My Man, Indeed
It’s official, Aquaman is the highest grossing DCEU movie. It’s a hard statistic to accept, but also pretty awesome if I’m being honest. Somehow, audiences have been showing up in a big way to see Jason Momoa toss a trident around, so much so that it’s on track to become the first movie in Warner Bros’ fledging cinematic universe to cross a billion dollars (a feat that Marvel has pulled off a few times already). So what is it about Aquaman, of all characters, that makes it so appealing to audiences?
Well, the easy answer is to say “it’s fun”. But that’s not the only reason that audiences have turned up in droves. For the most part, people seem to really respond well to Jason Momoa, which makes a lot of sense when you realize that a fraction of the people who have seen Aquaman turned out to see him in Justice League a year earlier. Momoa has a likability that’s pretty infectious, and I know I’m not the only one who likes watching him on screen. Plus, he gives some much-needed diversity to the crowded field of generic white dudes who are superheroes.
It’s also important to point out that Aquaman looks like nothing else from the DCEU. Even though Wonder Woman and even Man of Steel had their fantastical elements, Aquaman takes the wildest moments of those films and cranks it up to 11. This is a film where characters ride seahorses and talk about “assembling the seven kingdoms of Atlantis” with a straight face. It’s baffling and kind of awesome that something like this would be as well-received by audiences as it is, and yet, here we are.
But it’s also kind of crazy to think that of all the heroes in DC and Warner Bros’ stable of characters, Aquaman is the one to make a billion dollars. The guy that everyone made fun of for talking to fish has the last laugh. He’s outgrossing not only the film that brought himself, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Batman and Superman together, but the film that should’ve been the biggest slam dunk of all time, Batman V Superman. China showing up for the film in droves certainly helped too, but I have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, Justice League had a bigger impact on home video and streaming than we knew (but if that’s the case, you’d think it would have a bigger chatter online).
Regardless of the reasons WHY people showed up for Aquaman, the simple fact is that they did show up. So in more ways than one, Aquaman seems like a big turning point for Warner Bros’ superhero films. Now they just need to figure out how they’ll follow up the original….