Aquaman revives the DC film universe

Olivia Brightbill

Superhero fatigue has been the term tossed around, especially in reference to the DC Cinematic Extended Universe (DCEU) but, Aquaman is the unexpectedly fun blockbuster to breathe some life into the scene. It felt like a summer movie with the bright colors and sea themes that refresh the dull winter.

James Wan was definitely the best director to deliver the first fun DCEU movie that did not have to be dark and gritty or shot in greyscale to be true to the material. Far too often action sequences get chopped up and there is so many rapid scene cut, that the whole thing just looks like a blur.

Wan’s linear action sequences are much effective. These were best portrayed in the third act when Arthur and Mera were split up into different fights, but Wan would not cut away all the time and audiences could see sequences actually play out.

Also, there was enough tension in both fights to keep interest throughout and one did not outweigh the other. However, there were a lot of unnecessary 360 spinning shots that might just make people dizzy. This worked a few times in the action sequences for grand effect. The first fight scene with Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna started off the movie with high energy because it was so dynamic. Yet, it got old quick especially when it was just of characters standing.

Jason Momoa is the right actor to revive interest in the Aquaman, the Hawkeye of The Justice League, sort of bringing up the rear. Momoa is naturally charismatic and no one can say that he looks weak.

The movie succeeds in making Aquaman’s powers look cool, even the telepathy with fish. Momoa plays a new version of Arthur Curry who is less serious than the what DC fans have seen in recent years and is exactly what the general public needs to ease the hatred of DC movies. There is something very genuine in his performance and it resonates with audiences when the actor looks like he is actually having fun with the role.

The casting is also a nice change of pace from blonde hair blue-eyed portrayals in the past. Most importantly, Aquaman is likable to the masses because the DCEU has struggled with catering to people outside the fanbase which is the key to a profitable future. This was a much-needed win for the franchise.

Amber Heard’s performance as Mera was everything I needed and more, and the character was portrayed very well. Despite being a side character, Mera played such a prevalent role in the plot that I found myself captivated by her story. As much as I loved Momoa as Aquaman, Heard as Mera stole the show. As a character, Mera is just so powerful in her abilities and her presence on screen at times would outshine Arthur.

I did like Mera’s hair being kept blaring red, and it translates to the screen better than I thought it would. It fits right in with the vibrant color themes of the rest of the film. In terms of Mera’s new suit in Aquaman versus in Justice League, I prefer the latter since she looks so ready to throw down. But Aquaman is supposed to be less dark and more lively than Justice League and for that, Mera’s new suit serves its purpose.