So, this was a first for me. Usually, I stick to games when I write reviews- that, and that one time someone thought it’d be a good idea to let me talk about music.
Screw that, let’s talk about ‘Aquaman’ instead.
So, the first trailer dropped this morning, alongside ‘Shazam’ (More on that later, stay tuned), and it’s got my head abuzz with creative possibilities. Let’s discuss.
First off, I am EXTREMELY excited for this film. Not because I think it’ll be the best film I’ve ever seen (I’ve seen infinity war, I think my life has already peaked), but because I’m fascinated by how they’ll handle the creative challenge. Aquaman was one of Justice League’s better characters, but he was criminally underused. Setting the climactic final battle miles from the ocean left him devoid of an actual role, simply becoming a bruiser who spouted one-liners. This film is the chance to actually explore who this character is.
And as a film, this one looks SPECTACULAR. The underwater setting we were teased with in Justice League was so dry (ironically) that I didn’t even realise that there was an opportunity to be wasted. This film fixes that.
The scenes we’ve been teased with- the underwater shark-mounted cavalry, the battle with Black Manta, the scene where Aquaman descends into the ocean holding a flare, surrounded by… fish people? It matches the light-hearted, but still bad-ass tone the film seems to have lines up. This film should be fun. Not a serious grim growlyfest like ‘Man of Steel’ or ‘Dawn of Justice’. Bright, colourful, and fun, in writing and visuals.
It all looks fantastic. All the flair of ‘Man of steel’, but with none of the grey. It’s colour and life from here on out, baby. That gets me excited; this might just be the DCEU’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. If it wasn’t for one thing.
The dialogue. Hoo boy.
“Your half-brother, King Orm, is planning to invade the surface world; the only way to stop this war is for you to take your rightful place as king”
That’s an actual line of dialogue someone was paid to write. For real. In a multi-million dollar blockbuster. For those who don’t see an issue, imagine this scene.
I’m sat here, writing my review at my parents’ house. Suddenly, my brother opens the door to my office and tells me:
“Will, our mother, Sue, has made us dinner! The only way you’ll eat it is if you join us at the dinner table.”
First off, Aquaman KNOWS who Orm is. Why address him by such a long title? Why not “Orm is starting a war, you need to stop him“? The answer, of course, is that it’s poorly written exposition. It’s trying to explain who Orm is to the audience. But this is, perhaps, the laziest way one could possibly hope to deliver information. I hope to god this line isn’t in the film itself.
I know, kind of a specific rant. But I’m scared that lines like this will be the rule, not the exception, in this film. The trailer tells the exact same “You talk to fish” joke that every other film, TV show, and video game that even vaguely involves Aquaman has made since the 1990s. Hell, Batman made the exact same joke in the first trailer for ‘Justice League’. I guess what I’m getting at is that the script for this film will be nowhere near as creative as the visuals. It’ll be the first thing that comes into a bad writer’s head, for two hours. That scares me because that’s exactly what caused ‘Justice League’ to be the absolute tripe it ended up being. It might take the unique concept and be so lacking in unique creative storytelling that it wastes it, for at least a decade.
So, to put a cap on it, I’m cautiously intrigued by ‘Aquaman’. Excited, even, to see how they handle such a unique concept. But if it’s shit, this boy is gonna riot.