Warner Brothers/DC Entertainment has had a very big week and a half now, having announced multiple movies scheduled to run through to 2020. What fans are asking themselves now is how will this all play out when stacked up against a very formidable Marvel Cinematic Universe, and perhaps how will DC do at the box office. If it wasn't for the heart of this most ambitious plan to stake their own claim to a share of the comic book hero movie empire this would be a worrisome idea, what with iffy projects like [Suicide Squad](movie:2283363) and [Aquaman](movie:264237) on the slate for production over the next six years.
When [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) opens it represents the unleashing of something monstrous in terms of movie debuts and something new at the cinema. Not only do we get Batman and Superman, played by actors who are almost as iconic, but we also get Wonder Woman on the big screen for the first time ever, and before the movie is done we will also see Cyborg and the Flash as well, and the Rodney Dangerfield of the super hero business, Aquaman. Inquiring minds are nervously curious about the affect of a character most often considered a bad joke on the hopes for a competitive counter to what Marvel is doing in theaters.
Aquaman On The CW
The only measure of what could be comes from live action television with the undersea King of Atlantis played by two different actors, Justin Hartley and Alan Ritchson.
As Aquaman, Justin Hartley starred in the title role of a television pilot but that was as far as it got. None of the networks were willing to pick up the series for actual production and the idea came to a screeching halt. Perhaps a television audience wasn't ready for Aquaman with the expectation that we might get a guy that talks to fish and rides a giant purple seahorse. All we have to do is look at Batman Forever and Batman and Robin playing in theaters and the idea of Aqua-ridiculous-man scares people away.
But wait, as Green Arrow on a successful series called Smallville, Hartley was a fan favorite and when the Arrow television show was in development a lot of people wanted Hartley instead of Steven Amell. Now ask yourself Does the choices for Arrow come down to wanting a darker sort of hero suggest that maybe Aquaman can't be a lighter, child-friendly character? At the same time maybe we should kick around how a campy 60's Batman kind of character would have worked
Alan Ritchson won the part of Aquaman in Smallville and he returned in the role several times, and to some extent it was exciting because we got a sense of what a Justice League might feel like on the big screen someday, but still, there were issues. The costume, for one could have worked well if the show had that 60's feel to it and a lot was missing from the mythology. Oh, it was a serious character and that was a positive but there was no real connection to where he came from or the fact that he was a king. The dreaded origin story was missing and the royal attitude was missing. He was more of a gentle ladies man and that is fine but if you were familiar with the character you were expecting someone regal in stature, powerful, aggressive and bold.
With he end of Smallville we saw the end of the character beyond animation. The character on the Justice League animated series on Cartoon Network was close, he had the attitude, the arrogance of a king but with animation you still come away with the missing element, realism.
Batman v Superman
You would like to think that after years of not figuring out how to use the DC Comics properties in a way that would pay huge dividends and actually looking cowardly in their approach Warner Brothers hit a home run with a Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale, and then followed that success with Man Of Steel. A new Superman brought a high level of success and Batman was alive and well in a darker light after three very good films. Still, Marvel was running away at the box office and while it is not the intention of either company to compete there is an expectation that there will be such a competition.
The thing is how do you strike at a Marvel empire that is turning out movies like clean pairs of socks? If you are Warner Brothers and you own the rights to the two oldest and most iconic comic book characters ever, you bring out Batman who has this new dark image and you pit the two against each other and then you drop a bomb on the world and announce that this is a lead in to a movie millions upon millions of people have waited for for decades. Suddenly you are getting Wonder Woman after years of begging for her, and Cyborg and the Flash, and Aquaman with an actor attached by rumor who looks like a barbarian.
The rumor that Jason Momoa was being cast in the role of Aquaman went around for quite a while, as did a flurry of denials by the actor but some people, such as this writer, refused to accept the denials because they simply weren't true. I already used words like bold, regal and arrogant to describe what a sea king would want to be and here is a face to go with that. The actor looks like a barbarian and as Conan, it works. Conan was a king, though somewhat different from Aquaman. What you get, and really want however is a guy you know is not going to back down and reflects that in his appearance. So, here is Jason Momoa and he looks and sounds like somebody you really don't want to bother or annoy.
he is a god fit for the part, but now there are some things that are problematic. One, the Aquaman we know can talk to sea creatures. Worst case scenario, this guy can enunciate words with a mouth full of water that comes out like belching words while gargling. Does that go over with the audience, no! But you still have to have some sort of underwater communication or it doesn't work, and we have already seen that he has sent whales in Man Of Steel to rescue Superman in his Clark Kent disguise when the Man of Steel is blown off an exploding oil platform.
Next, his movement through the water has to be believable. The Alan Ritchson looked more like a torpedo being launched than a super powered being swimming at blinding speed in the ocean depths. It has to look like real swimming because the slightest resemblance to the old Super Friends version of Aquaman with his seahorse will turn moviegoers away.
Now, last but not least we are getting news that Aquaman is going to have the look of a beach bum surfer and I'm about to scream at the world. he can seem like the surfer at the end of Batman v Superman but when Justice League opens this had better be the King of Atlantis or credibility goes in the toilet. Plot rumors are already claiming that he has a problem with the surface dwellers and heir threat to life i the oceans and now we want t know is why it matters if a beach bum or surfer is upset over that, when we know a sea king will be. Its all about credibility and if he makes people think of Bobby Darin chasing Annette Funicello across a beach instead of the ruler of a huge kingdom moviegoers will walk out on this character band an Aquaman solo film.The Alan Ritchson costume has to stay out and some form of scale plates had better be integrated into his suit or again, credibility is lost.
Will we get what we have to have from this character for him to make a run through four expected movies with the kind of flare that will make him real for movie buffs?
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