December 17, 2018

CINEMA | Jason Momoa Swims into Spectacle – 'Aquaman'

"The time has come for Atlantis to rise again."
Jason Momoa Amber Heard James Wan | DC Aquaman

Everything about Aquaman should be awful yet director James Wan's version of the often maligned DC Comics underwater superhero is such a lively (if bloated), purely fun experience. A mostly shirtless Jason Momoa stars as the half-Atlantean, half-land-dweller hero Arthur Curry as the film rests on his natural swashbuckling, biracial charisma.

The sheer amount of stuff jam-packed into Aquaman is almost indescribable. It has the usually complex and overdramatic mythology of a Man of Steel or Thor told with the pure spectacle and self-aware cheese of the Fast & Furious franchise mixed with the eye-popping special effects of Avatar.

The truly random cast of misfits and top-notch acting talent includes the likes of Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman who all bring an air of class to the endeavour, especially the latter two as Arthur's lighthouse keeper father and Queen mother from Atlantis. To see these serious actors try their Shakespearean best to ground the utterly ridiculous underwater mythology is never not entertaining.

Jason Momoa Yahya Abdul-Mateen II James Wan | DC Aquaman

The villainous King Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur's half-brother, plots to divide the united seven kingdoms of the sea to attack the humans on land. Weaved into this is a very cool-looking but extraneous Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a highlight secondary villain and future big bad Black Manta in all of his insane glory. It's truly difficult to describe just how much is packed into the massive 143-minute feature.

A somewhat miscast but serviceable Amber Heard as more than capable sidekick Mera gets a lot of exposition delivery but Heard's physicality and commitment help make the whole ridiculous affair somewhat sensible in understanding. She's a vessel for following along the global under the sea melodrama of royal intrigue, crustacean/kaiju war, and oceanic betrayal

There's more stuffed into the script credited to David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall than quite possible the entirety of Marvel's first five MCU Phase One films. The breathless pace is relentless cribbing so many other cinematic adventures on its way.

Aquaman almost defies comprehension even for the glut of superhero fare nowadays. It's the most movie of any action films I can remember seeing. Also, it really goes for broke and there's truly so much in the story that's hard to believe it was actually put to screen. It's a visually arresting fantasy adventure soap opera that's colourfully vibrant and more often than not pure joy.


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