The tide of Atlantis rises for fans worldwide: who knew that Aquaman was a cool superhero after all?
All eyes were on the Philippines when it became the fourth stop of the Aquaman World Tour— the Asian Premiere and Fan Meet Event in the Philippines on December 11.
Thousands of Filipino fans were gathered at the Mall of Asia Entertainment Music Hall for the Aquaman film blue carpet premiere night.
For a superhero character that’s often the subject of ridicule in pop culture, Aquaman became a huge success for DC and Warner Bros. to have a box office hit in just a matter of days.
Aquaman had its first screening in Beijing and earned $118 million in its first five days. It became an official box-office hit in China, surpassing Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, and the X-Men films.
Let’s take a look first at how Aquaman came a long way—from being the “lame” superhero now turned into one of the most badass movie characters of this generation.
Evolution of Aquaman
The origin of that “lame” impression began in a Saturday morning cartoon series, the Super Friends (1973-1986). It was an original cartoon TV series based on DC’s Justice League, brought to life by an American animation studio Hannah-Barbera.
In the series, Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman is just a giant dork that contributes almost nothing to his team. His almost useless sea-related powers and his orange-and-green costume have molded his character to be goofy and irrelevant, making him a common object of derisive superhero jokes.
It is undoubtedly unfair for Aquaman to be portrayed as a silly superhero character—at least for his fans who read the comics and know every bit of his formidable powers.
In the Super Friends series, Superman has the ability to fly, Wonder Woman has an invisible jet, and Batman has tons of expensive gadgets and devices. Meanwhile, what Aquaman has is a slow jet ski to ride on. It seems really ironic for someone who has Atlantean physiology and hydrokinetic powers by nature.
Source: The Mary Sue
In the early 2000s, Aquaman was also spoofed heavily in a hit stand-up comedy sketch by Fil-Am comic Rex Navarette. In this video version of Navarette’s Maritess vs. Super Friends, Aquaman is again his supposedly useless self.
[YOUTUBE VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2BhqgOS]
This is why when Warner Bros. launched DCEU, many people asked whether Aquaman was even worthy of a reboot. From being an irrelevant superhero character, is it even possible to remold Aquaman’s branding and make him more relevant in this generation?
Well, Zack Snyder said yes.
Up to this day, many fans still thank Snyder for casting Momoa as Aquaman for the Justice League film. Some say that Jason Momoa as the new face of this generation’s Aquaman is one of the smartest decisions Zack Snyder has ever made for the DCEU.
“We’re big ‘Game of Thrones’ fans. I remember Jason Momoa [as Dothraki chieftain Khal Drogo]. Zack was like, ‘Jason would be the perfect Aquaman.’ I was like, ‘It’s so out of the box. But yeah!’ He can be tough. And he feels like he comes from the water,” Deborah Synder, Zack Snyder’s wife and producing partner, explained in an interview in LA Times.
It’s very apparent based on many fans’ reactions that Momoa’s casting helped in making Aquaman even more recognizable, plausible even. Considering Momoa’s charming looks and personality, it was a genius move to reboot Aquaman with him doing the role—and damn those who would dare mock Jason Momoa as the king of the seven seas.
Before even its trailer broke the Internet, fans were already hyped up when Aquaman showed some of his incredible powers in Justice League (2017). First-look photos of Amber Heard’s Mera also added to the excitement of their fans.
Source: DCEU Wiki
Source: Batman News
As Mera is one of the most powerful female characters in DC, she’s also an important representation for female empowerment and for her husband’s character development.
So when Aquaman’s official trailer debuted in San Diego Comic Con, DC fans were left in awe and the word “excited” became such an understatement to describe how they felt. Mostly because it’s Aquaman’s first ever solo film, but also because Amber Heard will play as Mera, and James Wan will be directing the entire journey to Atlantis.
The Aquaman movie convincingly showcases Aquaman as a superhero that deserves his place along with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the Flash.
In the film, Aquaman possesses a variety of powers ranging from Atlantean physiology—superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, aquatic telepathy, animal control, and hydrokinesis— to having enhanced senses such as sonar hearing, allowing himself to zero in on submarines and still see even in the murky depths of oceans.
Its cast, special effects, humor, and the comic canon-faithful rendition of armor and settings, all jammed into one fun, action-packed film obliterated all traces of Aquaman’s former lame reputation.
Aquamaniacs at MOA
Thousands of Filipino fans gathered in and around the music hall to see Aquaman stars. Some were fans of Game of Thrones while others were huge fans of the legendary director who gave us some of the greatest horror films of all time. Some have a huge crush on Amber Heard and some were hardcore DC fans supporting Aquaman’s first ever solo film.
