Aquaman (2018) Review Roundup: Here's What The Critics Think
Of course Atlantis has dinosaurs.
Aquaman's release is now just days away. The character may have been the unlikeliest member of the Justice League to get his own standalone film before Batman, but the King of Atlantis comes in swinging. While the DC cinematic universe has gained a reputation for being dour and over-serious, Aquaman appears bright, colorful, and boisterous. The critical consensus agrees that while it has some notable issues with plotting and tone, the overall package is satisfyingly wacky.
"There are living, breathing dinosaurs in Aquaman, and they're maybe the 15th or 20th craziest thing in the movie," wrote critic Michael Rougeau in GameSpot's Aquaman review. "It's not that the plot doesn't make sense, or that it's hard to follow. Aquaman is creatively bonkers--the insanity in the movie is a choice that was made, over and over, in every aspect of the film's creation."
Read below for a sampling of reviews from around the industry, or check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic for more. Aquaman releases in theaters on December 21.
GameSpot -- no score
"Much of Aquaman--more than your average superhero movie, it seems--was taken straight off the pages of comic books, for better or worse. But Aquaman isn't simply a bunch of remixed comics elements thrown together. It's a movie with its own over the top, tongue in cheek, inconsistent, massive, irreverent, CGI-soaked tone, aesthetic, and world. And somehow, it works well enough that you'll be calling Arthur king by the end." -- Michael Rougeau [Full review]
CNET -- no score
"Still, this is unexpectedly giddy, fishy fun. Aquaman arrives in theaters alongside Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, making this a good month for charming and compelling family blockbusters. Come on in, the water's fine." -- Richard Trenholm [Full review]
ET Online -- no score
"Then there's an octopus playing the drums, and somehow that works. Because, at the end of the day, it is a fun movie, full of neon colors and plenty of bubbles and told on an ambitiously large scale. Wan's creativity in building this world is unending, and it is a blast seeing each new setup brought to life 20,000 leagues under the sea: Mer-people and fish monsters and Stormtrooperesque humanoids, spinning through seascapes that look like gloriously immersive screensavers. More of this!" -- John Boone [Full review]
Los Angeles Times -- no score
"When you throw in some emotional surprises, that’s a lot of boat for one movie to float, but float is what Aquaman manages to do. Could that be a sequel hovering on the horizon? I wouldn’t be at all surprised." -- Kenneth Turan [Full review]
AV Club -- no score
"The problem is that, for all of their cycloid-scale costumes, nacreous architecture, and giant cargo turtles, the Atlanteans aren’t any fun. Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a high-tech pirate with a grudge against Aquaman and a bug-eyed helmet that shoots plasma beams, makes the bigger impression as an underutilized secondary villain. (He’s Aquaman’s best-known nemesis in the comics.) Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, the most successful of the DC films, had its own problems with dull baddies and stiff, contraction-less exposition delivered by actors in armor. Aquaman needs its smirking, beer-loving, roadie-looking, Chippendale-chested hero--not to save the day, but to remind us that this is stuff is about as goofy as it gets." -- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [Full review]
US Magazine -- 2 Stars (Out Of 4)
"The best I can say about Aquaman--and this is a big compliment--is that it’s first live-action D.C. Comics movie in which a superhero actually appears to be having fun. Batman, Superman, the Suicide Squad, even our beloved Wonder Woman tend to behave as if they just lost their 401(k) savings during the apocalypse. Momoa’s Aquaman is loose and laid-back and good times. Excited audiences all over the world are already hooked by this elusive attribute. I’d rather throw it back in the ocean." -- Mara Reinstein [Full review]
Complex -- 2.5 Stars (Out Of 4)
"What I liked most about this movie was its sense of adventure, a genre that’s generally underserved as a subset of superhero and just across film in general. The bulk of this film concerns a capital-q Quest, and when you have an actor as charismatic as Jason (and as game as Amber) on a Quest, then fun is a given. Once Aqua put on his best Club Monaco jet-setting fit, the film really let’s go and somehow the same journey takes him through the Sahara, Italy, on a boat fighting Power Rangers demons and finally, a Crash Bandicoot level. It’s ridiculous, but they sell it, and it’s undeniable if you don’t think hard." -- Khal Davenport [Full review]