Length: 143 minutes / 2.38 hours
Now that Marvel’s 10-year behemoth of its cinematic universe is starting to pay off, it’s becoming more and more obvious that DC is trying desperately to catch up. There’s no doubt that DC has interesting characters, considering how often Superman has been rebooted and how successful Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was. Even Wonder Woman (2017) had its great moments, despite also feeling derivative influences from movies like Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Aquaman (2018) seems to continue this trend, despite again having a strong leading character (both physically and in backstory/lore).
I will give DC credit for their casting decisions here. For decades, Aquaman has been the butt of the joke amongst many superhero aficionados. The fact that Jason Momoa is a badass, snarky, and overall entertaining actor to watch in the role speaks to their awareness of “image management.” Perhaps featuring him in previous films like Justice League (2017) also helped to get audiences interested in seeing this superhero in a standalone movie. Needless to say, my interest was piqued, and I finally went to see this film. Knowing little to nothing about Aquaman, I was in for an experience.
While the movie overall wasn’t bad, it felt a little too long. I think the Black Manta storyline was a bit distracting, especially as a setup for a future sequel. After all, when there’s this huge Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars conflict going on, there shouldn’t be time for these other plotlines. I’ll also say that the plot felt a little derivative of Black Panther (2018), which only had the advantage of being released earlier in the year. There was also a bit of a Tron: Legacy (2010) aesthetic in this movie that I liked. I did feel the Little Mermaid (1989) nod was perhaps a little too obvious, though.
A Jason Momoa vehicle crammed full of plot and aesthetics from other films, I give Aquaman 3.5 stars out of 5.