Even Jason Mamoa’s Charm Can’t Save Aquaman

I wanted to like Aquaman. I tried very hard to like Aquaman.

When it started, I thought to myself, “Not bad.”

By the time we got halfway through, I thought, “There’s still time for it to get better.”

Three quarters of the way done, I thought “Maybe it will have a really great ending.”

By the time we reached the conclusion of the exhausting 2-hour and 22-minute movie, all I could say was “That sucked.”

I really like Jason Mamoa. He has this twinkle in his eye that let’s viewers know he’s in on the joke. His charm radiates from the screen. I thought that would be enough to take even a bad script and make it palatable. I was wrong.

Mamoa isn’t bad as Aquaman. In fact, he plays the character quite well. However, when a script says “have Jason Mamoa sit in a pile of excrement” … there’s not much hope for the scene.

Don’t take me literally. There was no scene in the movie of Aquaman playing in a pile of excrement. Truth be told, that might have been more entertaining.

There is a lot of action in Aquaman. In my opinion, too much. Way too much. This is a reminder that there is a growing trend in Hollywood to be lazy in the balance of story and action. Bigger and bigger fight scenes do little to impress without an emotional buildup in the story.

Director James Wan and screenwriters David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall really could have put together a nice movie if they focused more heavily on character development. Wan’s preference of action over substance is evident in his 2015 film Furious 7.

The romance of Aquaman’s human father and an Atlantian mother is grazed over in a few minutes. Those scenes are some of the best in the movie. More depth into this forbidden union would be welcomed.

The scenes representing Aquaman’s childhood are few and far between. What was presented was great, but not enough.

Want to know why Arthur (Aquaman) has never been to Atlantis? So would everyone else in the audience.

Want to know why rebel with a chip on his shoulder Arthur decides to use his powers to help humans – becoming a superhero? That would be nice too.

These and many other important pieces of information are missing from this film. But, hey – there’s action. Lots of action. An amount of action that is so overwhelming it becomes boring.

D.C. simply can’t seem to make good movies. Batman Versus Superman stands out as the worst superhero movie of all time. Justice League was palatable but not good. Suicide Squad? You’ve got to be kidding.

With the one exception of Wonder Woman, there hasn’t been a decent D.C. movie since Ben Affleck took over the franchise as Batman.

I don’t blame the downfall of D.C.’s movie ventures on Affleck. I wanted to like him too. I think if he had decent scripts to work from, he might have been a decent Batman.

In fact, if you really want to be fair, you could actually go back to The Dark Night Rises with Christian Bale in the cowl as the beginning of the downfall of D.C. heroes on film.

As unlikely as it may sound, there were some bright moments in this epic crapfest we shall call Aquaman.

The always beautiful Nicole Kidman is simply ethereal as Aquaman’s mother – the Queen of Atlantis. And, it’s great to see Dolph Lundgren back in a significant role in a mainstream blockbuster, returning from the ashes of straight-to-video. Willem Dafoe is always a treat.

Aquaman…should you see it? That’s up to you. Sometimes you have to witness something terrible yourself in order to appreciate that it is on a plane of awfulness that few things ever fall to.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I rank Aquaman a solid 3.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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