With just under three months until Aquaman’s Dec. 21 release, DC Films and Warner Brothers capitalized on maybe their last chance to really appeal to the geek crowd with an extended trailer that shows the scope and ambition of the movie.
Aquaman pretty much had the movie spotlight to itself at this weekend’s New York Comic Con. Most of the other trailers were from TV shows like Daredevil, Star Trek: Discovery, Good Omens and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But the sheer size of the trailer also likely helped DC’s undersea blockbuster stand out.
The five-minute preview includes a variety of influences from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, Lord of the Rings, disaster movies like Deep Impact, and maybe even some good old-fashioned fables in which a lighthouse keeper falls in love with a princess (or queen?) from the sea. And there’s just a whole bunch of action, which looks — to use what appears to be Arthur Curry’s favorite word — badass!
As we try to do every time we write about a trailer, let’s list some takeaways from a rather impressive extended look at Aquaman.
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard have chemistry
We don’t know if Arthur Curry and Mera fall in love during this movie, but they’re destined to be together in the comic books. So it’s important for Momoa and Heard to create some sparks between each other and create some of that “Will they or won’t they?” energy.
Personally, I like the idea of Aquaman being kind of a big, dumb lunk who jumps into everything head-first and eventually endears himself to Mera — who knows he’s meant for greater things — with his quippy charm.
Momoa appears to be great with the one-liners that the script gives him, while Heard has some sharp burns (“You do your best thinking when you’re not thinking at all”) that keep the banter crackling.
Which Dolph Lundgren will be more fearsome this fall?
This trailer provides our first look at Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. According to reports, Nereus is Mera’s father — rather than her betrothed husband-to-be, as in the comics — but is he an ally to the story’s big baddie, Orin (Patrick Wilson), or is he an adversary to the aspiring conquerer of the seven seas?
This is the second appearance Lundgren has made in a big-time trailer during the past couple of weeks, following our first glimpse at his reprisal of the Ivan Drago role in the Creed 2 preview. We know he’s a bad guy as his offspring’s trainer and cornerman when Viktor Drago and Adonis Creed face off in the ring. Rocky Balboa also has a great line while referring to him, saying “He broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed.”
The guess here is that Lundgren will actually have a more substantial role in Aquaman, but more people will remember him in Creed 2 because of the history between Drago and Rocky.
Black Manta looks badass!
Hopefully, Aquaman doesn’t fall into the trap of cramming too many villains into the story, which we’ve seen in movies like Spider-Man 3, Green Lantern and Batman v Superman. Not only does that take focus away from some fine characters, but it inevitably ends up in some memorable villains being pushed aside or used up in a one-and-done plotline.
Whether or not Black Manta is Aquaman’s greatest adversary is open to argument. He probably hasn’t been portrayed as such in the comic books, but many fans (including me) think of the two as great arch-rivals from them being on opposite sides of the Challenge of the Super Friends cartoon with the Legion of Doom.
Manta has always had one of the coolest-looking costumes in comics, so it’s reassuring to see the armor worn by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II look extremely imposing. Let’s hope Manta isn’t a one-and-done villain like Hector Hammond or Sandman and we’ll see him in either future Aquaman sequels or DC superhero films.
Will Aquaman juggle Ocean Master and Black Manta as well as The Dark Knight handled the Joker and Two-Face? (Note what happened to Two-Face in that story, however.)
Action by land and sea
Will Aquaman’s most memorable scene take place on land, rather than in the deep sea? The centerpiece of this five-minute trailer is a rooftop chase scene in which Mera is being pursued by Black Manta’s henchmen (Atlantean soldiers?) while Manta takes on Aquaman.
The sequence recalls Captain America chasing Bucky in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with the Stormtrooper-like assailants running through buildings and residences as they go after Mera. Mera sprinting across the rooftops is also reminiscent of Daniel Craig’s James Bond running along Mexico City ledges in Spectre.
This isn’t to say that the chase looks derivative. Hell, it looks really fun and could be unlike anything we’ve seen on screen before. Director James Wan is the guy who had a car jump from one skyscraper to another in Furious 7, and he could be topping himself here.
Nicole Kidman, action hero
Not much else to say here, other than it’s cool to see Kidman taking out a bunch of attackers with her trident. Pleasantly unexpected, much like watching Colin Firth as a lethal fighter in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Maybe this establishes that Atlantean women like Mera are true warriors and not to be messed with in a fight.
It would also be fun if Kidman’s character, Atlanna, taking on the bad guys relegates Aquaman’s father, Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) to the proverbial damsel-in-distress who needs to be protected. Role reversal!
Giant crabs? It’s probably safe to guess that Red Lobster and Joe’s Crab Shack won’t be running any sort of promotional tie-in with Aquaman.
DC’s protector of the seven seas is almost certainly going to communicate with aquatic life (or “talk to fish,” as Bruce Wayne/Batman put it in Justice League) during the story. Wouldn’t it be a disappointment if he didn’t?
But maybe it doesn’t even matter since some of those undersea creatures are spectacularly imposing — such as the aforementioned enormous crustacean, whatever the hell that lizard-looking thing rising out of the water is, or an oversized piranha — along with sea horses and sharks facing off in battle. (Can we call it a battlefield when it’s underwater?)
Will Aquaman wipe out a legion of pescatarians over the holiday season?
The gold and green is on, baby!
Here’s the money shot from the Aquaman trailer, the image that virtually every film and geek site in existence screen-capped and published on Friday.
Jason Momoa’s shirtless, tattooed aquatic brawler from Justice League was just the first look for the character. Eventually, Arthur Curry dons the famous (Can we call it iconic?) gold and green costume from the comic books and cartoons. (Outrageous!) Appropriately, the suit has been upgraded to armor rather than a sort of body suit.
This seems like kind of a spoiler. Does Aquaman don the suit at the end of the film in a signature shot that leads to the credits? Or does he gear up for the movie’s climactic battle? Anyway, despite Momoa not looking exactly like the comic book or animated Aquaman, the traditional Aquaman look suits him well.
Aquaman swims into theaters on Dec. 21.