Aquaman is set to be released in a little over a week and as it currently stands, I’m a little over confused as to how I feel about it. I’ve thought a deal about it. Certainly not a great deal and by no means a little deal. I’ve thought a deal, straight up. I’ve thought about how it has the DC stink on it and how Wonder Woman did too, but was able to side step that. I’ve thought about how it looks like a hell of a lot of a movie, meaning it could easily be five hours long based on trailers, and I’ve thought how it could possibly be a confusing movie; again, based on the trailers.
But with it coming out soon, I have started thinking more about whether or not I want to see it. Results of this thinking remain inconclusive.
On the one hand, it looks pretty cool. I’ll give it that. It definitely doesn’t look all dark and depressing and muddled, you know like Batman vs Superman and Justice League looked. It feels different, kind of like how Wonder Woman felt different. And come on, Wonder Woman was pretty good. I would argue that it maybe gets knocked down a peg or two the more times you see it, but even on it’s worst day it’s miles ahead of the other movies in the DC movie universe.
I don’t really know much about Aquaman the character, but I feel I know enough. And these movies can be pretty good at providing backstory when they need to, although none will ever beat Black Panther when it comes to bringing the audience up to speed.
I’m sure Aquaman will try something similar, albeit less cool and visually interesting. It’ll probably be an exposition dump and that’s fine. DC doesn’t need us to again point out that what they’re doing isn’t as cool as Marvel. At this point they should know by now. Hopefully. Eh, maybe not. I’m not sure how could they are at reading the room.
Aquaman looks like a sci-fi epic and less like a traditional superhero movie and given the deluge of superhero movies we’ve encountered in the past decade, that should be refreshing. And it is. Wonder Woman and Black Panther didn’t really feel like traditional superhero movies and felt like something more. This could be what they’re trying to do with Aquaman. And while future movies might start to head down superhero street, a broad, wide-ranging, sci-fi back story is an interesting way to kick things off. They’re world-building and I will say that based on trailers, there’s a decent chance they succeed at it.
Of course we know that despite how the movie plays out, whether or not he saves Atlantis or the one bad dude beats him or the other dude with the big oval helmet does, Aquaman is going to be alive at the end of it. Their might not be a Justice League 2 coming anytime soon, but there most likely will be a second Aquaman.
At what point does this sense of inevitability and knowledge of what comes next become too big of a bummer for these movies to overcome? When people like Spider-Man and Black Panther were wiped out by the Thanos’ Snap it was somewhat shocking, but then you know that both characters have sequels lined up, so you know it wasn’t the end for either of them. I would say it is why Avengers: Endgame is exciting. Someone isn’t making it out of that one, whereas in every other Marvel movie, you knew everyone might be dinged up and in rough shape by the time it was over, but they weren’t dead. They tried to tell us Superman died at the end of Batman vs Superman, but come on, we all knew he was coming back, even if we didn’t really want him too. These people don’t die; not while sequels are in the hopper. It hasn’t been a problem yet, but at some point it should be, right?
These movies don’t really have stakes. Everyone you care about will be fine, cities will be rebuilt (except for that one in Avengers: Age of Ultron) and enough track will be laid for a follow-up. You have to be cool with the journey with comic book movies because you either already know the destination or are able to figure it out before the journey even starts.
Yet that shouldn’t stop me from being interested in Aquaman though. This isn’t going to be the movie that makes me drop everything and straight up quit comic movies because I can’t find a way to have any skin in the game. That movie could come out soon, but it’s not this one.
Another potential problem for Aquaman is that truth be told, I’m not sure I’m on board with Jason Momoa’s take on the character. It initially seemed inspired to cast Khal Drogo, but I for one didn’t come away from Justice League thinking that he was not part of the problem with the movie. If anything, I came away thinking that his only lines of dialogue were him saying “my man” and I’m not sure you can convince me that they weren’t. Of course no one really came out of Justice League looking good, so judging him based on anything from that isn’t all that fair.
Am I even a fan of Momoa’s though? This was something I found myself thinking while watching him on Saturday Night Live recently, a stint that he was okay at, but one that definitely exposed him a bit in terms of his limitations.
Of course I remember him from Game of Thrones, but I’m not sure I’ve seen anything else he’s been. And then I went and checked his IMDb and yup, I haven’t seen anything he’s been in besides Game of Thrones and Justice League. I think I like the idea of Jason Momoa more than I actually like Jason Momoa and to take that a step further, I think I like the idea of Jason Momoa as Aquaman more than I actually like Jason Momoa as Aquaman. I’m not sure I even like the idea anymore. If I was truly masochistic, I’d go back and watch Justice League, specifically zeroing in on his performance and to see how good or bad it was. But I’d rather stab my eyes out with a trident than do that. You probably would too. Where would I even get a trident? Probably Home Depot. Lowes might have them, but they’re probably junk.
Aquaman doesn’t look like both a traditional superhero movie or a DC movie and those are both reasons to see it. Aquaman looks visually pretty cool and I like fish, also two reasons to see it. My feelings about Jason Momoa are mixed, but aren’t negative to the point where he’s a turn off, so he’s at least not a reason to see it. Nicole Kidman? Eh. Amber Heard? Okay. The big eyed bad dude is allegedly cool, but you know he’ll probably die in the end. Same goes for the other bad guy. The inevitability factor is a slight deterrent, but not a major one. Not yet at least.
Ultimately, yes, at some point I will see Aquaman. It probably won’t be in theaters because dude doesn’t have time for that. But at some point a situation will perfectly present itself where the stars will align, the TV will be mine and Aquaman will be there waiting for me.
Until that time comes though, I will be standing by for Captain Marvel.