Aquaman Movie Review: What a Disappointment

I was unfortunate enough to have seen Aquaman on December 15, 2018 as part of the Amazon Prime/Atom Tickets promotion. I was excited enough about the film and the promotion that I invited nine others to attend the showing with me. The show was so bad, when all was said and done, I apologized for having invited them.

The first thing I want to address is the whole DC versus Marvel movies comments I have received already over not liking this film. Typically, it takes the form of “You are just a Marvel fanboy and hate anything that DC does.” For the record, this is 100% untrue. I would like to see ALL of the superhero comic-based movies succeed whether they be Marvel, DC, or Independent. While Captain America: Winter Soldier is definitely my favorite of the superhero films, I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman, and Wonder Woman on the DC side of things. OK, enough about the other movies, let’s get on to the Aquaman movie review.

The biggest issue with Aquaman was the choice of Jason Momoa to play the role. I have not seen Momoa “act” in anything besides Game of Thrones and his two shots at Aquaman. Momoa is apparently an actor like Chris Pratt who basically plays the same character in whatever role he takes on. Aquaman is supposed to be a king, who knows he is a king, and instead, we end up with “surfer dude” Aquaman or as I like to refer to him as “Point Break” Aquaman. After watching Aquaman, I think I would have preferred they had cast Patrick Wilson who played King Orm as Aquaman instead of Momoa.

The story for Aquaman was also poorly executed. The basic points to Aquaman’s origin are present, but only take up a small portion of the movie. The plot for Aquaman is basically an abbreviated version of National Treasure meets Thor: Ragnarok. After battling King Orm in a gladiator arena (ala Thor: Ragnarok), Aquaman is finally convinced and goes on a quest to find a long-lost trident that few people believe actually exists. After a couple of clues leading to other clues (ala National Treasure) Aquaman finds the trident and returns to battle King Orm a second time in a gladiator style fight. Completely uninspired writing for the plot.

For whatever reason, the movie studios are continually trying to play the superhero movies as comedies. I personally blame the success of the Deadpool movies for this. Deadpool, whether intended or not, became of parody of the anti-hero in #comics. While the parody may work for Deadpool in the transition to movies, it has not worked well for any of the other characters. This is not an issue solely on the DC-side of the movies, as Marvel Studios has done much the same with Thor and the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok. So, in Aquaman, we get multiple one-liners and site gags that just miss the mark. For example:

* Aquaman’s mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) awakens and eats Aquaman’s father Tom Curry’s (Temuera Morrison) pet fish.
* Sharks with “frikkin” lasers
* A drum playing octopus
* Since when does Atlantis have a bridge?
* Literal toilet humor for an Atlantean needing water while on land
* Aquaman in the desert
* Aquaman offering to urinate on something that needs water to activate

I could continue with additional examples of bad jokes and puns, but quite frankly, that would require watching this train wreck of a movie again, and I would rather spend my money someplace else. Suffice it to say, I groaned at this movie more than I laughed.

This movie will still probably lead the box office on opening weekend. I will be curious to see if any bad buzz from the Amazon/Atom preview weekend hurts its box office. I have seen a few reviews from some talking about how much they liked it or thought it was funny. In my opinion, anyone who actually likes #comics and/or Aquaman, should find this movie to be an embarrassment.

So, to summarize, this movie is REALLY BAD. We are talking Suicide Squad level bad. The #campuscomicscast crew had originally planned to record an impromptu podcast immediately after watching the movie. This movie was so bad, none of us really wanted to even talk about it. On the comic grading scale, it would at best be a 2.0 (Good), and that might be generous. So, when Aquaman opens on the weekend of December 21, 2018 and you are itching to go see a superhero movie, do yourself a favor and go see Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. If you have already seen Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse and still want to watch a superhero movie in theatres this weekend, do yourself a favor and go see Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse again. Just wait for Aquaman to come our on Blu-Ray, go on sale, and then pick it up. I have seen some rankings of the DC movie universe putting this movie at number 2 on the list, and I cannot disagree more. With the possible exception of Suicide Squad, this is the worst DC Universe movie yet.

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