There’s a lot resting on the shoulders of Aquaman. James Wan’s contribution to the nascent DC franchise follows the disastrous Justice League. Aquaman really needed to be another Wonder Woman.
Wan’s obviously been tasked with mimicking the colourful, quippy formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the resultant film is more Thor: The Dark World than Thor Ragnarok. The narrative, revolving around a power struggle for control of the sea, is intensely unoriginal, and attempts to inject a sense of humour into the proceedings mostly fall flat. When it becomes clear, a half an hour in, that Aquaman is only interested in following a clichéd chosen one storyline, I checked out and never found a reason to check back in.
Part of the problem, I think, is star Jason Momoa. He’s certainly good-looking and charismatic, much like his Marvel counterparts, but there’s a distinctly old-fashioned masculinity to his real-life persona that has, unfortunately, bled into this film. Momoa’s Aquaman isn’t defined by generosity, nobility nor heroism, but rather his bloodline, magical powers and gruff combativeness. When he proves his right to the throne by mercilessly murdering his countrymen, I became convinced this is the worst DC film yet.