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‘Captain Marvel’ Brings On the Girl Power

MOVIE REVIEW
It only seems right that Captain Marvel is being released on 2019’s International Women's Day. Since 2008’s Iron-Man, Marvel has presented a good chain, albeit a bit short, of strong women characters starting with Pepper Potts. Black Widow became the first Marvel female superhero to grace the screens in Iron-Man 2 followed by Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Mantis, The Wasp, Okoye and Shuri. But today, Brie Larson heads the first female-driven superhero movie for Marvel Studios.

Let’s just get this out of the way – this movie packs a “girl power” punch without putting men down in the process. While their intentions are good, too many films try to present a message of female empowerment while emasculating men in the process. Sure, the opposite has been true for many years, but this is no way to move on with injustice and certainly isn’t a message that today’s girls need to here.

Marvel Studios has toyed with an “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude between its men and…

'Aquaman' is Good, If You're Into That Sort of Thing

Jason Momoa as Aquaman (Warner Bros.)
MOVIE REVIEW
Up until recently, my only knowledge of Aquaman came from Hanna-Barbera’s 1960’s and 1970’s cartoons and honestly, he was always my least favorite Superfriend. And I know I’m not alone. I mean, sure, it was kinda cool that he was sort of a Dr. Doolittle under the sea, but other than that, there wasn’t much too this guy or so I thought. With Warner Bros. new movie, I now know a lot more about this guy than I would ever care to know.

(Warner Bros.)
By ditching the blonde, blue-eyed clean-cut image with a long-haired, tattooed Jason Momoa certainly made the guy a lot cooler. But when he appeared in last year’s Justice League, I was surprised by how little time this guy actually spent in the water. That’s all changed with this year’s Aquaman which serves as an advancement in the DC Comics universe and an origin story. The latter is thankfully kept to a minimum.

While clocking in just under two and half hours, Aquaman feels a lot longer. While it is one of DC Comics better movies, it still doesn’t measure up to Marvel even though it is basically an equivalent to Thor. Comic book nerds will love this, but eyes might glaze over for the causal comic book movie fan. There is a lot to take in and even though they added some humor for levity, it stills feels a bit too serious. The film goes to great lengths to explain every bit of history about Atlantis, features a large cast including two different villains, and two sets of romance stories. The only thing missing here is Momoa’s shirt.

Nicole Kidman as "Aquamom."
(Warner Bros.)
Aquaman begins with Arthur Curry telling the tale about how his father, Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) a light house keeper, first met and fell in love with his mother, Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) an Atlantian escaping a bad arranged marriage. Talk about how opposites attract. But since this is comic book story, they don’t live happily ever after. Atlanna has to return to sea in order to protect her new family but promises to come back someday at sunrise. So, from that day on, Tom walks the dock every morning in hopes of seeing his underwater bride once again and Arthur grows up in a single parent household. He soon learns that he’s different in that he can communicate with fish and Vulko (Willem Dafoe) from the underwater world also shows up to train Arthur to become an underwater warrior which are great skills to have in case you need them some day.

In the present day, we see Arthur using some of those skills saving the lives aboard a submarine that was attacked by pirates. In the process though, he makes one bad choice that comes to haunt him later in the movie as one of the surviving pirates (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) becomes a the supervillain Manta seeking revenge.

Jason Momoa and Amber Heard
(Warner Bros.)
Meanwhile, there is trouble brewing underwater. It turns out that Arthur has a half-brother. Orm (Patrick Wilson) is bent on destroying his brother and convinces King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren) that destroying mankind is a good idea too for some reason. So, Nereus’ daughter, Mera (Amber Heard) rises to the surface to convince Arthur that he needs to take his rightful place as king and right the wrongs that his half-brother is proposing, blah, blah, blah. The film begins to feel like a history lesson and I find that I don’t really care about this under the sea world. More characters and creatures are added to the story which gets more convoluted as the story goes on. Orm has a lot of anger, but there really isn't much too him.

However, it can’t be denied that Aquaman is a pretty good movie if you are into this sort of thing. It is a visual masterpiece with impressive underwater effects, although Arthur doesn’t communicate with the sea life as much as you would think. He’s too busy fighting off the bad guys. Even as the film ends with a happy ending, I can say that I have a little more respect for the superhero, but I find that I’m still not that into him.

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