I’ll cut straight to the chase, I didn’t enjoy AQUAMAN as much as I thought I would (and as much as many of my fellow critics did). Don’t get me wrong, I give director James Wan all the credit for the imaginative world he created and would fight anyone who pretended like Jason Mamoa wasn’t insanely likable and adorable. And, most importantly, the film has one amazing
thing person going for it… NICOLE FREAKIN’ KIDMAN, but other than that I had a problem getting past its clunky script, expositional dialogue, and (at times) iffy CGI (among many other things).
Not that my opinion is going to stop Warner Bros from raking in all of that cool cool holiday box office money, or change the trajectory of Aquaman’s storyline, but here are some of the ways AQUAMAN could have turned my review from a C+ into an A+.
NOTE: As always, there is an end credit scene about midway through the credits, so stay for that.
1) Nicole Kidman needed to be in 100% of the movie. I wanted to see a lot more of Queen Kidman kicking ass, taking names, and skewering people on that trident. Aquaman who? This is all about Nicole’s Atlanna. In all seriousness, her brief but important scenes were my favorite in the film, bringing serious heart, emotion, and love to Aquaman’s origin story.
2) Wayyy too much expositional dialogue. Although there is an incredible amount of imagination in the overall look and atmosphere of Aquaman’s underwater world, there is a lot less thought that went into the script. I get it, comic book films aren’t supposed to be movies that make you think. But AQUAMAN takes that to the next level when it leans on expositional dialogue to move the story along instead of just letting us watch and figure it out for ourselves.
3) Patrick Wilson shirtless, or at least, for goodness sake, showing some biceps. You may or may not be able to tell that I have a crush on Patrick… how could I not with that jaw line and incredible pipes? But here I am, watching interview after interview of him talking about being in the best shape of his life for filming AQUAMAN and he literally could not BE wearing anymore clothes. If we are going to have to deal with the much-criticized (and rightfully so!) impracticality of the Amazon warriors in JUSTICE LEAGUE, we sure as hell better get the same kind of ridiculousness in AQUAMAN.
4) Let’s cut down on the cringey, cheesy dialogue. Listen, I am not a pretentious moviegoer, nor do I inherently hate cheesiness in a movie. I am all for laughs in a superhero film… but in AQUAMAN, the screenwriters forced the humor way too much. I mean, there’s cheesy… and then there is a drum-playing octopus. And it doesn’t just end with the octopus; some of the dialogue was so cheesy, it not only took me out of the movie long enough to roll my eyes with my friend Lauren, but also shifted the tone of the movie from being fun and ridiculous to goofy and (at times) cringeworthy.
5) Find 30 minutes or so to cut? AQUAMAN could have easily been a 2 hour movie. While I loved the Manta character and hope to see him again somewhere in the DC Universe, his storyline seemed pretty tangential to the rest of the story. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I think instead of trying to balance two “villain” arcs in the story, they should’ve picked between Black Manta and Patrick Wilson’s Orm; trying to cram both into this film did a disservice to Black Manta.
My Review: C+/B-