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Of Spideys and Aquamen: Comparing December’s two comic book movies

Is ‘Aquaman’ another DC Extended Universe fiasco?

When December began, fans of comic book movies knew they would be getting two films just for them: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Aquaman. Despite trailers for both movies garnering positive buzz, there was still trepidation from fans. Could an animated Spider-Man release really work? Would Aquaman be another DC Extended Universe fiasco? As AiPT!’s David Brooke wrote in his review, Spider-Verse exceeded all expectations. Did Aquaman do the same? And how does it compare to the cross dimensional adventure starring our favorite Spider-Friends?

Fun Factor

Spider-Verse deals with Miles Morales learning his new Spider powers. The audience watches Miles grow into his new powers while he also navigates the treacherous waters of being a teenager. Miles brings the energy and fun we come to expect from Spider-Man. Of course, Peter Parker has never been one to let anyone outdo him. Parker is great in the movie and provides some of the best lines. The interaction between Peter and Miles is very enjoyable to watch. Watching the relationship between the two Spider-Men grow is extremely satisfying.

Spider-Verse also has all the adventure you would expect from a Spider-Man story. The battles are exciting and the soundtrack fits the movie perfectly (the training montage is great). Between the jokes that will make you out laugh out loud and the fast paced action, Spider-Verse is one of the most fun movies of the year.

The trailers showed  Aquaman  was not going to take itself too seriously and to the movie’s credit, it never does. The film is an action packed romp filled with one liners that will remind its audience of an 1980’s action flick. There is a whole lot of fun to be had but it comes with a catch: it is almost two and a half hours long.

Winner: Into the Spider-Verse

Acting

This is more about acting versus voice acting. Call it unfair if you like, but we are comparing movies about radioactive spiders and fishmen, so normal rules are out the window.

Going forward, whenever I read a Spider-Man comic, I will hear Jake Johnson’s voice. He captured Peter’s voice perfectly. The cynicism, worry, and heroism that are associated with everyone’s favorite webhead all come through perfectly in Spider-Verse. He was definitely the highlight of a very impressive cast. That being said, while Nicholas Cage did a great job, he almost came off as a caricature and Kingpin did not sound as cold and calculating as I would have liked.

Despite the sometimes cheesy and unfunny dialogue, Jason Momoa does bring a certain charm to Aquaman. It is the kind of bro charm that can get very grating, but some people will like it. The rest of the cast are saddled with an unimpressive story and script and are therefore never given the chance to sink or swim. Nicole Kidman seemed to do a good job and Amber Heard seemed pretty generic, but all performances get lost in the overbloated production.

Winner: Into the Spider-Verse

Special Effects

This boils down to whether the animation of Spider-Verse can stand up to the expensive CGI of AquamanSpider-Verse is a unique and eye catching spectacle that remains with you. Its fluidly mixes different styles of animation in a way that has the potential to change the industry. It is easily the most groundbreaking movie of the year and the best animated film by far. Aquaman looks like any other special effects laden blockbuster. Just not as good.

Winner: Into the Spider-Verse

Rewatchability

For fans of the comics, Spider-Verse offers a chance to see characters that have never received any meaningful screen time. A Miles Morales Spider-Man movie has been talked about since the days of Andrew Garfield. Spider-Gwen and Spidey Noir are fan favorite characters and the occasional appearance by Spider-Ham is never a bad thing. For casual fans, it is an introduction to new characters. Who even knew there was an anime inspired Spidey? Add in the eye popping animation and feel good story, and Spider-Verse is an easy rewatch.

Aquaman has lots of CGI effects and plenty of loud explosions. The dialogue is anywhere from mildly funny to utterly cringeworthy. There are some awful covers to classic songs and the movie turns a pretty cool villain into an unfunny dimwit. Did I mention it is almost two and a half hours long?

Winner: Into the Spider-Verse

Overall

I am not one of those who laughed at the idea of an Aquaman movie and I had reservations when I first saw the trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I went into both movies with zero expectations and just wanted to have a good time. Unfortunately, while Aquaman was more than willing to live up to my zero expectations, it was not interested in showing me a good time.

Aquaman (Movie)
Is it good?
What little good the movie does is forgotten over the course of the two and a half hour runtime. That being said, the old women and children in the theater gave it a standing ovation, so there is a market.
Hypes you up for the next Marvel movie
Consistent. Gets progressively worse as the movie continues
Way too long. Could have easily trimmed off an hour
The one liners become strained and unfunny
Borrows from better movies and video games
Horrible soundtrack
4
Meh
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