Quite possibly the worst comic book movie ever made, Aquaman follows Jason Momoa’s title character as he reluctantly embarks on a quest to stop his half-brother (Patrick Wilson’s King Orm) from launching an all-out war against humanity. Filmmaker James Wan kicks the proceedings off with an eye-rollingly slick action sequence that immediately establishes an atmosphere of over-the-top cartoonishness, which ensures that Aquaman is, for much of its interminable running time, the cinematic equivalent of watching somebody else play a very loud video game for hours on end – with the movie’s sheen of pervasive artificiality preventing the viewer from connecting to anyone or anything within the busy narrative. (It’s too bad, ultimately, given that Momoa delivers an undeniably and exceedingly charming performance that belongs in a much, much better film.) The uninvolving vibe goes from bad to worse as Aquaman progresses into its often aggressively convoluted and thoroughly tedious midsection, as Wan, working from David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall’s far-from-streamlined screenplay, delivers a CGI-heavy second act that’s rife with impossibly unconvincing action set-pieces that are, to put it mildly, headache-inducing and seemingly endless. And although Wan has peppered the picture with a very small handful of passable sequences (eg two characters are reunited in an exceedingly rare low-key and down-to-earth interlude), Aquaman predominantly comes off as bottom-of-the-barrel endeavor that feels far longer than its already-absurd 143 minutes.
no stars out of ****