After an incredibly rocky start to the DC Extended Universe, it looks as though things are finally looking up for this superhero franchise, with their most recent stand-alone movie being a surprise hit. Whereas the superhero Aquaman was just a joke a few years ago, this aquatic warrior has finally gotten his own feature length movie and has successfully proven to us all that he can not only work as a standalone hero, but he can also stand above nearly every other DC superhero on the big screen.
One of the most compelling aspects of Aquaman is the underwater superhero himself. While his initial casting was rather controversial, Jason Momoa absolutely nailed the role of Arthur Curry. Right off the bat, Momoa sold his performance to audiences as both a badass and charismatic character that everyone could root for. He had the perfect balance of snark that made Iron Man such an entertaining character and fervor that has made Batman such a big-screen spectacle. Even with these qualities, the future King of Atlantis was still a flawed protagonist. He wasn't a perfect character, which really only made him more compelling as the story went on.
While the actual plot of the movie may have seemed incredibly familiar, being another one of the brothers fighting for the throne stories like Thor, Black Panther and The Lion King, it still did a decent job at making it stand out from the competition. While there were certainly familiar aspects that were similar to those other movies, like the duelling scenes in Black Panther, Aquaman still kept some originality in the matter in order to keep things unpredictable. Additionally, the movie did a great job of avoiding cop-out deaths in order to trigger emotional reactions from the audience, with all of the emotion in the movie developing from the story itself rather than from these cheap tricks that many superhero movies have ridden on recently.
The absolute best feature of Aquaman, however, had to be its visuals. Whether the scenes took place underwater in Atlantis or in a city in Italy, nearly every shot of James Wan's was absolutely breathtaking. While previous DC movies like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice had clever framing, the shots didn't really stand out like the shots in Aquaman. The main difference that made this DC adventure stand far above Batman v. Superman was the color pallete. Previous DC movies attempted to have darker visuals with a desaturated look, whereas Wan and his team pushed the limits of color throughout the movie's entire duration. Its color and visual effects were even better than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which broke records with the amount of visual effects put into it.
All things considered, Aquaman is a huge win for DC and Warner Bros. Pictures. Its narrative is compelling, the protagonist is well developed, and it's just a whole lot of fun to watch from beginning to end. This is definitely a movie that you will not want to miss in theaters, as the big screen is truly the best way to experience the visually stunning look that this brings to the table. At the end of the day, Aquaman may just be the best DC movie we have seen in years, possibly even better than last year's Wonder Woman. Hopefully this fantastic storytelling becomes a pattern for DC movies going forward.