Aquaman has been one of my favorite DCEU incarnations, regardless of the quality of the films he’s thus far appeared in. December brings us DCEU Issue #6 and Aquaman’s solo film debut. James Wan will direct Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Randall Park and others in an underseas epic. The first trailer for Aquaman was the finale of WB’s San Diego Comic-Con film panel (which means I may now go eat a sandwich and stop hitting “refresh”). Of the two DCEU trailers WB brought to Comic-Con…Shazam looked better than I had hoped and Aquaman…was rough. Visually stunning in parts, but there is some wince-inducing stuff in this. It is the first look, but it’s also a film that’s basically done. We shall see. Aquaman swims into theaters on December 21, 2018.
From CBR’s notes on the panel:
Aquaman closed out the panel with an epic entrance by Jason Mamoa. The cast and director James Wan took the stage.
“One of the big things I wanted to do was create a superhero world we’d never seen before,” Wan said, “This might in some ways play more like a sci-fi/fantasy film than a traditional superhero movie which I think you’ll see in the trailer.”
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confessed that despite getting the role of Black Manta, he didn’t know how to swim. “I secretly went down to the hotel pool when we were filming with a kick board and taught myself how to swim in the mornings and evenings,” he laughed, “but then in the end I ended up not really having to do that much swimming.
The DCEU will have one film this year (Aquaman) and three next year (Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984). After the failure of Justice League last year, WB has put a lot of effort into getting their uneven film universe back on track. Captain Marvel and Aquaman are an unlikely one-two punch back to being on track, but they’re also characters that have no film history and little pop culture footprint. The first look at Shazam is really promising and seems to validate the casting of Zachary Levi (Chuck) in the role. Full synopsis from Coming Soon below. Shazam will hit theaters in April 2019.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).
The cast includes Asher Angel (Andi Mack) as Billy Batson, Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as The Wizard, and Mark Strong (Kingsman) in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. The film also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (IT) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (This is Us); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (Hawaii Five-0). Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead) and Marta Milans (Killer Women) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez.
Shazam opens April 5, 2019.
For comic book characters, death isn’t quite the final condition it is for the rest of us. It’s more of an annoying flu that sidelines them for a few years at most before they find a way to kick it. WatchMojo has put together a list of the 10 saddest superhero deaths in which the condition stuck (it also included supporting characters on the list, and given the subject matter it goes without saying that this is a SPOILER intensive list.
Most of the entries come from films outside the MCU and DCEU, both of which have been pretty merciful to characters so far (unless they were underdeveloped villains). I have a feeling that the MCU’s mercy, at least, is going to change with Avengers 3 & 4 in a big way, but most of the entries on this list come from X-Men, Spider-Man, and pre-DCEU Batman installments. While I agree with a lot of the choices (and the rule that no one resurrected should be included), choosing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or X-Men: Apocalypse over Watchmen struck me as a particularly grievous oversight. I definitely agree with #1, but I think there should be two entrants from Logan on the list. What traumas did you find left out? Let’s grieve together, people!
Justice League has seemingly been on the way forever and has endured one of the more tortured roads to the screen of any blockbuster in recent memory. First it was two films; then it was one. Then backlash from Batman vs. Superman changed things; then success from Wonder Woman and input from the always meddlesome WB demanded reshoots. Then director Zack Snyder’s family tragedy caused him to drop off the picture. Then Joss Whedon (who was already on-board to do the reshoots) took over the picture and cut the running time by 50 minutes, and then the tone was changed to be more in line with the hopeful note set by Wonder Woman. Take a second to breathe. So after all of that, what is the dominant impression walking away from Justice League? There isn’t one. It’s a film that makes no impact, has no presence, or lasting punch. So many cooks have been in its kitchen that the final product is just an average, bland waste of an opportunity. Continue reading Movie Review: Justice League (2017) *Just Mediocre*
In a year that’s seen perhaps the most quality of quantity in the comic book genre with Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok all scoring, Wonder Woman still stands as the best comic book movie of 2017. The DCEU in Wonder Woman captured what makes the DCU work in comics. The DCU has an earnestness and acceptance of its own fantastic nature whereas Marvel tends to try to ground things in a more logical reality. The DCU is a magical, cosmos-spanning, wonderland (punny). It has street-level heroes like Batman and Green Arrow, but more common are larger-than-life godlike beings like Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins’ take on the Amazons and Diana was the best Wonder Woman anything that’s ever been done on any screen or any page. It captured the essence of her character and allowed us for the first time to get that feeling of what a special place the DCU is. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Wonder Woman (2017) *Steve Trevor’s Sacrifice*