Amazing Kids! Magazine

Funny, Dazzling “Aquaman” Makes A Big Splash

By Sarina Patel, Jr. Assistant Editor and Comic Hub Co-Editor

 

Given D.C.’s tragically wobbly history with designing quality live-action superhero films, Aquaman initially did not top the list of movies that I wanted to see in 2018. But after giving Sony a chance with the awesome and inspiring film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I decided it was worth wading in the pool for Aquaman. Joined by my D.C.-enthusiast friend, I discussed the boldest splashes and biggest blusters that Aquaman made on land, ultimately giving credence to the 2018 film for its gruesomely sneaky tongue-in-cheek jokes, gorgeous design, and graceful swerves into character-building scenes.

The titular character, played by Jason Momoa, is a hilarious and smoldering man-child of a superhero that has an honest and heartwarming amount of fun with his water powers. Momoa plays the dumb but winsome tough guy with surprisingly convincing and balanced measures of brutality and playfulness. He’s scary when he needs to be, and hilarious when he’s not even trying. Actors such as Kekoa Kekumano and Otis Dhanji supplement his performance by making impressive use of their limited screen time playing younger versions of the titular character.

Though Aquaman is action-packed on the surface, a deeper dive shows that the film—and possibly D.C. screenwriting itself—truly shines in the spaces where the character is allowed to breathe. This works figuratively and literally, as the plots on dry land offer a welcome blend of warm humor and lower-key moments that characters are allowed to grow from. Momoa delivers comedy and sincerity with brilliant casualness, though his comically arched eyebrows have the capability lift the scene on their own. It is easy to see how much fun the actor has playing a superhero—a strength which the often dark and tortured universe of D.C. Comics would do well to play to more often.

As with any superhero movie, there are gaping plot holes. Aquaman, though dazzling in its design, might have gotten stranded at sea with its cold open of dense action if the cast and writing weren’t brimming with tenacious light. The emotional tone can seem distant, too—especially when Momoa jolts between intense fights and cracking bad jokes. It’s also not clear if Aquaman fully realizes the gravity of tensions between the surface and the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, or is just trying to get back at his brother for supposedly causing the death of a beloved family member.

Critics and consumers alike seem to agree, however, that the moments of innocence—such as the scene when Nicole Kidman attempts to eat a fish, or where truck drivers pose under a glittery pink iPhone with Aquaman at a cheap restaurant—are where the film truly floats. Overall, Aquaman is but a small fish in a big pond…though it’s a solid effort on D.C.’s part to make waves when compared to its more forgettable superhero film contemporaries.