I think DC has finally figured out how to stand out, and it’s magic and myth.
Marvel’s got the whole team up thing on lockdown. While I’d love to see everyone cross paths again some day, the only times, since Nolan gave up the reigns on Batman, that WB’s superhero movies have worked have been when they leaned hard into mysticism and magic.
Aquaman is a superhero movie, sure, but it’s much more of a fantasy quest film. The King returning to the throne that was denied him. The lesser prince, desparately grabbing at something that was never supposed to be his to begin with. The Goddesses guiding the path of the hero. And it’s lifted up by some really game performances that are tuned to exactly what they need to be. Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard (despite her truly terrible, terrible wig), Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren (the stealth MVP of this year’s movie season!) and Jason Momoa all commit and run with every goofy curve ball thrown at them.
But this movie had one huge highlight for me.
I once noted that Patrick Wilson has been banging his head against the mainstream door for so long, it’s gotten sad. He could have been one of the Broadway greats, but ceded that throne to others (Christian Borle, Norbert Leo Butz both better than him btw) chasing a segment of the industry that didn’t know how to use him. But my God, his performance here as, Orm, Sea Master (SQUEE!) is a sight to behold, and the perfect foil to Jason Momoa’s flinty bro version of Arthur Curry. He’s ice cold patrician aristocracy, merciless and unbending, which, of course becomes his undoing. It’s my favorite villain performance in a super film in quite a long time. Maybe since Loki’s turn in The Avengers. (It’s not quite that good, but it’s very good.) Yahya Abdul-Mateen II turns in a good B-line villain performance as Black Manta as well.
The action is great, the script is well constructed, if a little too quick to laugh it’s self and it’s well performed. It’s not a game changer, but not everything needs to be. Somethings simply are what they are.
- Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
- The Incredibles 2
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- A Star Is Born
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Creed 2
- Deadpool 2
- Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
- Ocean’s 8
- Infinity War
- Ant-Man And The Wasp
Avengers: Endgame: Oh wow, you guys, I am going to weep at this one. Like a baby. I know it.
Shazam!: I can’t wait for this truly, and I think leans into my theory about DC and magic and myths. Wonder Woman is the daughter of gods and Aquaman is a prophesied king and Captain Marvel/Shazam is given his powers by a wizard.
Still no Captain Marvel trailer. BOOOO.