Straight of the bat I have to hail the gorgeous visuals of this film, it is a feast for the eyes. Overall the general technical competence of this film is front and centre in all areas. The designs of the costumes for human pirates and the atlantean soldiers are so beautifully detailed, the CGI is very good and not covered up by using the cheat of showing battles only at night which certain films are guilty of. Talking about battles I have to also say the action scenes are dynamic and very well done Aquamans status as a powerhouse is never in doubt for even a moment.
So is this the best DCEU film? sadly no.
Where the film falls short of the mark for me is the paper thin plot and lack of almost any emotional heft throughout the film.
I think they made a misstep by not focusing on Black Manta as the main villain and instead going for Orm as the big bad.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is the actor playing Black Manta and he had so much screen presence and intensity that I could not keep my eyes of him whenever he was onscreen but unfortunately his screen time was limited. The best part of this film is the opening 30 minutes and it features Manta heavily. Orm was fine as a villain but had nowhere the presence and sheer charisma of Yahya, The scene between Manta and his dad was gold.
Jason Mamoa really did not have much heavy lifting to do in the film acting wise and this was a good thing in my view as they utilised the best of his strengths, Aquabro is the right way to go for Jason.
Some minor quibbles:
- Aquaman HAS been to Atlantis before in Justice League so not sure what this film tried to make it seem this was his first time there.
- Also along the same lines he has also met Mera before in Justice League yet he seems to be learning her name for the first time here
In the end this is a simple enjoyable movie that is full of bombast and does not suffer from the identity crisis many of the DCEU films are plagued with.
So relax back and have a whale of a time with the film
Overall score: a visually aquatic 6.5/10