Aquaman, the 2018 DCEU installation, stars Jason Mamoa and Patrick Wilson as main cast members in this two hours and twenty-two minute action packed blockbuster, which outshines the muddled inconsistency of the DCEU via vivid color sensations and entertaining setpieces, along with a proper plot which used its charm and character development to quite literally wash away any plotholes.
The story of Aquaman is rather simple from first glance. A power-hungry half brother of our fish-psychic superhero protagonist, King Orm, is uniting the Seven Kingdoms of the Sea against the "surface-world", which constitutes humanity and the respective countries in which humans inhabit. The movie departs on a sadly predictable note of using environmentalist concerns about our treatment of earth's oceans to motivate Orm. However, these motivations actually play quite well into his characterization, a fanatic royal marauder seeking vengeance for the pollution of his realm.
Meanwhile, Jason Mamoa's character, Aquaman, defines this flick. The actor relishes every millisecond of remaining on screen, using a unique brand of sardonic, childish humour with epic and stern moments to create a character which defies the serious nature of Batman, or stoic righteousness of Superman.
However, we cannot discuss the characterization in Aquaman without noting the impeccable and well-done secondary antagonist, Black Manta. A rather lesser-known D-list enemy exclusively for Aquaman during the ages of comic supremacy, Black Manta has only been granted a few videogame appearances now and again, testifying to the claim his fame was dragged through the mud like Aquaman's. However, the new movie presents a badass, motivated killing machine, a pirate turned vengeance-crazed bounty hunting maniac. After his father is forsaken to die at Aquaman's hand in a Russian submarine, David Kane transforms into the iconic villain more dedicated fans of the trident-brandishing heroic figure would have no qualm in knowing.
The side characters, from Aquaman's father (Jango Fett, just kidding just kidding), his mother, and his love interest Princess Mara are also all excellently down, and continue keeping this steadfast dimensional charactership alive.
However, the characters and plot are heavily bolstered by a litany of other elements secreted in this film. The soundtrack is spot on and glorious, inciting a true feeling of adventure and visceral desperation. I cannot explain in proper definitions how jaw-dropping and high octane the action scenes, especially the fight in Sicily were. Combining elite Atlantian deathsquads and Black Manta with excellently composed music, well done cinematography, and choreographed action created a scene which could even rival some of the MCU's better action setpieces.
That reminds me, overall, the battles taking place in this movie was very well done. Even when there is a distinct absence of human stunting, the digital effects team is superb in making the wars underwater seem as realistic as possible (for a story where plasma-rifle toting Atlantians are fighting humanoid crab monsters and spindly piranha demons). Explosions are stunning yet not overused and bloated, citing their consistently bad streak in the Bayverse. Massive creatures such as the Brine Crabs, and later on the ancient Altanian monster kaiju, have real effects on their environments, causing them to shake. When they bite down and destroy entire enemy cruisers with their sheer bite force, you can feel the horrific terror the internal crews were facing when this fate came upon them. Another scene to note in this regard would undoubtedly be the Trench segment. The Trench is a savage, brutal portion of the sea inhabited by piranha like creatures with a taste for flesh. When Aquaman and Mara encounter them, at first I believed, due to masterful shot angling and previous expectations, there would only be a maximum of six or seven.
Imagine the filmgoers' terror as the camera pans to reveal an even greater number... then a larger number sifting below their boat, and then a tornado's worth of demonic piranhas actively aiming to riddle our heroes down to their skeletal structures. Moments of utter silence were broken by sudden, loud intervals which crashed the sound barrier. These moments happen quite often in the movie, actually, and are another trademark feature of it.
Finally, the greatest strength of this movie was the natural advantage it held. Despite all my previous lauding and praise for it, this flick was not without its plotholes. (For example, how did Aquaman and Mara reach Sicily from the Saharan desert?) However, these minor hindrances are totally overlooked, because this brings a totally new, exotic flavour of cinematic goodness to an otherwise bland and failing franchise of DC movie attempts (save Wonder Woman). Aquaman's not the movie of 2018, certainly not the best one in the year when compared to say, Into the Spiderverse. However, it's an excellent, fun film. Comparable to Venom, but with all the corny needlessness shaved off and more refined. I'd almost equate it to Civil War in terms of superhero movie quality.