“Aquaman” Review: Nothing We Haven’t Seen Before

Jason Momoa in "Aquaman"

The latest DC origin movie started out well. It began with the tragic love story of the Queen of Atlantis and the Lighthouse Keeper, and it was impossible not to fall in love with them both. The star-crossed lovers meet by accident and their love results in the first ever lovechild of a human and Atlantean. Unfortunately, the Lighthouse Keeper and underwater Queen do not get their happy ending. An army of Atlanteans emerge from the seas to take her home, and their son Arthur is consequently raised without his mother.

Next, we see a young Arthur being bullied on a school trip to the aquarium. A shark senses his distress and headbutts the glass, and then the rest of the creatures in the tank gather behind Arthur in his defense. It’s corny but pleasing and gives us a sense of the underwater adventure to come.

Unfortunately, Aquaman quite rapidly goes downhill from there. The introduction of Black Manta was abrupt and jarring, and we would like to have seen more of Aquaman’s childhood other than the one short clip in the aquarium. Yes, there are a few more clips of young Arthur later in the movie, but they seem to interrupt the plot more than add to it.

The overarching storyline of Aquaman searching for the trident to save the human race was acceptable, but as far as origin stories go, it was not very original at all. That said, there were some enjoyable action sequences during his journey to find the trident, and the underwater settings of
Atlantis were imaginative and visually exciting.

Still, in an age where cinema is oversaturated by superhero movies, Aquaman just doesn’t make the cut. Ten years ago, we would probably have given it a five-star review for inventiveness alone, but watching in 2019, the underwater feature doesn’t feel like anything we haven’t seen before.

To end the review on a high note, I will say that Jason Mamoa did a superb job once more in his role of the comic relief member of the Justice League. In his character he is fierce, charming and exceptionally cool. It’s just a shame he didn’t get a movie to match.

2/5: DC might as well leave the action to Marvel.