Fans may have worried that Justice League's version of Aquaman would be different from his solo film, but he's fortunately going to be an improvement for most viewers - especially when it comes to his views and attitude towards women. Which makes one of Justice League's most out-of-place and creepiest moments even worse in hindsight.
With Aquaman giving Amber Heard's Mera an equal share of the spotlight, as just one of the movie's warrior women, it's easy to see how Zack Snyder convinced her to take the role. But for all the effort James Wan and Aquaman makes to welcome women to the top tier of superhero cinema, their success makes one of Joss Whedon's many changes to Justice League even more regrettable by comparison.
And tragically, puts an asterisk beside all of Arthur's kindness and respect towards Mera. Because as the Lasso of Truth proved in his Justice League debut, deep down he can't help but be focusing on female... assets. Is it too late to delete another Aquaman scene from Justice League...?
Aquaman's Weirdly Sexual Justice League Moment
For those who may have never seen Justice League or forgotten it in the months since, we're referring to Arthur's monologue delivered inside of the Flying Fox, en route to the final battle against Steppenwolf. A scene in which Aquaman is the only one to admit that the odds say they're all going to die, no matter their superpowers. But it isn't Wonder Woman's heroism that he makes note of:
We've gotta shut Steppenwolf down. Superman's a no-show. You've got no powers, no offense. This guy might be working for the enemy, we don't know. You're tripping over your feet, and mine... Oof. You're gorgeous. And fierce. And strong. *Grunt*. I know we went to war with the Amazons, but that was before my time.
The odd comments were laughed off by many in the moment, but attracted conversation and criticism soon after, since Aquaman grunting provocatively about his attraction to Diana - the one member of the team who would be deemed worthy of admiration and respect, based on the point he was making - wasn't the treatment of women DCEU fans had come to expect. And as more of details of the heavy reshoots and re-writes began to arrive, many fans concluded that Joss Whedon's jokes were some of the movie's worst. Especially when they strayed into sophomoric and sexual (or dove face-first, literally).
Lois Lane was now "thirsty." Wonder Woman was knocked down so she could be saved by The Flash, and he could land face down in her cleavage (repeating a gag from The Avengers: Age of Ultron). Aquaman eyed up Diana's body and "woof"-ed because, you know, the Lasso of Truth means he can't hide it. He is a man after all, right? As Aquaman's solo movie shows instead, Arthur is a normal adult, who would be as weird-ed out as fans were at the sudden sexual objectification of DC's most powerful woman.
Aquaman Barely Acknowledges Mera is a Woman
Its reductive to compare Aquaman to Justice League based purely on Arthur's observations of Mera's body, or outbursts of primal attraction. But doing so is easy... because the movie never even comes close to anything resembling it. Movie fans were, understandably, a little surprised at how provocative Amber Heard's comic-accurate Mera costume appeared in still images. And with Aquaman having officially ogled one warrior princess already, the chance to double down on Arthur's sophomoric, bro-targeted humor was practically guaranteed.
In James Wan's Aquaman movie, we're pleasantly surprised to report that Arthur has little time to objectify Mera at all. The two of them are far too busy, once Mera arrives to save Arthur's father's life, drag Arthur home to Atlantis, save him from being killed in combat, lead him to the trident of King Atlan, coach him into claiming it, save him during the ensuing war, convince the armies to cease their attacks, and declares him king of all Atlantis.
And even being that much of a boss, it isn't until the end of the second act that Arthur lets his gaze linger on Mera with even a hint of romance. After that, it isn't until the height of the final act that Mera kisses him, unsure of whether or not he'll live through the fight. If we didn't know any better, we would think director James Wan wanted to make Aquaman a family-friendly movie in which Mera is more than equal to Arthur, and proves so impressive he can't help but follow her lead.
Unless DC fans go back and re-watch the just plain weird and unprovoked moment he was snared by the Lasso of Truth, and let everyone in the room know what he noticed most about Wonder Woman. And by extension, how he seemingly views Mera, too. Is it too late to add the deleted scene of Aquaman making a fool of himself to Diana back in? Because THAT sounds like our Arthur Curry.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018