Aquaman review round-up: 'Jason Momoa starrer can't decide if it wants to be superhero film or parody of one'
Aquaman. starring Jason Momoa as the superhero, releases in Indian cinemas on 14 December.
With Jason Momoa in the lead, Aquaman marks the superhero's first independent appearance since Justice League. While some critics lauded the James Wan directorial, some were of the view that it was a watered down version of a Marvel film. Aquman was also criticised for its length and overstuffed plot.
Eric Kohn of Indiewire writes, "With the exception of Wonder Woman and The Dark Knight Rises, every DC movie of the past decade has suffered Marvel Imitation Syndrome. This unique corporate malady takes a successful formula, darkens the frame, and deadens the story, under the assumption that audiences won’t notice. By those standards, James Wan’s Aquaman is a cut above: The Conjuring filmmaker abandons the witless mess of Justice League to craft a colorful, vibrant ocean fantasy, but the considerable effort to improve on a leaden franchise can only float for so long before familiar baggage sinks its potential. Hobbled by a messy screenplay, paper-thin characters, and a hodgepodge of unimaginative showdowns stretched across bloated running time, Aquaman is the latest example of a franchise that keeps chasing its competitor’s tail."
The film left Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty unimpressed. He writes, "There’s a scene that comes early on in the goofy, tonally bizarre Aquaman where Jason Momoa’s half-Atlantean sea-hunk makes his first big entrance by boarding a Russian submarine that’s been hijacked by hi-tech pirates. He’s arrived to dispense his signature brand of fishy whoop-ass. The shirtless superhero leaps down through the top hatch, turns to the lead bad guy (who will later become ‘Manta’) and uncorks the one-liner: ‘Permission to come aboard.’ Momoa delivers the cornball quip with a Dwayne Johnson-like smirk, then whips his long hair like he’s shooting an Axe Body Spray commercial as a thick heavy metal guitar riff is struck. I laughed, but I’m still not sure if I was meant to. That pretty much sums up every minute (and there a lot of them) in director James Wan’s new DC action-comedy folly. It can’t decide if it wants to be silly or serious — a superhero movie or a parody of one."
According to Karen Han of Polygon, "The movie has everything: giant seahorses, lasers, de-aged Willem Dafoe, a Lisa Frank color scheme, more lasers, an Indiana Jones temple raid, Julie Andrews, an octopus playing the drums, even more lasers, and my undivided attention for two and a half hours. Every second is overflowing — and thank goodness for that. A beaming sense of fun is a through-line for director James Wan, who has become the go-to guy in Hollywood for bringing franchise-ready worlds to life (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) or giving tired ones an extra boost (Furious 7). His previous work seems to have earned him carte blanche in the DC sandbox — Aquaman reaches big-budget heights (and depths) that only filmmakers like Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy director Gore Verbinski and the Wachowski sisters have had the cred to pull off."
Variety's Peter Debruge says, "Aquaman isn’t like the other DC Comics superheroes, so it seems only right that his bigscreen solo show should have a personality all its own — which, in the hands of Furious 7 director James Wan, it does. Gone is the Aryan-looking Atlantean in green-and-orange spandex, replaced with a bare-chested Hawaiian super-stud with long, shaggy surfer hair and all-over tribal tattoos. After being unveiled to the DC Comics Extended Universe as the scales of Justice League last year, Aquaman gets his own adventure, and it’s kind of a shock that it doesn’t suck, but only if you’re willing to sit through two hours of water-logged world-building before the movie finally takes off."
Aquaman traces the origins of Momoa's Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman as he struggles between his identity as a human and Atlantean. Also starring Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and Patrick Wilson, it will hit Indian cinemas on 14 December. Veteran actress Julie Andrews has also lent her voice to Kraken, a mythical sea creature that helps Momoa's water-bound hero broker peace between Atlantis and the dry land.
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