my spoiler-filled review of Aquaman


Over on Tor dot com, I review Aquaman, the new DC film starring Jason Momoa, and it’s a big dumb goof of a movie. Not the best movie ever, but tremendous fun, an adjective I would never use to describe a 21st-century DC movie not directed by Patty Jenkins.

An excerpt:

As expected, given his scene-stealing performance in Justice League (not to mention, y’know, his entire oeuvre), Momoa makes the movie. His relaxed charm, his obnoxiousness, his snide earnestness all keep things moving nicely. But more to the point, we never lose sight of the fact that he’s a hero.

There are few things in superhero films I have less patience with than the reluctant hero. On the one hand, yes, it gives your protagonist a journey to go on. But when you’re doing a superhero movie, the reluctant-hero trope is just tiresome, because—especially when it’s an adaptation of a character whose creation predates the attack on Pearl Harbor—we know the outcome. Aquaman rather sensibly avoids this, instead giving Curry a different journey to go on. Instead of a reluctant hero, he’s a reluctant king. Throughout the movie he resists the notion of claiming his birthright as King of Atlantis, only claiming it at the end because the alternative is his dickish half-brother.

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