It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I am an unabashed AQUAMAN fanboy. There’s something about the character of Arthur Curry and his underwater world that never fail to enrapture my heart and mind. So it goes without saying that I was incredibly hyped for the new AQUAMAN movie trailer coming out at SDCC.

Boy, did it live up to my expectations! The AQUAMAN panel at SDCC opened us up to a whole new side of the DC universe. It really looks like director James Wan has a genius vision for this movie and I could not be more pumped! Let’s analyze the most fascinating elements of this trailer.

1. New 52 Inspiration

We already knew that AQUAMAN movie would take heavily from Geoff Johns’ New 52 run. This version of AQUAMAN is really essential for any modern interpretation of the character. So it was cool to see elements from this run. In particular, this movie seems to be a fusion of the first three arc of Johns’ AQUAMAN: “The Trench,” “The Others,” and “The Throne of Atlantis.”

Get The Story Behind the movie with Geoff Johns’ New 52 AQUAMAN comic on Comixology!

Obviously, major sections of the comic will be changed to fit the film but it looks like Wan’s AQUAMAN will have a similar character arc for its titular character as he did in Johns’ series. The comic showed Arthur Curry transform from a reluctant warrior to wise king. From everything we see in the trailer, this seems to be the film’s direction.

2. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman

Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is defending the seven seas. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Jason Momoa is not anyone’s typical Aquaman. The actor was even shocked that Zack Snyder wanted him to play the blonde and “dorky” Aquaman. Indeed the version of Aquaman that Snyder introduced in JUSTICE LEAGUE was extremely distinct in personality to the self-serious Arthur Curry.

However, the charisma, heart, and energy that Momoa brought to Aquaman in JL really made me excited for his AQUAMAN movie. While not a traditional version of the character, his take worked. People may label Momoa’s Aquaman as “Bro-Aquaman.” I’d argue that his bro-ish nature makes him unique from other DC heroes.

Jason Momoa’s Arthur’s personality fits perfectly for the position we find Arthur at the beginning of the movie. This is a man who has no home and who shirks responsibility but quietly does his best to help people. It looks like Arthur has become a legend patrolling the seas as “the Aquaman.” Yet Arthur has largely ignored and run from his lineage.

That will change when Mera (Amber Heard), calls for him to challenge his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) to the throne. Orm looks to be an extremely traditional and rigid Atlantean ruler. He obviously looks down on humankind. Having Orm and Arthur face-off is interesting because there’s such a juxtaposition between their personalities. Orm represents everything that is Atlantean whereas Arthur clings to his humanity. However, Arthur also must acknowledge his Atlantean roots. If he can’t bridge his human and Atlantean roots, he will forever be a lost soul.

3. Supporting Characters

Mera (Amber Heard) guides the Aquaman. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

We got a brief look at a few of the supporting character in the AQUAMAN movie. Our main focus was on Mera (Amber Heard). Mera will actually be the character who beckons Arthur to take up his birthright. This is different from her character in the comics where she actually tries to assassinate Arthur the first time they meet.

Mera is a Princess from Atlantis’ rival Kingdom, Xebel. Perhaps Xebel’s plans for recruiting Arthur are noble. Maybe, Mera is actually trying to cause a civil war in Atlantis so that Xebel can become the ascendant power. The character of Mera is definitely one of the larger mysteries I have going into this film.

We also got a look at AQUAMAN’s parents Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison). Expect them to be the soul of the movie. Their union is a representation of Aquaman’s desire to unite his two peoples. It’s unclear how long both of these characters will be in the film but Arthur’s father Tom does seem to survive at least til Aquaman is grown up.

Perhaps Tom will serve as some of Arthur’s motivation to save the world. We see that the waters are rising onto the surface where Tom and Arthur are driving in their van. Arthur may travel to Atlantis to protect his father. Interestingly, there were quite a few supporting characters that did not appear in this trailer. This isn’t too surprising since the trailer did have to introduce the basic plot and main characters first. Expect to see Vulko (Willem Defoe), Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park), and Murk (Ludi Linn) in the next trailers!

4. Villains

Orm (Patrick Wilson) plans his invasion. Courtesy of Warner Bros
Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) plans his attack. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

This trailer revealed that there will be two major antagonists in this film: Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Orm AKA Ocean Master. This trailer focused primarily on Ocean Master, however, the looks we get at Black Manta are awesome. I love how comic book accurate his costume looks!

It is unclear how Black Manta will feature into the plot. Perhaps Orm will hire Manta as a bounty hunter to kill Arthur while on the surface. In the comics, Black Manta hates Aquaman because the latter killed his father. I doubt that this would have happened before the event of this film so I’m guessing Black Manta will have other reasons to antagonize Arthur.

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Orm seems to play the role of the primary threat in this film. Patrick Wilson has described Orm as a relatable villain who blames humans for destroying the ecosystem of his home with pollution. DC and James Wan look to make Orm sympathetic, similarly to what Marvel did with Killmonger and Thanos.

Orm is one of the reasons I am most excited for AQUAMAN. He’s not a mustache-twirling bad guy but someone who brings up some legitimate points. His hatred of humanity is interesting because it shines a reflection on us as a species. If there was another species of humanoids would they like our actions on Earth?

This is one of the questions AQUAMAN will ask. Clearly, Orm reacts violently but can anyone blame him? Humans do kinda suck. I might be team Atlantis.

5. A New World In The AQUAMAN Movie

Aquaman movie
Aquaman all like “Come at me AVATAR.” Courtesy of Warner Bros.

If there’s one thing the AQUAMAN movie has to nail, it’s the look of the underwater world of Atlantis. This trailer proved that visually James Wan knows what he’s doing. The effects looked absolutely gorgeous and the action extremely tantalizing. The water setting heightens action in AQUAMAN comics so it was important to show that. The epic scale of the trailer really sold the idea of this underwater world being vast and well-developed. The war scenes felt like an ocean LORD OF THE RINGS battle which is the perfect feel.

It’s exciting to see DC lean into the fantastical and develop their imaginative worlds. MAN OF STEEL and WONDER WOMAN did this a bit with Krypton and Themyscira respectively. However, those films used these environments sparingly. Two-thirds of the AQUAMAN movie will take place underwater.

That means that means you can expect more cosmic and fantastical elements in DC if the effects of AQUAMAN work and the fans love this underwater setting. If DC succeeds with Atlantis, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spend more time in space in films like GREEN LANTERN CORPS and NEW GODS.

Just Keep Swimming

I can’t believe I have to wait until December to watch this film! It’s so exciting to see DC have confidence in one of their films and for that film to look spectacular. It looks like AQUAMAN will follow in the footsteps of WONDER WOMAN as far as being a fun, inventive, stand-alone DC film.

AQUAMAN, much like WONDER WOMAN, has the potential to expand the DC universe and open up comic book films to new possibilities. James Wan, you have my money! We’re all rooting for you to knock this one out of the park!

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