Written by / 12/22/2018 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , ,

DC PRESENTS 'AQUAMAN' W/ JASON MOMOA & AMBER HEARD

Yes, that's Dolph Lundgren, who plays Heard's father YEAR: 2018
Judged upon the comic books and, for this pop culture fanatic, the Ted Knight narrated cartoon of the 1960's, the original Aquaman resembled this movie's blond-haired, war-mongering villain...

Half-brother to the "new" JUSTICE LEAGUE established, dark-haired, Hawaiian-looking Jason Momoa, whose power-hungry, utterly Caucasian little brother wants complete control of Atlantis to, of course, destroy the world...

Having been born down there, the white boy's not a "half breed," and it's very similar to the sibling rivalry between Marvel's perfect THOR verses the inferior runt, Loki: But AQUAMAN is more precise and straightforward than Marvel's more episodic movies, also borrowing from — and taking the first name of — King Arthur's Sword in the Stone legend, and is arguably the best comic book outing since the first IRON MAN and X-MEN... Or at least the most entertaining and fun...

AQUAMAN Rates: **** out of *****
Although, with all the CGI needed to make an underwater kingdom exist, it's a bit shameful that a movie mostly taking place in the ocean probably didn't get a single drop of water on the cast and crew. But all the hidden green screen in the world can't stop this energetic AQUAMAN from hitting the right marks since it takes the viewer from one location to another (a bit like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL), and with each step there's a new literal clue to get to the next strategic level...

All the while catching sporadic glimpses of, without being tethered to or having to tell half the story with, the Origin involving "Aquaboy" being trained by a wise mentor (Willem Defoe) that coincides while moving right alongside the present-time obstacles. And the ocean isn't all we dive into. From beneath the Sahara desert all the way to the middle of the Earth, director James Wan keeps the viewer's gravity in check as the camera establishes where our reality begins and this movie's fantastical regions begin, remaining simple yet involving as Momoa's Aquaman, with his own pretty Scarlet Johanson type in Amber Heard's Mera, go on what's basically a scavenger hunt to find King Neptune's all-powerful Trident-pitchfork that will allow Arthur aka Aquaman to... you know... do what he was born to do.

The Spy Who Loved Me underwater Lotus... where they see the sea
The second coolest action scene occurs when our initially reluctant hero learns the importance of the mission's goal by failing without it — while the best fight plays out on an island's edge between Aquaman and Manta, who will be the sequel's lead villain, more or less a henchman here...

And in the fun and frolicking Roger Moore James Bond flicks, which is another likely inspiration... especially the underwater vehicle that zips around "down town" in this unapologetic, non-stop rollercoaster ride (also inspired by RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and LORD OF THE RINGS)... the worker bees make the best villains, and tend not to... drone on like the primary ones...

From the classic cartoon, looking like a futuristic newsroom
Not that it's a perfect movie. Momoa and Heard's banter has a predictable "He Said/She Said" cadence, usually leading to She outwitting the physically superior He, or He surprising She with having an actual brain along with the brawn, and you might scream out "Just kiss already" after a few forced-heated moments...

Meanwhile, Atlantis resembles a bright, shiny, neon arcade cartoon (albeit nicely scored with a fitting old-school techno score) and the puffy-buff sharks look right out of SHARK TALE...

But there's always a good enough reason for our heroes to be wherever the hell they're at, and, unlike the last decade of Marvel, this is a tight action/adventure yarn for people sick of overlong, overly complicated and painfully melodramatic comic book epics. And yes, there will be a sequel. Sequels, actually. But this AQUAMAN proudly stands, and swims, by itself.
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