After a string of divisive and critically derided films that failed to demonstrate the staying power of the DCEU (Wonder Woman excepted), there’s a lot riding on the success of Aquaman to keep audiences invested in what many assumed would be a world-conquering franchise by now. That being said, if early reactions to the movie’s test screenings are anything to go by, Arthur Curry’s solo debut could be a welcome addition to this struggling cinematic universe that may not reinvent the genre, but may tide the studio over until they come up with something bigger.
Steve Weintraub of Collider has tweeted of a test screening being held for James Wan’s feature in the San Fernando Valley, and suggests that the consensus so far is promising.
Guess which upcoming superhero movie test screened last night in the San Fernando Valley? Heard good things…. pic.twitter.com/3MMxcCHPaj
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) August 24, 2018
Similarly, Christopher Marcus of Omega Underground reports word that Aquaman is good but not great, which may end up being good enough.
I hear it's good (not great) and that's all we can hope for in the end. I'll take it. pic.twitter.com/abrW3fEOgr
— Christopher Marc (@_ChristopherM) August 24, 2018
Lastly, KC Walsh of Geeks WorldWide compared the upcoming underwater actioner to the first few instalments of the MCU.
— KC Walsh (@TheComixKid) August 24, 2018
That last tweet in particular hints at a potentially well-judged step backwards for the series after the widely panned Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the commercially disappointing Justice League, both of which suggested that DC were jumping the gun in their attempt to kick off an expansive crossover saga. Rather than cramming this next flick with more plot threads and setups for future spinoffs than one movie can handle, perhaps a back-to-basics approach in the vein of the first Iron Man or Thor is what the property needs.
Indeed, Wan’s recent statements suggest that he had every intention of keeping things clean and simple, telling Entertainment Weekly:
“I wanted to keep the story to the world of Aquaman and not have to worry about what other characters are doing in their films and how that would affect us. I just thought the simplest way was to keep it clean — keep it simple and let it be an Aquaman story.”
But while Aquaman won’t be overly connected to the rest of the DCEU, you can bet that the public’s reception to this film will play a significant role in shaping the wider franchise’s future when the movie drops on December 21st.