Film News

I Still Don’t Care About Aquaman, Even If He’s Going to Look Like Khal Drogo

I’m sorry.  I just…can’t.  I can’t bring myself to care about Aquaman.  Not even now that, following this weekend’s HitFlix report, both Variety (via LivingTheGeekLife) and THR are confirming Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa has been cast to play the King of the Seven Seas in Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Warner Bros. has yet to actually confirm any of this, but when the industry trades start reporting this type of thing official confirmations usually follow.  Momoa’s name has been attached to the film through rumors since last December, and candid beach photos of the surfing-loving Momoa in Hawaii made it clear that if there was ever anyone who could at least make Aquaman a truly physically intimidating presence it’d be him:

Jason-Momoa-shirtless-body
What’s that?  No funny Aquaman jokes to share with me now?  Yeah, I thought so.

HitFlix cites insider sources who [potential spoilers] claim the thrust of Batman Vs. Superman will be the extreme fall-out from the colossal destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel.  Remember that after Man of Steel came out a consultant firm calculated the estimated damage from Superman’s battle with Zod and the Kryptonians would have resulted in 125,000 fatalities, 250,000 missing persons, and nearly a million more injured civilians.  The worst part, though, was that unlike The Avengers the film never took a single second to offer a simple acknowledgment that Superman realized (or cared about) any of that.  At that time, I (and many, many others) wondered if the intention was for this mass destruction to be addressed in the sequel, and the working theory is that we were all right.  Batman will be placed in opposition to Superman in reaction to all the people that died in Man of Steel, and Aquaman’s cameo in the film will come as someone “not pleased about [Zod’s] World Engine and what it did to the Indian Ocean.”

Huh.  Does that sound kind of familiar to you?  Well, if you not only watched the DC  Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: War (2014) but also knew to wait for the post-credits sequence you would have seen Aquaman’s surprise cameo, rising from the ocean to seek retribution for the injustice inadvertently visited upon his people due to the actions of the Justice League:*

justice-league-war-orm
This cameo is going to lead directly into a solo animated Aquaman film

Momoa’s Aquaman is most likely merely ticketed for a small cameo in Batman Vs. Superman before getting full-time duty in the Justice League film.

Who is Aquaman?

Or if you don’t have the 10 minutes to kill to watch that video Newsrama has a nice little summary as well:

Aquaman first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941. A man who was at home both on land and in the sea, he fought a variety of menaces from super-villains to Nazis to sorcerers to beings from other planets and dimensions. He’s fought alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and others and has saved the planet on his own a few times. And at times, he’s been the ruler of Atlantis, a continent that sank to the bottom of the sea and whose inhabitants became water-breathers.

But despite all this, there are still some folks who think Aquaman is a wimp, some guy with no powers other than to breathe underwater and talk to fish (as if it wouldn’t be cool to communicate with sharks and for dolphins to consider us family). This is wrong on many levels. Aquaman has shown himself to be a formidable hero, able to battle the Justice League to a standstill even.

I know that Aquaman became kind of a bad-ass ever since he lost his hand in 1994 and replaced it with a detachable hook, like an awesome, Captain Hook-style pirate.  I also know that NPR’s comic book critic Glen Weldon is a staunch defender of Aquaman (as indicated here and here), regarding those who mock his beloved character as engaging in the hackiest of hacky jokes.

Why do we mock him?

As Seth Green mentioned in the above Conan O’Brien interview, the primary reason Aquaman gets such a bad rap comes down to what was most everyone’s first exposure to him: the sappy old ’70s cartoon Super Friends.  However, I am in the odd position of not being old enough to have actually grown up on Super Friends but old enough that all I ever heard about him growing up were Super Friends jokes.  The first time I remember ever hearing about Aquaman was when my older brother had to explain what exactly South Park was spoofing in their Super Friends parody episode:

The result is that since Aquaman entered my life as something nobody seemed to respect I’ve found very little reason to care about the character since then.  So, when I say “I still don’t care about Aquaman” I don’t mean that it’s because he’s just such a stupid character, the super hero equivalent of Spongebob Squarepants.  I just mean nothing I’ve ever seen has ever given me any reason to really care about him, although that’s partially down to my reluctance to give the New 52 Aquaman comics a chance, which everyone seems to adore.  Aquaman’s appearances in the animated shows Justice League/Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice are enough that I don’t regard him as a laughing stock, but until it was mentioned in similar articles on the topic I completely forgot that he was ever a character on Smallville or that Entourage devoted multiple seasons to lovingly mocking the idea of an Aquaman film.

