4 reasons Aquaman will help correct the DC Universe

facebooktwitterreddit

The first trailer for DC’s Aquaman was released at San Diego Comic-Con and gave fans their first look at the Atlantean in action. Can Aquaman help correct the course of the DCU?

Aquaman has a lot of work to do to correct the past mistakes of the DCU. With the exception of Wonder Woman, the DC movie universe has gotten off to a rough start. Notably, Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to charm either critics or fans. The most recent film, Justice League, performed better with both but still fell short of expectations.

The first female lead DC film, Wonder Woman, established itself as the foremost edition in the franchise and provided the universe with its first spark. Aquaman is the next movie in the series and hopes to leave its mark on the DCU as well. The stakes are high for the man who talks to fish, so let’s break down a few reasons why the new movie can help Wonder Woman realign the DC universe.

More from DC Movies

Jason Momoa

When the news broke a few years ago that DC was making an Aquaman movie, a lot of fans must have laughed to themselves. To be honest, the thought of a live-action portrayal of the orange and green-clad Atlantean seemed kind of silly. Once the first news and images of Jason Momoa’s portrayal of the hero were released, however, there was much more intrigue in the solo movie.

Since his portrayal of Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, Momoa has been a fan favorite. He’s shown that he has what it takes to lead his own series in Frontier, which has been renewed for a third season. Momoa’s characters boast a lot of charisma and bravado, some of which was apparent during his first appearance in Justice League. 

When audiences were finally introduced to Aquaman in Justice League, it was apparent that Momoa would be a perfect fit for the tattooed version of the Atlantean. He was a tough and hardened version of the comic book character, and Momoa won some fans over with his portrayal.

DC weirdly chose to save the origins of four heroes (including Aquaman) for after the major crossover. Fans have a lot to look forward to in his first solo movie, and Momoa should deliver a solid performance.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: Jason Momoa walks onstage at the Warner Bros. ‘Aquaman’ theatrical panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: Jason Momoa walks onstage at the Warner Bros. ‘Aquaman’ theatrical panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

James Wan

James Wan initially established himself in the industry as a horror director, completing hits such as Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. Recently, he was the man behind Furious 7, which was both a commercial and critical success. It was still strange however to hear the news that Wan would be taking on the first Aquaman film.

Fans should take solace in the fact that Wan is taking on this project. Not only has he mastered the horror techniques that launched The Conjuring franchise, but he proved to many critics that he can handle himself in the action arena with Furious 7 racing sequences. 

Early signs from the new trailer demonstrate that the movie hopes to balance action and comedy, hopefully moving away from the dark and gritty nature of Dawn of Justice. If Wan has enough control over Aquaman as he did in his past endeavors then the movie can be a success. The direction for Wan will be a vital component to a good hero flick, and also key to helping future DC movies thrive.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: James Wan attends DC Entertainment’s Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Aquaman’ Autograph Signing during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: James Wan attends DC Entertainment’s Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Aquaman’ Autograph Signing during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

It will add context to the DCU

From the beginning, it felt like DC was playing a little bit of catch-up with their competitors at Marvel. There was a rush to set up a super-team crossover event after Marvel had crushed the box office. Out of the five heroes in Justice League, only two had received a film of their own before its release. Batman was even forced to fight Superman in his first outing, possibly out of fear that it was too soon to give him a solo film after the Christopher Nolan trilogy.

The bottom line is that the DCU was messy and all over the place in terms of tone. Without setting up the origin stories of four heroes, Justice League struggled to accomplish much of anything and it felt like it was moving in too many different directions.

The hope here is that Aquaman can finally fill in a lot of the missing narrative and develop not only the character but also the Justice League. It was an odd choice to wait so long for the origin stories of these heroes, but it should help move DC along at this point. Eventually, the DCU can stop playing catch-up with their movies, branch out, and establish more credibility.

Aquaman is a simple origin and introduction

At least from what we see in the trailer, Aquaman is not going to be as dark as Batman v Superman and the studio can finally stop trying to correct their past mistakes. Aquaman looks like it will be a by the books origin story for the hero, and that’s exactly what the DCU needs right now.

Aquaman puts most of its cards on the table in the first trailer. It shows a young Aquaman learning he can talk to fish, his realization of heritage, and the common struggle to be a hero.

The movie will be full of new characters and action sequences, but at its core it understands that all it needs to be is a good origin for Aquaman. If Aquaman can avoid the extensive re-shoots of Suicide-Squad and the messy narrative of Justice League, then it will be a nice addition to the franchise. In fact, if it can garner even half of the praise as Wonder Woman, then it can be seen as a success for the DCU as a whole.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: (L-R) Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and James Wan bow onstage at the Warner Bros. ‘Aquaman’ theatrical panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 21: (L-R) Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and James Wan bow onstage at the Warner Bros. ‘Aquaman’ theatrical panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

If these pieces all come together, then Aquaman has the chance to be a good superhero movie. It can correct some missing narrative in Justice League and, in the end, help the DCU correct its course. On paper, the upcoming film has what it takes to become one of the better DC movies.

However, there are a few concerns that should be expressed after watching the trailer. First, there are a lot of visual effects going on. If Wan can maintain a careful control over how they are used and, more importantly, they don’t look cheesy then it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Second, the portion of the origin story involving Aquaman as a child is a nice touch, but hopefully, they move on quickly so audiences maintain interest.

Finally, there are always script issues with hero flicks. If the script is good, then the film can compete with its Marvel counterparts. But, if it’s not, then the whole movies can fall flat and end with comparisons to Suicide-Squad. 

Next: SDCC 2018: DC releases action-filled Aquaman trailer

What do you think? Can Aquaman hold up and help right the course of the DCU? Let me know in the comments.

Aquaman releases in theaters on December 21, 2018.