It's a big call, but Aquaman - one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2018 - might just be the worst film of the year.

The underwater action-adventure picks the most over-the-top elements of James Wan's directorial style (this is the man who brought us Fast and Furious) and mixes it with cartoonish CGI and 80s comic-book madness for a laughably bad end result.

It feels like DC has tried to make its own Thor: Ragnarok but without Taika Waititi's genius - or any other comedic talent.

So what they got instead was stupidly cheesy one-liners ("Permission to come aboard?") delivered without the gravitas to pull them off, and even cheesier film moments (Amber Heard inexplicably playing the flute in the sunset), which elicited groans from the audience.

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The plot - which includes a villain that serves no real purpose - plays out like a formulaic video game as Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Princess Mera (Amber Heard) go level by level toward a boss fight in "the ring of fire" and the final battle. There's no heart, nothing worth emotionally investing in.

And at each level, it seems to reference everything from Harry Potter to Star Wars and even Baywatch, at which point the already insane soundtrack suddenly features Pitbull and a cover of Toto's Africa.

That's after all the 80s synth pop, rock, and more than a few madly melodramatic "dun dun dunnnn"s when a bad guy says something ridiculously ominous - in this case: "I am the Ocean Master!"

It's also fairly tone deaf. The only two women with actual parts were both cast out of Atlantis for stepping out of line in the patriarchy; Aquaman, who was born to a brown father and white mother is constantly referred to as a "mongrel" and "half-breed"; and the funniest joke in the film is a reference to Temuera Morrison's film about domestic violence.

Some have enjoyed the fun audacity of this film and it certainly has its moments, but there's no denying it simply misses the mark.

Cast:

Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Willem Dafoe

Director:

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James Wan

Running time:

143 mins

Rating:

M

Verdict:

An over-the-top CGI romp without the heart or humour to balance it.