The StoryPart of the formula for success for DC superhero movies has been the adherence to telling character-centric stories set in a "real-world" context. In keeping with that formulaic blueprint, it's not hard to see why Aquaman could be a winner. At its core, the identity struggles of a man from two different worlds is relatable enough (see: Man of Steel) - but in a day and age where "the environment" is a hot-button term, and the wrath of the sea (hurricanes, tsunamis) are daily fears, Aquaman's story can encompass topics and themes that no other superhero really can (mankind's relationship to Nature, etc.). Forget the silly CW pilot or that faux James Cameron film on Entourage - a serious-minded Aquaman movie could have something relevant and timely to say, given the chance.
The CharactersThere's no good story without good characters, and Aquaman has good characters to spare. The man himself is an obvious metaphor for identity struggles (particularly in a modern world of increasing multi-culturalism), but Aquaman's mythos is filled with strong female characters (Mera); alien races (Atlanteans, the Trench); an evil half-brother (Ocean Master); and even a black archnemesis (Black Manta). As far as "dramatis personae" go, Aquaman is pretty solid. Moreover, thanks to modern creators like Geoff Johns, the characters in Aquaman have already been fleshed-out and modernized enough that they could attract a cast of high-caliber actors, with the central role open to any chiseled leading man on the brink of stardom (read our suggestions for actors to play Aquaman).
The SettingAquaman would no doubt be set on dry land during Arthur Curry's formative years (living with his human father, Tom Curry), but after a (now-standard) hop through his troubled adolescence (hearing see creatures, being drawn like an addict to the ocean) we could literally dive into a whole new world for superhero films to explore: the deep sea. Being a real-life quasi-hydrophobe, the thing that terrifies me about the ocean is that it's literally an alien terrain whose full depths we have never fully uncovered. That mystery leaves infinite possibilities for imaginative Cinematic storytelling. The beautiful lost city of Atlantis? Terrifying regions of the deep? Freakish creatures and beasts born of the ocean (see: recent Aquaman storyline "The Trench")? This movie could have all of the above.
The TechnologyIf you haven't heard, this guy named Jim Cameron is hard at work on some revolutionary technology for Avatar 2, a small sequel film that will try to bring the world visual effects related to the ocean and water that we've never seen before. While it's a whole separate discussion what this new filmmaking tech will mean for the world of Pandora, one clear fringe benefit of Cameron's tinkering could be revolutionary and kick-ass Aquaman movie experience (in 3D). Again, the freaky (or fascinating) thing about the ocean is how mysterious it remains, even in modern times. Cameron will get first jump on showing action sequences set in much more realistic underwater settings, but DC/WB could be the first to really capture what it is for a superhero to use his ocean-based powers in combat. Aquaman kicking ass like the 'Superman of the sea' that he is? Yes please.
ContinuityThe difficulty of the DC Movieverse going forward is not so much figuring out how to chronicle the origins of its major characters (the "Nolan approach" seems to be doing that just fine) - the real challenge from here on out will be figuring out how to position those individual character stories around one major milestone: the world debut of Superman. Whether an Aquaman movie takes place before or after the events of Man of Steel, one good thing about it is that its unique setting (an underwater world) is an almost guaranteed way to side-step the annoying question of 'Why doesn't Superman just show up and handle it?' Superman has a world to watch over - but it ain't the world of the sea. An Aquaman saga could play out under the ocean without Superman intervention, and nobody would likely be bothered. Furthermore, the emergence of the Man of Steel and world-altering events of the Kryptonian invasion are all events that could catalyze events in an Aquaman story, by serving as the inspirtation of an Atlantean attack on the surface, or Superman inspiring Aquaman to make a choice about his identity etc... In short: this character would be easy to position in within the Justice League movie cannon. Below you'll find a quick recap of why we believe an Aquaman movie could be the next successful superhero blockbuster for DC Comics and Warner Bros. Do you agree with our reasoning? Let us know in the comments!
- The Story - Aquaman is a richly complex character with an epic origin story.
- The Characters - They're diverse, three-dimensional, modern and perfect star vehicles.
- The Setting - Superhero action beneath the seas? Yes Please!
- The Technology - Given where film tech is headed, the visual splendor of Aquaman could be unmatched by anything else in the genre.
- Continuity - We need the next chapter in the Justice League saga, and this is a perfect fit.