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Aquaman

aaQUAMAN

By Joanna Langfield

James Wan has thrown everything he can think of on the screen, but the best special effect in this extravaganza is Jason Momoa’s hair.

I was curious after seeing Momoa (and his hair) in Justice League where I thought he made an impressive superhero debut. It’s not just his yes, impressive physique, Momoa brought a kind of compassion to his superhero that was unexpected and promising. And yes, he gets to expand a little on that in this mega-effects laden chapter but, alas, only a little.

That’s because this film really is all about James Wan’s thrill ride. Watching one can-you-top-this computer generated scene after another, you can almost feel the director in the edit booth, pushing his team for more and more. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But quantity doesn’t always meet quality. Even in 3D, some of the scenes that could have pulled us in, don’t. I wanted to feel like I was riding those creatures of the sea though Atlantis, instead, I felt like I was in a seat in a theater, watching pretty pictures on a screen. The plot, and I suppose there is one, revolves around Aquaman not just ending a war between the underwater and land people, but finding his own true place in both worlds. And that’s solid, even if it mimics essentially every other superhero movie out there. More intricate plot points and especially dialogue gets lost, drowning in a sea of “look over here” and an audio track that, at times, sounds muffled and truly under water.

At a running time of two hours and some 23 minutes (don’t’ leave during the credits, there’s one of those post scenes), I found my mind wandering a bit. I was impressed with Amber Heard’s pluckiness, and how Patrick Wilson looks here like he could be William Hurt’s son. Nicole Kidman proves there are no small roles, Willem Dafoe doesn’t. The international cast and scenery is fun, but, when it all came down to it, I just enjoyed watching Momoa’s hair. It twists and turns and fans with the greatest of ease, but it’s the tossing, the arc it creates, that gives this movie life where there often isn’t any.

 

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