The Time of Aquaman

16/10 · Por HBO · Reading 2 min.

In October, HBO brings us another great history of the DC universe. This time it's Aquaman, an adventure of two worlds and a hero.

One may wonder why these are the years of the great cinematic superhero stories. We can attribute it to a number of sociological or philosophical answers, yet there is one that is simple and true: superhero films can be easily done in today’s cinematic landscape.

With current technology, big Hollywood production companies have in their power to recreate unsuspected worlds in absolutely vivid ways; in this case, the underwater home of Aquaman. 

It's curious how staging a spaceship thousands of miles from Earth is always more feasible than showing the depths of our own planet's seas. While things "float" in both water and space, it is far more plausible to represent a dry environment vs one where space is contained in an elastic membrane that surges (water, obviously) and makes everything that can live there also undulate; to the most granular of details (such as human hair).


    Yet Aquaman is not an easy character either. In general, everyone knows who he is, but he's not really known as a classic hero like Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. In fact, most people know the “Superman” of the oceans from his participation in the recent Justice League film and previous animated series from a few decades ago. 

However, DC's renaissance of the League has proven effective in telling the individual stories of its members; including the story of Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman. 

Without a doubt, these moves have proven to be part of a great strategy. Aquaman, played by Jason Mamoa, found a role in Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), then joined the team in Justice League (2017) and ended up starring in his own film in 2018. 


The film is helped by having a well-known name; Jason Mamoa, one of the most sensual and exotic actors of recent years. It should be remembered that Mamoa grabbed the public’s attention in the role of Ronon Dex in the series Stargate Atlantis (2004-2009), but above all, as Khal Drogo in HBO's epic Game of Thrones (2011-2012). 

There's not much distance from that fierce Dothraki warrior to the king of the seas; especially if we think of Aquaman comics characterization of the nineties, where under the tutelage of writer Peter David, the superhero appeared for the first time with long hair and beard. At that time and through its history, Aquaman was blond, but in these diverse times, Mamoa, the sturdy, bearded and mane actor, also born on the Nanakuli Island in distant Hawaii, was truly fit for the role. One can say that Jason Mamoa was born to play the Aquaman of the 21st century. 

Thre was also a need for a director capable of handling large productions and today, there are a few directors of heroic super productions ready to assume that challenge; Zack Snyder is one of them. But the one that took the challenge in Aquaman, ironically, came from a somewhat darker background.


James Wan became famous thanks to the horror film Saw (2004), a complete change of direction to a genre that premiered as an independent film at Sundance, which later would become a commercial saga  -produced by Wan - and ended up becoming a huge success. 

Since then, the now forty-two-year-old filmmaker has not stopped producing and directing terror. In his role as a macabre director, he gave us Dead Silence and Death Sentence in 2007 and Insidious in 2008. With the famous The Conjuring (2013) he began to assemble what we now know as the “Warren universe”. Under his production belt, he has released, Annabelle (and its sequels), The Nun (2018) and The Curse of La Llorona (2019). 


The Conjuring initiates the saga that revolves around Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga). The Warrens were two real people; he was a demonologist formally recognized by the Catholic Church and she was a medium, both devoting much of their lives to investigate paranormal phenomena. They were also known for having made a collection of alleged cursed objects with the goal of creating and funding a museum in a house in Connecticut. Wan and his team have been introducing, into the separate film storylines, characters, ghosts and objects that revolve around the famous afterlife researchers, and thus have given us the biggest blockbuster horrors of recent times. 

However, by 2015, James Wan took a turn in his career; entering the genre of action movies and signed onto the seventh installment of the unstoppable Fast and the Furious series. Furious Seven is not a superhero film, but about a film about heroes with a lot of hustle and bustle. We can assume that's where he got his taste for superhero films because, by 2018, he began the Aquaman adventures. 


The film retains the superhero origins based on the 1959 comic books, which were later maintained in 2010. Arthur Curry is the son of a lighthouse keeper (a human) and Queen Atlanna, played by Nicole Kidman. Orm, Arthur's dark brother plays an important role in the story yet his origin, unlike in the comics, is not human. Patrick Wilson, with whom Wan faithfully recasts, takes the role of the arrogant and greedy brother. And again, contrary to comics, Orm has remarkable powers which he will use to fight his brother and destroy the people of planet Earth. 

A threat, a great danger, a conflict between sea and land, and above all, a hero that is both half human and half sea creature.

Aquaman, on HBO and HBO GO October 26.

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