Aquaman Brings Hope for the DC Franchise



Chayce Wellings, Videographer

DC has finally achieved their goal for their new slate of movies. Aquaman officially joined the billion dollar movie club and is now the highest grossing DC movie, grossing over a billion dollars. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been quite the underdog with audiences, given that many moviegoers hold a certain standard for comic book movies a la the Marvel movies under the grand pantheon that is Disney. Unfortunately, DC has not held up to that standard. DC films have been criticized for being too dark and gritty or rushing out movies just to catch up to Marvel. I have been let down, misdirected, and straight up disappointed by some of their films. It’s bad enough that I feel like I’m in the minority that is DC fans. Marvel is great, but I am a die hard DC fan, and it’s a shame that the DC movies aren’t as good as Marvel movies. But that all changed with Wonder Woman and Aquaman. In an attempt to please the fans, and obviously make more money, they have responded by making more lighthearted adventure films that focus more on pure entertainment and dive into what makes the DC characters and their mythologies so special.

Directed by James Wan, Aquaman follows the story of lone superhero Arthur Curry, the half human half Atlantean superhero, Aquaman, and his quest to stop his evil brother, Orm, and take his rightful place as king. Out of the current DC slate of movies, many people have responded positively to Aquaman’s more simple, fun adventure story, rather than a crossover movie with an over-complicated plot. The great thing about the core DC characters is that each of them has their own mythology. Aquaman is the king of Atlantis and controls 75 percent of the planet, Green Lantern is a space cop who patrols the galaxy with a green ring that allows him the power to create anything using his will, and The Flash can run so fast he can go back and forth through time and parallel universes and alternate timelines. Each of their mythologies are not only iconic, but there’s also depth to them and it’s easy to get lost in the richness of the DC characters. The myth of the lost civilization of Atlantis and the seven underwater kingdoms is a goldmine of DC lore that both casual movie-goers and diehard fans can talk about for years to come. There’s no shortage of new and obscure characters that audiences can get invested in, along with all the crazy “only in a comic book” storylines that DC can adapt moving forward.

Aquaman is currently the highest grossing DC movie, sitting above The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight, which is considered to be the best DC movie by many. One would expect that the team-up movies should make more money considering how the Avengers formula works, but it’s been quite the opposite for DC. Along with Aquaman, Wonder Woman out-grossed Suicide Squad and Justice League, both of which have some of the most well-known characters in all of fiction such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, The Joker, and Harley Quinn. Even with pop-culture’s mockery of the character since his inception, Aquaman still managed to not only to gross over a billion dollars, but also be given the “Ok, you’re cool now,” pass from audiences, mostly due to Jason Momoa’s likeable surfer dude take on the character.  

With DC currently trying its best to gain back the audience’s trust from making mediocre to sub-par movies, this is clearly a step in the right direction. Shazam is coming out later this year, and will hopefully have the lighter and more fun tone similar to Aquaman, so the horizon for DC movies is looking rather bright.