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Aquaman: Why The Live-Action Movie Has Potential

The King of the Seven Seas has what it takes to be the King of the Box Office. If the studio handles several elements right, of course.

When it comes to DC movies, Batman and Superman tend to get most of the spotlight and it's understandable since the two heroes are immensely popular. However, DC and Warner Bros. has made it clear they're looking to change that. Superman and Batman will still be featured and it's unclear when their next solo movies will drop, but after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we're going to see the DC Cinematic Universe expand in a huge way. There's plans underway to give Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash, Billy Batson and even the Suicide Squad solo movies. Seeing as Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman, is our current Character of the Month, let's take some time to talk about why his movie has a whole lot of potential.

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As of right now, the official details are the movie is expected to open in 2018 and it'll star Jason Momoa. According to rumors, the Justice League will be formed or at least strongly teased by the time Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is over. Even if those are just rumors at this point, it does make sense because Justice League: Part One opens in theaters the following year and it's never too early to build the hype. Because of that, it's very possible Momoa will make his debut in that movie as Aquaman and not just some dude named Arthur Curry.

Seeing as Zack Snyder called a radio station just to praise Aquaman and crush misconceptions that the guy's lame, it's safe to say the director wants to give this character one hell of a debut. Once again, this is assuming he has the opportunity to do so. And that's something the studio has to recognize as mandatory. Comic book fans know Aquaman's a boss, but we're not a big percentage of moviegoers and the studio needs to make sure the casual viewer won't feel embarrassed when they say, "One ticket for Aquaman, please." Those casual moviegoers are the ones who will probably still laugh at any of the generic "Aquaman is lame and talks to fish" jokes. Before the movie comes out, the marketing needs to change their mind. It needs to show he's just as cool as the other heroes and not a walking punchline.

Having Aquaman already established and introduced to the world by the time Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's credits begin to roll will give Aquaman's solo movie the advantage of not needing to be yet another origin story. Sure, it's important to touch the basics of his earlier years and that'll help give viewers a stronger emotional connection to the guy, but if the humans of the DC Cinematic Universe know there's a guy named "Aquaman" out there, they can represent the casual fans -- the ones who think he's just a silly dude who has lame powers compared to the other powerhouses. This is something Geoff Johns addressed very well in his opening New 52 AQUAMAN story. Not only did it show this guy as a complete badass, but it also addressed many of the misconceptions in very funny ways. Whether you were a longtime fan of the King of Atlantis or totally new to the character, it was something that could quickly win you over. Johns' acknowledged the fact that many people still don't take the hero seriously and tackled it in a way that was both informative and hugely entertaining. If the studio is smart, they'll take a note or two from Johns' work. That'll give them a chance to offer some lighthearted moments before leaping into the family drama and epic encounters.

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Aquaman's big screen movie may be years away, but he's now the lead in DC's latest animated feature. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is now available digitally and the Blu-ray/DVD goes on sale later this month (January 27). While I wasn't the biggest fan of the movie (click here for the review), it showed Aquaman's world is loaded with potential. So much, in fact, that the animated movie didn't have nearly enough time to do it justice. However, a limited runtime won't be an issue for the live-action movie. The animated project was only 72 minutes long and, since it's also a Justice League story, it had to juggle arcs with the other heroes as well. That means several compelling elements (e.g. exploring Atlantis, Arthur's family, Mera, Black Manta) were forced to race forward.

Not only will the live-action movie not have to worry about being too short, but it won't need to juggle a subplot with the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman and Cyborg. Instead, it has the time to give viewers a great insight into Aquaman, explore Atlantis and the hero's complex dynamic with its population, and give the villain (fingers crossed for Black Manta with big teasers about Orm's future) more depth. Basically, it won't face the same obstacles the animated movie had to deal with. Cramming everything into a very short runtime won't be an issue and that should give them the room they need to craft an absorbing look into Aquaman's journey, flesh out the supporting cast, and make sure we want to see what the villain will do next.

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In addition to having an interesting mythos and cast of characters, Aquaman has the opportunity to amaze our eyes. Just like what Avatar did with Pandora, Aquaman can make moviegoers fall in love with Atlantis and want to visit it. There's no good reason why exploring this underwater city shouldn't look stunning and offer tons of spectacular visuals. Sure, the powerhouse brawls and Arthur potentially sending a great white shark after someone can look awesome, but Atlantis has the potential to be breathtaking and a movie like this should demand to be seen in 3D. Put that technology to use, DC and WB. And yeah, throwing in a few easter eggs and teasers about the bigger DC Cinematic Universe certainly won't hurt, either. You know, as long as it doesn't blatantly get in the way of the narrative or feel all kinds of forced. We expect this to fully embrace Aquaman's world and not use characters and events from other movies as a crutch.

Assuming it's handled well and they do a brilliant job promoting it, Aquaman has the potential to appeal to casual fans by offering jaw-dropping spectacle. Who wouldn't want to take a trip to Atlantis or witness a super powerful hero use sharks and whales to attack his enemies? Once that crowd is finally in their seats, this movie can give them exactly what they want while also showing them Aquaman and his story isn't a joke. They can walk out thinking he's formidable, knowing and caring about his supporting characters and, most important of all, wanting to see even more of the character. Simply put, an Aquaman movie has the potential to be awesome. With a smart script, his world absolutely has what it takes to produce some gripping drama, spectacular visuals, and a ton of thrilling entertainment. Aquaman has the chance to smash dated jokes about the iconic hero and give casual fans a newfound level interest in the character. Here's hoping they go all-out and deliver a movie that'll make us want to see a sequel.