We are now one month away from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to the surprise 2018 superhero hit, Aquaman. The first trailer was okay, the second trailer is also okay. I do think they’re doing a really good job laying out the basic premise and stakes: Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) wants to kill Aquaman and to do so, he has to free liquid Sauron. That means wiping out Arthur Curry’s family, including his baby son. Aquaman is defending not only his kingdom, but his family. It’s all about #Family!
But I’m not totally sold. These trailers, while still having some fun Aquaman stuff, like Aquaman riding a giant glowing seahorse, seem a little dourer than the first movie, which isn’t particularly good, but it IS wacky fun in the ocean. Maybe the trailers are just overselling the stakes portion of the thing. I hope that’s the case, because if nothing else, an Aquaman movie should not get bogged down in dramatic mugging. This is an inherently silly superhero, it’s okay if his franchise is a little silly, too, but it kinda feels like Jason Momoa and writer/director James Wan want Aquaman to be serious business. But why? Was anyone looking for a serious Aquaman movie?
The real question, though, is how this movie will play to audiences next month, given the weird year superhero movies have had. On the one hand, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 did very well. On the other hand, literally every other superhero movie this year has bombed. Will Aquaman 2 be another stinker, or can it pull out a Christmas miracle and end the year on a high note? The good news is, it doesn’t have any real competition. There’s Migration, an animated movie to pull the family crowd, and Anyone But You for adults looking for something light, though my hopes for that movie are ever diminishing. The Iron Claw and American Fiction will draw more dramatically minded adults and the only other blockbuster-level release is Wonka, which is targeting more of a family audience, leaning on director Paul King's history with Paddington. But for the non-family crowd, Aquaman and the Last Kingdom is it.
Also, for those of you keeping track, this trailer features the back of Amber Heard’s head and nothing more. Honestly, for her sake, I hope she bails on this whole press tour. Who the f-ck needs the stress.
Attached - Jason Momoa in New York on the weekend.