I looked down at my watch as I sat in the dark movie theater—an hour had passed. Later I glanced at the time again—another hour passed. And then finally, after 2 hours and twenty-two minutes, the credits for the newest DC Comics superhero movie, Aquaman, rolled across the theater screen.
Aquaman, released in U.S. movie theaters on December 21, tells the tale of the recognizable superhero who possesses powers on land and under the sea. Though filled with action-packed energy, the movie’s excessive length and extra subplots overshadow the screen adaption of an iconic comic book series.
Most of the movie surrounds around the conflict over the underwater city of Atlantis, ruled by the ruthless King Orm (Patrick Wilson). Power-hungry, Orm aims to claim rule over all of the ocean’s people, as well as the entire surface world. But his half-brother, Arthur (Jason Momoa), also known as Aquaman, stands in his way; the son of a human and Atlanna, former queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), he exists as the true heir to the throne. Aquaman aims to take control of the Atlantis to prevent a full-fledged war. With the help of Orm’s fiancé Mera (Amber Heard), Aquaman must explore the seas to find the fabled Trident of Atlan to defeat Orm and save the seas.
Yet while this plot drives the film, a subplot involves avenging the loss of a father. Aquaman defeats a group of sea pirates early on, leaving the leader Jessie Kane, to die. Kane’s son, David (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), witnesses the lack of mercy shown to his father, and plots to seek justice by killing Aquaman himself. Using Atlantis technology to transform into the villain known as Black Manta, he assists Orm in trying to defeat Aquaman before he takes control of the throne.
Aquaman could have easily been shortened to less than two hours; too much action made the movie seem exhausting. At one moment, Orm plots to take over all of the underwater kingdoms, and within just a couple of minutes, the movie switches back to Black Manta angrily preparing his weaponry to kill Aquaman. Then suddenly Aquaman and Mera appear on the screen on their journey to find the Trident of Atlan. The subplot with Black Manta should have just been left out of the movie entirely, as it seemed completely unnecessary to the bare bones of the story. The intricate plot left me feeling uninterested and tired, plain and simple.
Despite the overall story itself, the movie does employ interesting CGI effects. The underwater shots look technically sound, and with most of the story taking place in the ocean, the use of CGI plays a critical role.
If you plan on watching Aquaman, here’s my advice: don’t waste $10 to go see it at the theater. Rent the movie instead later, and you can stop the movie at anytime if it becomes too long and complicated for you to endure.
Don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t waste your time. The latest installment in the DC Comics movie vault, Aquaman leaves me wanting less when most superhero movies leave me wanting even more.