Director: James Wan | Runtime: 2h 23mins | Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is living out his post-Justice League exploits saving lives and drinking beer until his cushy existence is shook by the potential threat of his half brother Orm (Patrick Wilson). While a war is waging, Arthur and Mera (Amber Heard) search for the lost Trident of Atlan.
DC’s track record isn’t spectacular, in fact the saving grace of the franchise was Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman which is mostly due to, well, Patty Jenkins. It seems that the first real quality from DC is Snyderless, and so the franchise follows in those footsteps by having James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) lead the charge in their newest solo film Aquaman. You don’t need to look much further than the first few action scenes to see James Wan’s unique approach to the film, as Nicole Kidman takes down nameless henchmen in a flowing continuous shot, setting the bar high for the rest of the film’s action scenes.
In the action, you can see Wan having fun with his direction, especially in the scenes taking place in Italy. As Arthur and Mera are hopping from building to building being run down by henchmen. Wan captures tension and fluidity against a beautiful Italian backdrop all while steering away from heavily cut sequences, something that has plagued the superhero genre for too long.
This, unfortunately, is the only ‘fun’ aspect about the film. Tonally, the film is a sinking ship. Unnecessary timing of one liners, forced romances and random character traits that come out of nowhere, even Jason Momoa (probably one of the most charismatic actors alongside Dwayne Johnson) can’t deliver the lines with any charm. Not to say Momoa is particularly bad though, it just feels like the film is missing a beat every time character converse, and try to push the story forward.
You will have fun, no doubt, but when the film is really struggling to find it’s tone even by the end of the film, it leaves it with a lack of personality and essentially, voiceless.