Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice had a lot of problems, chief among them a self-serious, dreary tone that weighed the proceedings down like a sack of wet cement. And with that film getting dragged by critics more savagely than any superhero movie since Green Lantern, people are naturally starting to wonder whether that same aesthetic will be present in future titles in Warner Bros. and DC’s cinematic universe (an admittedly worrying thought).
Asked at WonderCon about the tone he’d be taking for Aquaman, director James Wan threw in his two cents, assuring IGN that he would be bringing a distinctive, slightly more lighthearted touch to the blockbuster.
“The kind of filmmaker that I am… even my darker horror films generally are still very fun and I think that’s important for me and the kind of films I make,” he explained. “Aquaman is a character that a lot of people have made fun of over the years and I just think it’s fun to actually show a really different, cool, badass side to this character, but at the same time, let’s not forget to have fun with it.”
Though plot specifics are likely a while off, it’s relieving to hear that Wan isn’t going for an ultra-gritty approach to a character many consider to be one of DC’s silliest heroes. And the director is right on the money about his past films – as terrifying and grim as it was in places, The Conjuring still played with audiences and leaned into its scares in such a way that they remained entertaining. And his Furious 7 was an absolute blast even while going to some dark places. If he can adopt a similar mentality on Aquaman, and maybe poke some light fun at star Jason Momoa, the film could succeed as an interesting and enjoyable introduction for the character.
Wan also talked at length about his desire to explore the underwater world of his Atlantean hero:
“I think, like most people, we are familiar with Aquaman… We grew up reading or watching this character on the peripheral. I was never so in depth with Aquaman as, let’s say, I was with X-Men. I grew up loving X-Men, Spider-Man and Batman. Those are obviously the key big ones, but there’s always something kind of cool about Aquaman still, the idea of creating a huge world that is on our planet. That’s the thing about Aquaman that’s cool is he’s not an alien, right? He’s from our planet and he’s from a society that we’re not privy to in the context of the story. Isn’t it crazy to think that we’ve explored space more than we have explored the depths of our ocean? That just fires up my imagination about potential sea monsters and cool creatures, that kind of stuff.”
James Wan. Sea monsters. I’m sold. Aquaman opens July 27, 2018 (barring any reshuffling in the wake of Batman V Superman‘s reception).