Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson
Directed by: James Wan
Duration: 2hrs 23 mins
Rating: * *
‘Aquaman’ is a fairly long and mostly boring origin story of the character as a part of the DC’s extended universe. We saw him briefly in ‘Batman Vs Superman’ and in ‘Justice League’ but this is a full-fledged film director by horror specialist, James Wan.
Tedious and laborious, this is another attempt by DC to play by the numbers – there is nothing innovative in terms of its story or story-telling and the film is happy to be among the also-rans.
The opening scene sets up the dullness that is about to follow for most part of 2 hours and 25 odd minutes. The characters speak in a sleep inducing lines like – “In this trident resides the power of Atlantis. If you seek my power, journey beyond the edge of the world to the hidden sea.”
Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) lands up on the shores of America and falls in love with the light keeper, all in quick time. They marry and have a baby boy christened Arthur who will become Aquaman. But the queen is being chased by people from the underwater world Atlantis and to keep her family safe, she goes back to Atlantis to join her people.
There is a big bad world out there – King Orm (Patrick Wilson), half-brother of Arthur is power hungry and wants to wage a war on the surface people. Vulko (Willem Dafoe, looking bored) is his trusted lieutenant who also trained our Aquaman (Jason Momoa) when he was a kid. Dolph Lundgren is also seen as King Nereus and good to see these actors from yesteryears come out of hibernation although their role could have been better.
Since our hero is the true king (remember his name is Arthur), he is also the one who can stop a whole army singlehandedly and take on his bro. A lot of action ensues which includes some rather strange looking underwater creatures – Aquaman also saves a bunch of Russians in a submarine. The other villain of the piece is a man who is seeking vengeance after his father met a watery and explosive death during the submarine incident.
Aquaman doesn’t even make an attempt to do anything different and therein lies its fault. It relies solely on the action scenes some of them are decently executed but there isn’t enough in the screenplay to add any value to it. You end up feeling sorry for Jason Momoa who looks and plays his part well in this water logged saga.
Swing while You’re Winning
Film: Spiderman – Into the Spider-Verse
Voices of: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailey Steinfeld
Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Duration: 1 hr 57 mins
Rating: * * * *
This week has been a tale of two superheroes – Aquaman and Spiderman. The former is a yawn inducing flick and the latter takes you by surprise by its innovative story telling.
The Spiderman franchise was in dire need of a reboot especially after ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ (2012 and 2014) didn’t really do much to revive interest especially during a time when there is overdose of superheroes in the market.
The good news is, ‘Spiderman- Into the Spider-Verse’ is more than just the traditional superhero film where the bad guy is dealt with. It is a smart, snazzy, fresh and very clever film. Even though it is not a part of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (this is a Sony film), it reinvents Spiderman and how. All credit should go to the writers Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, followed by the directors and co-producer Christopher Miller who were instrumental in conceiving the film. It is as if they wanted to send a message – you have seen Spiderman but you haven’t seen it all, yet.
This animation film has teenager Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore) as the central character who happens to be a big fan of Spiderman. His African American father is a cop while his Puerto Rican mother is a nurse – like most teenagers, he is going through a particular phase which belongs to that age. He is more comfortable hanging out with his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali), more than anyone else.
One fine day, a radioactive spider bites him, giving him the same powers as, you-know-who. With those powers, his job is to stop an evil kingpin, known as Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), in his tracks. Kingpin has a supercollider which brings in individuals from a parallel universe, including Spiderwoman, Spiderman aka Peter Parker.
Parker, who comes from another dimension, is now 40 something, has a pot belly and is separated from Mary Jane.We also have aunt May who has more Spidermen in her house, like Spiderman Noir and Spider-Ham. Basically, the plot fills it up with several Spider characters in a very ingenious manner.
The detailing in the film is terrific – this could only have been achieved with advanced technology and creative minds. Right from those split screens, high quality animation, colorful orchestration, stilted frame rate and a touch of the hand-written font, Into the Spider-Verse dazzles on several counts.
There is so much happening that at times it is hard to grasp the visuals and appreciate the story as it unfolds – this has the innovativeness of half a dozen superhero films put together.
There is another Spiderman film due for release next year, ‘Far From Home’, a sequel to ‘Homecoming’ (2017) with all the major actors reprising their roles. Not sure if we really need that because Into the Spider-Verse raises the bar high, very high for all super hero films.