Monday, December 31, 2018

Aquaman [2018]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (1 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review (M. Zoller-Seitz) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Aquaman [2018] (directed and screen story co-created by James Wan along with Geoff Johns and Will Beall screenplay by David Leslie, Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall and based on the DC "Aquaman" Comic [wikip] [DC] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] created by Paul Norris [wikip] [IMDb] and Mort Weisinger [wikip] [IMDb]), is one of those films that one has to "enter the story" as a wide-eyed 10 year old (boy) with the pages of an Aquaman Comic [wikip] [DC] in his hands for the very first time. If you're not willing or unable to do this, you'll neither be able to understand this story nor be able appreciate the film's manifold technical achievements.  For the film makers were able to breathe life into those already spectacular / fantastic comic book pages.

That said, the story-telling here suffers IMHO (!) from the _same deficiencies_ as other adaptations of DC comic book characters (as compared to the storytelling of its Marvel Comics rivals).  While the characters of Marvel's comics (both good and evil) have compelling/conflicted, eminently relatable, if perhaps exaggerated ("operatic," well, "comic book" ;-) backstories, character development in DC's universe seems intentionally BESIDE THE POINT.   In DC's universe, the superheroes (and supervillains) are above all SIMPLY AWESOME (beyond our reach).

So in this story, we watch a battle develop between TWO factions of undersea kingdoms who trace their roots to the lost civilization of Atlantis, and, again, to ask too many questions (beginning with WHY?) is BESIDE THE POINT / to be almost WILDLY "UNGRATEFUL."  We're just invited to be THRILLED by the clash of two factions, one riding elaborate 25' tall sea horses and the other riding on the backs of armored sharks.

Again to a 10-12 year old boy, especially with all the young women, all quite amply endowed, being dressed in the tightest of formfitting gear, embellished with shiny, mermaid-like scales (and armed with exploding tridents, or underwater laser blasters) WHAT POSSIBLY COULD BE MORE AWESOME THAN THIS??  But ... well ... is there anything more ...?

As far as I could see ... no.

So I honestly liked Marvel's development of Thor, also a demigod, if from "a different realm" so much better than the simple if ... after a while, tired ... AWESOMENESS here.

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