrison (“Moana“, “Green Lantern”) is the father.
There’s some CGI de-aging at the start of the movie which makes Morrison look like a character from a cut-scene of a PS3 game, Kidman looks amazing. The CGI of characters underwater, particularly movement, is, well, reminiscent of a PS3 game to be honest.
It’s not all bad, some of the creatures, the larger ones in particular, look good and the descent to the Kingdom of the Trench is the standout scene of the film, spectacular looking and sounding.
Look, Aquaman isn’t necessarily a bad film per-say, yes it’s overly long at nearly 2.5 hours and some of the CGI isn’t up to what you see from Marvel, but the main issue is, we’ve seen it all before in one form or another, in one franchise or another. It’s hard to be impressed by a repeat that doesn’t even match the quality of what went before it.