Aquaman, the first DC Extended Universe film since last year's Justice League, is poised to open in theaters everywhere next week. Early reviews for the film call it a flashy, good time at the movies, boasting charismatic performances from Jason Momoa, Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman. Undeniably goofy, the film emphasizes visual spectacle over depth, but maintains a strong sense of fun.
The film currently holds a solid 79 percent on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes based on early reviews, second only to last year's Wonder Woman as the highest score in the DCEU to date and far above its ensemble-based counterparts, including Justice League and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here is a selection of early reviews for the film:
Alexandra August, CBR: "It’s far from a perfect film, but it's so joyful and fun that you’d have to be in a really bad mood not to find something that’ll make you involuntarily clap your hands. Whether it’s the stunning underwater sequences and locations, Nicole Kidman and Amber Heard’s scene-stealing performances or Jason Momoa’s never-ending swagger, this movie is a crowd-pleaser."
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club: "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."
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Notwithstanding the inevitable formulaic dialogue and a superabundance of boilerplate superhero action sequences, Aquaman turns out to be, almost despite itself, an engaging undersea extravaganza. That’s because two key elements of this multi-pronged production work as advertised: the casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as his fierce ally Mera, and the visual splendors of Atlantis and the submerged universe it is part of."
Molly Freeman, Screen Rant: "Aquaman is a wild adventure through stunning undersea worlds that's sure to delight fans of this character and his DC Comics legacy. It may not be the movie that completely turns the tide in the public perception of this DC franchise, but Aquaman is a solid standalone effort with plenty of potential for even greater success in a sequel."
Emily Yoshida, Vulture: "Aquaman’s as formulaic, excessively thrashy, and mommy-obsessed as any other entry in the DCEU, but its visual imagination is genuinely exciting and transportive, and dare I say, fun. If you came for the Aquaman mythos, you won’t be disappointed, but if you’re just here for the creatures of the deep, you’ll be more than satisfied."
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post: "The movie becomes a mostly fun and effective blend of action sequences, Indiana Jones-style treasure hunting and (apologies) fish-out-of-water antics. Many of those gags are handed to Heard, who’s stolen Ariel’s wig from The Little Mermaid and could credibly begin belting out 'Part of Your World' at any moment."
Rosie Knight, Nerdist: "Thanks to Wan’s dextrous direction–keep an eye out for moments in which he flexes his horror chops–Aquaman’s genre straddling sets it apart from its superhero cohort. Wan weaves comedy, sci-fi, high fantasy, and action into something that constantly surprises. Jam-packed with brilliant action, spectacular visuals, and likable characters, Aquaman is never afraid to have fun, which makes it a bright spark in 2018."
Angie Han, Mashable: "Aquaman is all about fun. It may not be the deepest movie we've seen this year, or the smartest or the timeliest. (Though there is some mention of our tendency to pollute. Sorry, ocean kingdoms.) Instead, like its hero, it's the kind of film that surveys the strangeness in front of it, flashes a smile, and dives right in. And if it stays in the water a bit too long—well, I'd still come back for a sequel."
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, and Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna. The film opens on Dec. 21.