There are reasons to think Aquaman could turn into an awesome film character, like an underseas Thor, my go-to reference for successful film adaptations of ridiculous-sounding comic book characters.  And there are certainly those who are ecstatic to see a character they love most likely showing up in the much-anticipated Justice League film.  I just…can’t.  Come on, this is Aquaman we’re talking about here.  If I haven’t read the New 52 comics then what reason has pop culture given me to take him seriously?

Prove me wrong, Warner Bros.  Prove…me…wrong!  No, seriously, I’d love it if you did.

What do you think?  Is it my own dang fault for not having read the New 52 Aquaman because then I’d be hip to his greatness?  Or are you similarly un-enthused?  Let me know in the comments.

*It turns out that was Aquaman’s brother emerging from the ocean at the end of Justice League: War.

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11 comments

    1. True. The New 52 is probably going to have more to do with the DC animated films than the live action ones. I just know that a lot of people who have read the New 52 Aquaman are the types who have then authored lists defending Aquaman’s awesomeness. So, it’s not like there’s no one out there saying the character is pretty cool. I just…can’t. Like Thor, it’s probably going to take a really good movie to convert me to liking the character.

      My only exposure to Namor is his guest spot in the adorable Thor comics line Thor: The Mighty Avenger. He was mostly used for humor there, trying to make Thor understand, “Dude, I’m just here to help. Don’t freak out on me because I came in riding on the back of a whale.” Plus, Thor didn’t like his flirting with Jane Foster. It was a cute appearance in a very cute comic, but it didn’t make me curious to learn more about/see more of Namor.

  1. Khal Drogo will probably bring some much needed toughness to a character otherwise seen as the wussiest of all superheroes. Still, in a movie where Batman fights Superman, I fail to see why Aquaman is necessary.

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    1. “Still, in a movie where Batman fights Superman, I fail to see why Aquaman is necessary.”

      I think everyone is starting to wonder why in a movie pitting against Batman Vs. Superman you need anyone else at all, be it Aquaman or Cyborg or Wonder Woman, etc.

      Good plug for your site. I checked it out, and liked what you’re doing over there enough to start following you on WordPress. It’s a cool idea for a site, and your review format is really clean and fun to read. I dig it.

      1. I assume they are trying to capitalize on the Avengers success by creating a series of movies in the Justice League universe. Not a bad idea but the only problem is Marvel put some thought into how to tie the movies together and keep the story running throughout the different films whereas so far it doesn’t look like DC has put that much thought into it.

        Thanks for the follow and the positive review! Just getting started, but so far it has been fun.

    1. Oh, Jason Momoa is a fantastic casting choice, making more sense as the ruler of an underwater Atlantis than the oddly blonde-haired, blue-eyed version in the comics (although there have been variations on that over the years). I know I referenced Momoa’s Game of Thrones character in the title of the article. So, it probably seems like I’m reacting against him. I’m not. Not really, at least. It’s just that as someone who consumes comic books more through TV shows and films than in actual comics I have yet to really encounter anything that made me care about Aquaman.

      My reference point for this is always Thor. Prior to the first film, all I knew about Thor was that he was a Norse god, and the little girl from Adventures in Babysitting loved the comic book version, wearing an adorable helmet with lighting bolts on the sides ala Thor. I didn’t even know enough to know if Chris Hemsworth even looked like the character in the comics. I just knew that from the pictures from the film I thought he looked like a less exaggerated Fabio. It just looked silly to me. And then I saw the movie, and I loved it. Cut to today, and I’ve read loads of Thor comics (some good, some very, very bad), checked out the original animated films, every episode of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

      The same thing could happen with Aquaman. I’ve actually already seen him in various animated shows, at least getting to the point where I don’t think the character is an absolute joke, as used to be the case for everyone post-Super Friends. However, his rumored addition to the Dawn of Justice and Justice League films doesn’t do anything for me, regardless of who’s playing him.

    1. It is funny that you would say that. I finally watched throne of atlantis this weekend and saw that the guy at the end of Justice League War was not actually Aquaman but his brother. I forgot to circle back around to correct that mistake in this article. Thanks. Will fix that now.

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