Historically, Aquaman has been problematic for the DC comics universe. Originally just a superpowered guy with powers that work only underwater and who talks to fish, he’s been rewritten and retconned into a complex character with an epic backstory, and some real personal drama. Now, after many years of rumor and false starts, we have a feature film on the verge of splashing onto our cinematic shores like a tidal wave.
This new extended trailer debuted at New York Comic-Con. It’s an astonishing five minutes long, and takes Arthur Curry from his humble beginnings as the son of a lighthouse keeper to his emergence as the hero Atlantis needs. Yes, there’s the money shot at the end of the trailer of Jason Mamoa in full canon Aquaman uniform, and beyond all expectation, he looks fantastic in it.
Here’s the trailer. If you’re reading this on your desktop, pause the SCIFI.radio stream while you watch using the control at the top of the page.
What makes a film like this work is backstory. It gives the film a solid foundation upon which palaces may be built. Aquaman looks like it’s got several film’s worth of backstory to draw upon. It looks like the artists and designers were in their element, and that element is seawater.
Everything about this film beckons. Everything you see makes you want to see more, so the trailer works spectacularly. Of particular interest is Black Manta, a character which looked great on the printed page in 1967 when he made his DC Comics debut. Any doubts that the character translates well to live action are hereby summarily dismissed by this trailer.
Arthur Curry’s half-brother Orm is trying to foment a war between the seas and the land that will destroy billions of lives, and it’s up to Arthur to stop him. Can the heir to the throne of Atlantis rise to become king and hero he was born to be?
Aquaman stars Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and introduces Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta. The film opens in cinemas on December 21st.