Source: Grace Adorable
Among those many fans is LJ Salazar, 27, a self-proclaimed huge DC fan. He believes that Aquaman deserves more recognition because he’s one of the most badass characters in the DC comics.
“What made me love his character is that he is the King of the Seven Seas. That’s intense if you would ask me,” Salazar expressed. “That time no’ng nakita ko ‘yung trailer, nasabi ko talagang I’m expecting something. Lalo na no’ng nilabas na ni James Wan ‘yung armor ni Aquaman, which is wow. That’s what comic accuracy is all about.”
Salazar is just one of the many fans who took their chance to get a special pass for the event but unfortunately didn’t win. Despite that, he was able to get a transaction with someone who won a pass but not able to come.
“Ang gusto ko rin kay Aquaman ay ‘yung pagta-travel niya under the sea. His way of living is basically cool. Kung iisipin mo, matindi ang pagtira o kahit paggalaw lang sa dagat—scientifically speaking. And having such incredible powers underwater is something else,” LJ added.
Meanwhile, Fatima, 32, is one of the luckiest DC fans who won a special pass online. According to her, she knew Aquaman back then as the most ridiculed superhero due to Super Friends.
The 70s cartoon series also contributed to her dim first impression of the character until she read DC’s New 52 comic arc. The New 52 run changed her perception of Aquaman into one of the most powerful superheroes of all time.
“I liked Aquaman in the New 52 because of his underdog story. ‘Pag nabasa mo ‘yung New 52 and also ‘yung Injustice video games, mare-realize mo na Aquaman is one of the most underrated comic book characters and he deserves to have his own solo movie, too,” Fatima explained.
She even added how the movie’s villain, King Orm, has a valid basis for hating the surface dwellers.
“May point din naman si Orm kasi when you look at our ocean’s situation, talagang we are slowly killing our marine creatures. However, we cannot hold everyone accountable sa kasalanan ng ilan. Naiintindhan ko si Orm pero we must also learn how to see the positive side of humanity, and I think si Aquaman ang magiging bridge para makita ang perspective na ‘yun.”
On the other hand, while some fans went to MOA to have their posters, artworks, action figures, and funko pops signed, some fans also gave extra effort in expressing their admiration—rocking a full body costume with makeup on.
Source: Whats A Geek
[Photo from IG:https://www.instagram.com/p/BrPohColNBw/]
[Photo from IG: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrUabFcFZqQ/]
We spotted Aquaman fan Jacquelin G., who cosplayed a genderbent version of the upcoming film’s protagonist.
Source: Grace Adorable
When Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, and James Wan arrived, fans became even wilder than before. Wan made his entrance first, Heard came after, and Momoa last entered the Music Hall.
The stars took their time to engage with fans, gave fans autographs, and took selfies and group pictures with them. Jason even took some of the lucky fans’ cameras and took the selfies himself.
Source: Denise Mallabo
[Photo from IG: https://bit.ly/2UKXXRW]
[PHOTO FROM TWITTER: https://bit.ly/2SPWcRV]
After engaging with fans and the media, the three also talked about their upcoming film.
“I can’t believe we’re almost in 2019 and there’s no brown-skinned superhero,” Momoa expressed.
Watch his full statement here:
[VIDEO FROM TWITTER: https://bit.ly/2QQUp1z]
Truly, Aquaman movie just broke the barriers since the casting of Momoa, a brown-skinned actor who grew up in Hawaii. Amidst the issue of having white actors dominate the Hollywood, suddenly here’s a brown-skinned actor representing his culture and race. Watch this video of Jason and his friends perform a Hakka in Aquaman’s premiere in Los Angeles:
[VIDEO FROM YOUTUBE: https://bit.ly/2PEWE3e]
Amber Heard’s character, Mera, also adds to the discussion of diversity and female empowerment as Aquaman shares a spotlight with her—a powerful sidekick in defeating the enemies. Mera is more than just a girlfriend in Aquaman’s life for she is as powerful—if not more—and badass as Arthur Curry and fans are more than excited to see Mera’s powers to be showcased in the film.
James Wan, as a director, also contributes to the discussion of diversity for pioneering the production. He’s one of the most well-known Asian directors in Hollywood and fans are more than grateful for him to not leave Aquaman alone in his journey after the speculated rumors of him leaving the project.
[PHOTO FROM TWITTER: https://bit.ly/2zZepVX]
The Aquaman blue carpet premiere night was surely a blast. It wouldn’t have been possible without the ever-supportive fans of Aquaman and DC.
Aquaman has surely become an iconic character to many people worldwide. All thanks to its wonderful cast and director who continue breaking glass ceilings in making a goofy Super Friends character into a relevant superhero of this generation.
So whether you’re a fan of DC, Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, James Wan, or none of the above, go check out Aquaman movie now in theaters. See it in 3D or 4D for a better Atlantis experience!