Let’s Talk About Aquaman

You know, when I first heard that they had confirmed my favorite beautiful barbarian, Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, I had mixed feelings. I grew up with the old school Aquaman. You know, the blonde one. The one that looked like he spent a little too much time hanging out with the surfers in Malibu. And he wasn’t super tough looking either. This is the Aquaman I was used to.

A more traditional take on Aquaman.

A more traditional take on Aquaman.

So given the thought of a tall, darker prince of the oceans – one of mixed ethnicity, I wasn’t entirely convinced. But that feeling was of course, based on my pre-conception and looks alone. And I am the first to admit that when given a good script and good direction, Jason Momoa is capable of great acting. Let’s not forget that his portrayal of a character who raped his wife on their wedding night won our collective hearts and made us feel like that Attila-the-Hun personality might be okay – if only he would look at you longingly and call you “Moon of my life.” Though his time on Game of Thrones was short, Momoa’s portrayal of Khal Drogo made him a household name in only those few weeks.

Conversely, he had the misfortune of portraying the title character in the sad, stupid reboot of Conan the Barbarian. And while he looked the part, for sure, nothing could save that movie from such a truly horrible script. (Rose McGowan’s ridiculous performance didn’t help either.) But everyone knows that even good actors can do bad jobs sometimes; usually when at the mercy of a less than competent or inexperienced director. Which brings us to the subject at hand:

Momoa’s portrayal of Aquaman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs Superman; Dawn of Justice.

In case you haven’t seen it yet – here it is; the first look at Momoa as Aquaman.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Of course it does. And based on this photo – I’m in.

BUT.

My concern with this image isn’t the look of it. I have set aside my preconceptions of what Aquaman should look like because this version of the character looks FREAKING AWESOME. I like the idea of Aquaman being more of a badass (and super freaking hot).

My concern is, or rather I should say, continues to be with director Zack Snyder. We all know that Snyder is capable of making movies LOOK AMAZING. Everything he’s given us so far: 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and Man of Steel, have been visually stunning – beautiful to watch and truly inspiring stylized worlds that exist in high contrast and low color saturation. And from the press and teaser photos that have been released so far, Batman vs. Superman looks to be within that same apocalyptic palette. Unfortunately, Snyder’s movies, while beautifully rendered, just aren’t good.

Everything of his that I have seen (with the possible exception of 300, which I thought was actually a pretty entertaining flick but I may have been severely influenced by both Gerard Butler’s and Michael Fassbender’s abs) has been terrible. I mean, not just bad, but really and truly awful.

Let’s look at the evidence: Sucker Punch was nothing more than the misogynist wet dream of a very immature teenage boy. (And I’m not even going to get into the way he portrays women in general.) Watchmen just had too much crammed in – the story rambled, it had a significant lack of focus, and most of the characters were boring versions of their comic book counterparts. And Man of Steel… well, it was just bad. I talked about it a bit here once before, but to recap – essentially we had two fantastic actors, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams, reduced to cardboard cut-outs of themselves. Man of Steel was nothing more than destruction porn under the guise of a Superman movie.

And this, my friends, is what concerns me most about Aquaman. So far, in press releases for this movie, we’ve been given Khal Drogo underwater and a Wonder Woman who looks more like Xena the Warrior Princess than the Amazon goddess, so we’re sure to get another visually epic film from Dawn of Justice.

But the question is, will Snyder stick to his usual formula of focusing more on the visuals than the story?

I love the ideas for Batman vs. Superman that I’ve heard, and what we have been told is the direction this movie is taking. But I simply can’t get excited to see a movie from a director who has proven to be no more than a mediocre storyteller and who seems to have no actual ability to direct his actors to good performances, no matter how badass the characters look in production stills.

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