The folks at WB have a good deal riding on Aquaman, the James Wan directed feature that shines the solo spotlight on Jason Momoa’s underwater hero who made his official debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but didn’t really make his mark until last year’s Justice League.
DC on film is a weird place right now…and while Wonder Woman was a meteoric financial hit and cultural moment, Justice League underperformed dismally despite putting Gal Gadot front and center in all of its marketing.
All that to say, how Aquaman will be received will likely just boil down to that old chestnut we call quality and audience word of mouth. By the time this releases, it’ll have been over a year since a DC-based film has graced theaters. A cooling off period can really only help, and having a director of James Wan’s calibre is another plus in its column. His pitch of an underwater Romancing The Stone is pretty darn appealing on its face too, and the cast is stellar, especially enlisting Wan-regular Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master.
As they always do, EW is running a feature centered on Aquaman in its upcoming issue, and as you can see below – provided you can get past smoldering Jason Momoa without getting too distracted – we’ve also got our first look at Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Arthur Curry’s mother.
In the issue, Wan speaks to the uniqueness of Atlantis and the tone of the film itself:
“The water world my movie takes place in is so separate and so far apart from previous DC movies it’s like I’m making my own sci-fi fantasy film,” Wan says. “This is a whole new underwater world nobody has seen before in live action.”
When you think about it, it’s pretty true…how many underwater action films can you name off the top of your head? Especially ones that would presumably take place underwater for the majority of their running time, as this is likely to do.
There’s a whole lot of Geoff Johns influence here too, based on the quote that immediately follows:
There are Atlanteans riding great white sharks, giant octopi, seven different underwater kingdoms, trench-dwelling cannibals, and even sea dragons (Wan’s fearsome take on the oft-mocked image of Aquaman riding a seahorse in the Super Friends cartoons).
But it’s not all grim and grit, far from it, as apparently the role is really attuned to Momoa’s comedic chops according to the same piece. Maybe just maybe they’ll bring just a bit of that amazing Batman: The Brave and The Bold spin.
My most anticipated blockbuster this year, easily. Aquaman opens this December.
Now, where’s the dang trailer?
UPDATE: Here’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta everybody!
And furthermore, here’s a whole bunch of other photos! The aforementioned Ocean Master among them…
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.