Starring Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson
Aquaman is an entertaining but empty-headed superhero film.
When the zealous Atlantean King Orm (Patrick Wilson) declares war on the surface world, his half-brother Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) must claim his birthright as King of Atlantis to avert the war.
Aquaman is thrilling to look at, with stunningly vibrant visual design and well-composed action scenes featuring wide shots and impressive long takes, yet has thinly-written characters and a slow, sloppy narrative.
Mamoa has a relaxed bogan charm as Arthur, but it’s hard to invest yourself in his journey because his co-star Amber Heard (as Atlantean princess Mera) is a more compelling and developed lead. Mera is far more qualified to rule Atlantis than Arthur: she’s smarter, more focused and more perceptive than Arthur.
The pacing is erratic, dawdling across nearly 2.5 hours yet jumping from one nebulous goal or setting to the next, and the plot muddies Arthur’s own character arc.
Arthur seeks an ancient trident that will secure his claim to the Atlantean throne. He develops some humility and responsibility during the journey, implying that he doesn’t need the trident to save the day. However, the film’s climax still hinges on his possession of the trident, undermining his paltry character growth.
Aquaman’s action and dazzling visuals cushion the excessive length, but the film is still unfocused, poorly-paced and features a ripped yet boring hero.
– Seth Lukas Hynes