Whether you are #TeamMarvel or #TeamDC, you gotta admit that the past few years have been great for movie lovers and geeks like us, Bingers! Admittedly, Marvel is winning it with successful movies one after another. But let’s not take away the fact that DC is also creeping in with movies that are not exactly hit and miss but requires particular tastes. To be honest, the much laughed about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a personal favorite. Zach Snyder’s dark themes seems to be working well for DC, well, in my humble opinion. The dark theme, however, divided the fans. Some hated it while some love it, including me. Recently, DC and Warner Bros. tried a different approach and let Director James Wan do his thing with Aquaman. The lighter and incredibly more colorful film is a refreshing take on the franchise. So, should you dive in into Aquaman? Find out!
Putting the Comic in a Comic Book Movie
Let’s address the elephant in the room. What is it with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that the DCEU can’t get right for them to succeed? Is it the roster? Is it the direction? The coherence? Or the feel of the movies? If you were to ask me, those are the coherence and the feel and tone. Marvel hit the right note by keeping the comical feel of the movies in their projects. Because, hey, they are comic book movies after all. So, why can’t DC do the same? Not that I am advocating for them to copy the formula, it’s just that there has to be some sense of levity.
“But DC graphic novels are great!” Yep! I do agree and I have read some of them. Perhaps, that’s what inspired the DCEU. It could be the primary reason for its dark themes and tones. While its part of a different narrative, Christopher Nolan introduced the dark and realistic approach to DC movies. Zack Snyder breathed a new life into a new universe with Man of Steel in which he introduced a dark cinematography matched with deliciously stylish fight sequences. However, the tides have changed with Aquaman when The Conjuring universe head, James Wan took over the movie. Now that they are finally trying a new approach, how did Aquaman do?
Well, to be fair, I did enjoy the movie. But there was this thought at the back of my head asking, “why?” To be brutally honest, the movie felt like a mashup of Black Panther and Thor, narrative-wise. I can’t help but compare the similarities of the plot. Judging the movie on its own was a bit of a challenge on my end. Luckily, the spectacle hit me like a wave and I just surfed along with it.
The Colorful World of Aquaman
Entering the Krungsri IMAX theatre in Siam Paragon, I braced myself for some visual feast. And visual feast I got the moment the movie started. Long gone are the days when DC movies will be unsaturated and everything are almost swallowed by the darkness of its cinematography. Aquaman is a feast for the eyes! It is like watching The Little Mermaid on steroids! From the crazy creatures down to the glowing organisms underwater, the film is a visual delight!
Behind the spectacle and some creatively shot sequences- particularly that chase in Italy- Aquaman still did not satisfy. It was as if I was served a good plate of salad with lots of toppings but no dressing. It fulfilled my hunger for some action and story but the dressing that brings the whole thing to a wrap was simply not there.
With that said, should you dive in to Aquaman? Yes. Yes, you should but do not expect too much. Sure, it deviated from the DCEU formula and adapted Marvel’s but it is for the better. This could possible signal a new era for the DCEU now that Snyder is out of the picture.
Director: James Wan
Cast: Jason Momoa and Amber Heard
Binge-level: 3.5 out of 5 stars