Review Roundup: Does AQUAMAN Make a Splash with Critics?
"Aquaman" is making a huge splash at the box office, but do critics agree with viewers? Read the reviews below!
From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas,Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on THE JOURNEY of his lifetime-one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be...a king.
Wan directs from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, story by Geoff Johns & James Wan and Will Beall, based on characters created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger for DC. The film is produced by Peter Safran and Rob Cowan, with Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns and Walter Hamada serving as executive producers.
Peter Debruge, Variety: 'Aquaman' isn't like the other DC Comics superheroes, so it seems only right that his bigscreen solo show should have a personality all its own - which, in the hands of 'Furious 7' director James Wan, it does. Gone is the Aryan-looking Atlantean in green-and-orange spandex, replaced with a bare-chested Hawaiian super-stud with long, shaggy surfer hair and all-over tribal tattoos. After being unveiled to the DC Comics Extended Universe as the scales of 'Justice League' last year, Aquaman gets his own adventure, and it's kind of a shock that it doesn't suck, but only if you're willing to sit through two hours of water-logged world-building before the movie finally takes off.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "Aquaman is so elemental in its tall-tale telling, its concentration on royalty and the overriding significance of battle that it feels closer in nature to ancient myth than do most comics-derived epics. This is arguably what works in its favor in comparison to most Warner Bros./DC features other than those by Christopher Nolan; even as it indulges its technical wizardry, the film is most rooted in its scenes of scenes of greeting, farewell and the clashes of TITANS in the ancient sense."
Pete Hammond, Deadline: Aquaman, under the guidance of a smart director in James Wan, delivers the goods expected by fans of the comic book creation and is fortunate to have the light touch Momoa brings to a role that easily could have been waterlogged in other hands (sorry for all the puns, but it's just too easy).
Eric Kohn, IndieWire: James Wan's 'Aquaman' is a cut above: The 'Conjuring' filmmaker abandons the witless mess of 'Justice League' to craft a colorful, vibrant ocean fantasy, but the considerable effort to improve on a leaden franchise can only float for so long before familiar baggage sinks its potential. Hobbled by a messy screenplay, paper-thin characters, and a hodgepodge of unimaginative showdowns stretched across bloated running time, 'Aquaman' is the latest example of a franchise that keeps chasing its competitor's tail."
VInnie Mancuso, Collider: Plot-wise, the result is a hot, foamy mess, my friends, but a mess that washed over me like a tidal wave, a mess so wild and candy-colored and eager to have a bitchin' time that it's some of the most fun I've had at a theater this year, anchored by a Momoa who is having the time of his goddamn life and director James Wan's genuinely gorgeous vision of an entire universe under the ocean waves."
Alex Abad-Santo, Vox: I've spent a lot of time thinking about Jason Momoa's hair because 'Aquaman' is two hours and 22 minutes long. That's a particularly long amount of time to spend with any superhero, aquatic or otherwise, and perhaps a little too long, considering how much this movie could have been slimmed down and streamlined.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: Despite some engagingly surreal moments, heartfelt environmentalist gestures, big-name supporting roles and occasional flourishes of marine camp, this is a let-down: a laborious, slow-moving and dripping wet film, barnacle-encrusted with solemnity and with a ripply-underwater production design that looks like a giant version of the kitschy items that you put in fish-tanks.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: There's a scene that comes early on in the goofy, tonally bizarre 'Aquaman' where Jason Momoa's half-Atlantean sea-hunk makes his first big entrance by boarding a Russian submarine that's been hijacked by hi-tech pirates. He's arrived to dispense his signature brand of fishy whoop-ass. The shirtless superhero leaps down through the top hatch, turns to the lead bad guy (who will later become 'Manta') and uncorks the one-liner: 'Permission to come aboard.' Momoa delivers the cornball quip with a Dwayne Johnson-like smirk, then whips his long hair like he's shooting an Axe Body Spray commercial as a thick heavy metal guitar riff is struck. I laughed, but I'm still not sure if I was meant to. That pretty much sums up every minute (and there a lot of them) in director James Wan's new DC action-comedy folly. It can't decide if it wants to be silly or serious - a superhero movie or a parody of one.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: When you throw in some emotional surprises, that's a lot of boat for one movie to float, but float is what "Aquaman" manages to do. Could that be a sequel hovering on the horizon? I wouldn't be at all surprised.
Emily Yoshida, Vulture: Aquaman's as formulaic, excessively thrashy, and mommy-obsessed as any other entry in the DCEU, but its visual imagination is genuinely exciting and transportive, and dare I say, fun. If you came for the Aquaman mythos, you won't be disappointed, but if you're just here for the creatures of the deep, you'll be more than satisfied.