There is so much going on all of the time, a key plot device often poses itself as a seemingly throwaway line of dialogue
Is the DC extended universe successful? It’s made money. Lots of it. It’s the 12th highest grossing film franchise of all time, and realistically, Aquaman should push that up to 9th by the end of its cinematic run. That’s higher than Transformers, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Jurassic Park. Imagine what the numbers would look like were these films to the standard Jurassic Park (usually) meets. The franchise gets slated, but it brings in the revenue by the mountain.
Yet, despite it’s incredibly mixed set of companion films, Aquaman is very standalone, and that comes with huge responsibility for not just his future, but equally his past, as a character who has never had so much focus pinned on him during his 77 year long transition from comic to the big screen.
Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is a child born of a cross-society boundaries, different to everyone around him. But when his mother, the queen of Atlantis, disappears, Arthur is left to be brought up by his father, knowing how special he is. Using his aquatic powers to his advantage, Arthur (now known as Aquaman) travels across the sea helping those in need. So after news of his birth reaches Atlantic, with his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) reigning as king, the throne has a threat, and Orm sets out to unite the underwater kingdoms against Aquaman.
Every moment of the film’s obscene run time is a total eclectic mess. There is so much going on all of the time, a key plot device often poses itself as a seemingly throwaway line of dialogue. There is a real sense of producer overkill, pandering to what they believe audiences want, rather than the proven track record these types of blockbuster profit from. DC could easily match the realms of Marvel with its character stature, but until it locks down and fixes its core issues it won’t even have a hope of fixing that.
The CGI quality is as poor as DCEU always is (bar The Trench scene), and that is perhaps the one major issue that is constantly present in these films. It’s just not anywhere near the standard even films of a much smaller budget manage to reach, and that’s a huge shame. It doesn’t seem to be something the company are even looking at as a potential issue to fix, let alone as its major problem.
This leaves such a lack of confidence in the direction Warner Brothers are choosing to take, leaving them pushing out films of Aquaman’s quality. It’s by no means a terrible film, but it also feels no better than Man Of Steel released five years ago; there simply has to be a clear change year on year, not the complete lack of anything currently seen.
Aquaman says more about its universe than it does itself, using almost all of Aquaman’s (relatively) well known villains in just one picture. It’s messy and unclean, with dodgy CGI and a disastrously winding story line. Yet, it works in the strangest of ways, perhaps becoming the film future fans will talk of as ‘the most representative film of the franchise.’ It’s a whole lot of fun, but boy does it make life hard work for itself.
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