For all of its filmmaking mastery, the story at its core always feels an arm’s length away.
An episode dedicated to the review of a single movie.
I have held off writing my review of Aquaman until I could fully grasp how I felt about the movie. The best that I could come up with is that it was “Good?”. I love comic book movies. I love Jason Momoa. I really want DC to turn things around and make can’t-miss movies like Marvel does. I keep hearing all the hype and praise around this movie and it makes me conflicted. On one side, it makes me happy that comic book movies are still being so well received so they will continue to make more. On the other side, it makes me upset that people are satisfied with what Aquaman gave us and that future movies will be made similarly.
Jason Momoa is awesome. The guy is a bad ass. He makes Aquaman cool. He carries this movie on his massive shoulders. They should have kept the orange costume off the posters and revealed it in the movie. That could have been an epic scene. Dolph was cast perfectly as King Nereus, although they did not give him much to work with. The effects looked good for what they were. They weren’t perfect, however, it is very hard to make a guy riding a seahorse underwater look real. It absolutely superseded the Justice League effects which is definitely a low bar, but moving in the right direction is a plus.
My main issue with Aquaman is the lazy, stale, unoriginal, 100% predictable, standard plotline. It feels like director James Wan spent his time on the action scenes and the effects and never cared about the dull screenplay he was given. Had Aquaman come out in 2002 side-by-side with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, it would have been legendary. But releasing in 2018 along side of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, you can’t hope that your action scenes will cover up your boring story. Comic book movie fans expect and deserve better.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is truly something special. It is innovative, clever, funny, and extremely entertaining. This movie does so many things right, that pointing out anything that it could improve seems petty. Spider-Verse hits the nail on the head. It is a Spider-Man movie that both fanboys will be proud of and newcomers will enjoy.
Disclaimer: I am a huge Spider-Man fan. I grew up reading the comics and watching the cartoons. I have seen and forced myself to enjoy each movie that has been made to date. Even though deep down I was disappointed in the casting, execution, and unnecessary changes to Spider-Man lore. Then finally, we got to Tom Holland (who is a fantastic choice as the web-slinger) in Homecoming which is a worthy installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I felt very satisfied with the current interpretation of Spider-Man that we have. I thought Spider-Verse would be a fun “aside” story. A way to introduce kids to all the Spider-People Marvel has to offer to see if anything sticks. But that ultimately it would be a forgettable experience. I was very wrong.
From the get-go Into the Spider-Verse hits you with an unexpected style. Even after seeing the trailers, I was not expecting to be fully immersed in a visual masterpiece. It was a comic book come to life, and I say that with the highest praise. The music is done beautifully throughout and cannot be ignored. Still, I have not yet reached the peak of my admiration.
That goes to the storytelling. It made me so happy to see Spider-Verse tell each character’s background “comic book accurately.” It also did so in a manner that took no longer than 10 seconds each. Live-Action movies should take note that it can be done without boring the audience with origin stories that monopolize the entire first hour and a half. Spider-Verse was able to stay true to the comics, but still tell a new story of it’s own.
The world of animation is where Spider-Man truly belongs. Into the Spider-Verse is unquestionably the best Spider-Man film to date and is the best animated film of 2018. And amazingly enough, should be in the discussion for best superhero film of all time.