Aquaman is The Fast & Furious of Superhero Movies (4K Blu-ray Review)

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Aquaman hits Blu-ray March 26, 2019 from director James Wan and Warner Bros. Studios/DC Comics. The film stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren and Temuera Morrison.

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Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry King Orm. With a vast army at his disposal, Orm plans to conquer the remaining oceanic people — and then the surface world. Standing in his way is Aquaman, Orm’s half-human, half-Atlantean brother and true heir to the throne. With help from royal counselor Vulko, Aquaman must retrieve the legendary Trident of Atlan and embrace his destiny as protector of the deep.


Review

Before Shazam! delights audiences April 5th, check out the first DC Comics film adaptation that put Marvel’s competition back on the map with Aquaman. Jason Momoa is more than enigmatic as the titular hero who is forced to face his Atlantean past and take the mantle as king in order to avoid a global disaster at the hands of his half-brother Orm – aka the Ocean Master (Patick Wilson). James Wan’s over-the-top action spectacle WILL get you wasted if you play a drinking game and chug whenever an unexpected wall explosion cuts off a conversation. Aquaman is bold and beautiful, showcasing an underwater world that rivals the gorgeous scenery and creatures of science fiction efforts such as Avatar and Valerian. The lighter tone, stunning visuals and comic book faithful craziness makes for one of the strongest DC film adaptations of our time – easily the strongest of the new DCEU era (aside from Shazam!).

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Momoa may steal the show every time he’s onscreen but the supporting cast are intriguing as well, especially Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s villainous Black Manta. Mateen is SO DAMN COOL it’s unfair that he isn’t in the movie more and although his time with the giant signature helmet is limited to one major action sequence – it is jaw dropping and everything fans of the comic series could ever ask for. Seeing Black Manta in live-action, with such a faithful comic book inspired suit is a joy unlike most others for comic book nerds like myself. Wan brought so many wonderful comic book moments and characters to life in Aquaman that it can be overwhelming at times as the film is unapologetically bizarre with people riding war sharks and giant seahorses etc. Wan makes it all work seamlessly though and his enthusiasm for the project really shines through in the final product.

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Aquaman‘s only flaw would be that it runs about 20 minutes too long. There is A LOT to digest in this film and although none of it is overly confusing – it’s just a ton of mythology and world-building which may have been better suited to be revealed in a sequel. So be prepared for a history lesson on Atlantis, that is until another explosion interrupts the sequence and gets us back into the action. That is where the film shines – the action choreography and camera work. I love the spinning camera effect in these moments – it really elevates the sequence and opens up smaller spaces, making the brutality flow in ways that I haven’t seen in other superhero movies with this 360 degree effect. It works best in the opening Nicole Kidman fight scene – which might be one of my favorite parts of the entire film.

Aquaman is the Fast and Furious of superhero movies – but way less stupid. Not even close to stupid – but you’ll see what I mean when you check it out.

Special Features

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Not only does the 4K Blu-ray look incredible but the special features on the Aquaman blu-ray are GREAT. In fact – the featurettes might be some of the best bonuses I’ve ever seen in a home release. You’ll get to see Jason Momoa hanging out with his kids on set, when he does the Haka at the movie’s red carpet premiere and more. Director James Wan’s insight is truly fascinating as well and you really get to see the love he had for this flick in spite of the major challenges his team faced. He tells fans that when he went into directing – the two rules were: 1) Never work with kids and 2) Don’t work underwater – EVER.

Even though most of the film was shot on greenscreen, the team did an admirable job creating that underwater effect with the hair and they even put the actors in harnesses so that it gave them the effect of swimming without ever getting into the water. I know that James Cameron has made fun of the movie for not being an authentic underwater experience, but I’d like to see him make his upcoming underwater Avatar sequels LOOK as good as Aquaman does. Honestly – I’d rather watch a colorful and exciting movie rather than some murky, speechless silent action film…

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When Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is talking about his Black Manta character, he’s sitting at this lit up table and while he mentions his gear/weapons – a hologram of the item will appear over the table in real-time. THEY HAD SPECIAL EFFECTS FOR THE SPECIAL FEATURES. It’s such a cool feature and element to the bonus segments and one I hope that other superhero movies take notice of. You will get a TON of insight into the making of the film here – what the creatures all are, the locations, the kingdoms (DOLPH LUNDGREN TAKES YOU TO SCHOOL AND I LOVE IT) – you name it, they have it included here.

If you liked the film – you’ll love the Blu-ray because of these features. My son watched most of them with me (he’s 8 years old) and now he wants to be a movie director. Thanks James!

Features: (totals over 60 minutes)

  • Becoming Aquaman
  • Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman
  • James Wan: World Builder
  • The Dark Depths of Black Manta
  • Heroines of Atlantis
  • Villainous Training
  • Atlantis Warefare
  • Creating Undersea Creatures
  • Aqua-Tech
  • Scene Study Breakdown
  • Kingdom of the Seven Seas
  • Shazam! Sneak Peek

Rating:

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