I have a lot of feelings about what constitutes a “good” Superhero movie. A fair amount of action, no unnecessary romantic subplots, and villains with understandable motivations are a few of them.
I really didn’t expect any of this out of Aquaman, and it seems my lack of disappointment comes from a lack of standards, rather than a subversion of them. While it is jam-packed with action, the over-the-top fight scenes seem displaced and are unsatisfying. This is only amplified by poor dialogue, the likes of which are supported only by one-liners that happen so frequently they soon become unfunny and incredibly predictable, and the terrible costume design. I guarantee if you searched five minutes at any Comic Con or gave a five-year-old a hot glue gun, three hours, and about twenty yards of fabric you’d get suits of better quality. Aquaman and Mera’s suits look like elaborate swimsuits made by someone who has suddenly found too much time on their hands but has never been able to hold a comprehensive hobby and therefore have no skill.
What’s most unfortunate about this movie is its small (but still noticeable) overlap with the popularity of the “Baby Shark” song. There were at least five times where I would try to be figuring out why a single kingdom only rides one type of sea creature when the silhouette of a hand would partially block the screen to go through the dance moves. I don’t mean just the fingers pinching together, but we got into “Grandpa Shark” territory before they stopped.
Furthermore, the term “Ocean Master” is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I don’t care if it’s from the source material, I don’t care if it was in previous movies. What I care about is trying to feel bad for our icy-haired antagonist and ending up dying of laughter because he wants to be called Ocean Master. There are a billion and one synonyms that would not cause me to have an asthma attack because I was laughing so much I couldn’t breathe. King, ruler, overlord. You get the jist.
But none of this, and I mean none of this matters. None! But why?
The answer is very, very simple: Jason Momoa.
Every time a questionable plot device was used, or a joke fell flat, or fishy CGI tried to make up for bad prop usage, Momoa (as Arthur Curry) would pop up on screen as a functional shiny set of keys, distracting the audience like a bored child at an all-adult party.
Poor makeup? Boom, Arthur would show up shirtless. A plot hole appears? So do Arthur’s flexing arms. Questioning how Mera’s makeup stays on the whole movie, despite being in both salt water, a desert, and other horrid conditions? Arthur smiles, his impossibly white teeth acting as a neuralyzer.
The only truly unforgivable part of the movie is Pitbull and Rhea’s cover/remix of Toto’s Africa. The rapping can only be described as disorienting with Rhea singing the chorus of the 80’s classic. This song should be used as a torture device, and then should promptly be banned by international law. There is only one way to watch the two-and-a-half minute montage of Mera and Arthur flying to Egypt, and it is by processing the entire scene ironically. Mera in heeled boots despite being in the desert? Whatever. Arthur subtly hitting on all redheads to a goat? Who cares. All that matters is that, in truth, nothing matters. Especially not this movie.