(Photo by © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)
You may have heard that director James Wan just released the most bonkers mainstream horror movie in years. You may have even seen it. (Wigs!) Malignant, in theaters now and available on HBO Max, is so over-the-top and weird and comes armed with such a wild twist that many viewers have been been left asking in its wake: How in the world did Wan get Warner Brothers to let him make that?
The answer is Aquaman, and specifically the $1.15 billion that the DCEU movie made at the global office upon its release in late 2018. When you make that kind of bank – and folks are screaming for a sequel – you pretty much have carte blanche. And, boy, Wan took that freedom and ran…
But back to Aquaman. Given Wan is having a moment, we thought it appropriate to revisit his box office smash on the latest episode of our podcast Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong. The film, which puts Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry center stage for the first time in the DCEU, was largely given a soft pass by critics, who appreciated its bright colors and goofiness, but quibbled with its runtime and cumbersome plot; its Tomatometer is a respectably Fresh 65%. Audiences, however, voted with their wallets and ultimately made Aquaman the second-best–performing DCEU movie at the domestic box office, only behind Wonder Woman.
To its fans, a “respectable” score doesn’t reflect what many believe is one of recent superhero cinema’s crowning achievements: A movie that fully embraces the brio of comic books and gives fans exactly what they want. Complex and interesting villains? Check. A charismatic-as-hell star? Check. Nicole Kidman kicking ass with a trident? Check. A rollicking Indiana Jones-style adventure? And genuinely exciting action set pieces by a director at the top of his game? Triple check. (OK, he was on his way to the top – the top being the last 30 minutes of Malignant, obviously.)
So, should Aquaman have a better score? Should it even be Certified Fresh? And why did these ocean-creature–loving underwater folks choose to put endangered species on the frontlines of war? Diving in with regular Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong co-hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley to discuss is comedian and pop-culture expert Jay Washington. Where does he stand on the movie, its star, and that red wig? Tune into find out.
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:
If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.