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:
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:*
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.