Last Friday Zack Snyder, ringmaster of Superhero Face Punch, was listening to a local sports talk radio show in Detroit when he heard the DJs bashing Aquaman, echoing pretty much everyone’s sentiments when it comes to Aquaman, which is—really? So Snyder called into the show to defend Aquaman, which is cute in an elementary school way. (No, I have the best ball to play with!) You can hear Snyder’s radio call here.
On the one hand, it's great that Snyder’s into it enough to defend his character/movie, but all he talked about was how cool Aquaman can look, and that's not the problem. How a Zack Snyder movie LOOKS is never the problem. The problem is, are we going to buy into a world in which Aquaman exists alongside Superman, Batman, et cetera? A big problem with the Justice League has always been that Superman virtually negates the need for any other hero. He can do everything the rest of them can do, and he's a better person than all of them, too (historically anyway; New Superman is on shaky moral ground). So don't tell me how Aquaman is strong and has a cool spear, tell me how he relates to the other heroes.
The Avengers works because each hero is necessary. Each one compliments the others, and when they finally get together and starting fighting as a team, everyone’s differing strengths come to the fore to help save the day. It’s a similar dynamic with the X-Men, where different mutants’ powers are useful in different situations (and yet they keep trying to make that franchise about Wolverine, who is actually one of the least-useful mutants in most situations). But the minute DC heroes start hanging out with Superman I’m like, What are you even doing here?
I’m concerned that, once again, Snyder has used an opportunity to tell us about the movie to instead tell us about how the movie looks. Like that weak-sh*t footage from Comic-Con that told us absolutely zero about not only how Superman and Batman co-exist but how they end up at each other’s throats (and how the fight ends in any way other than Superman burning Batman alive with his laser eyes), this radio call-in is all about how Aquaman looks, not what he does or who he is.
It’s possible to discuss these things without getting into spoilers—Aaron Taylor-Johnson did a great job at Comic-Con talking up Quicksilver, another guy with a questionable power set, by talking up his characterization. He’s super fast, so that translates into impatience and a quick temper. Great! We now know something concrete about the Avengers’ Quicksilver—he’s going to be an impatient prick. No plot points revealed, just craftily connecting a widely derided power with characterization. It’d be nice if just once, Zack Snyder could tell us not about how his movie will look—which no one questions in the first place—but how it will be.
Attached – Jason Momoa, rumoured to be playing Aquaman, out in New York last month.