Look, we all know the DCU isn't in the best spot. Sure, they found huge success with last year's Wonder Woman, but with Justice League having fizzled and the entire future of Batman up in the air (seriously, does anyone really know what the plan is there?), the future's looking questionable at best. Here's the good news, though: James Wan's Aquaman, arriving this December, looks fucking awesome.
Today, during Warner Bros.' CinemaCon panel, a chunk of the Aquaman cast (including star Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and director James Wan) joined host Will Arnett onstage to unveil a very, VERY early teaser for Wan's superhero standalone, and what we saw kicked no small amount of ass.
Wan introduced the teaser by warning us that what we were about to see was very unfinished, and he wasn't lying: at least half of the shots included in the trailer were pre-viz footage, or halfway-rendered digital effects shots. The other half featured footage that actually appeared complete (most of this was stuff taking place outside Atlantis), but in the end none of this really mattered - even in this unfinished state, the footage we saw left a massive impression: sprawling underwater skylines, Atlantean soldiers riding armored seahorses into battle (this might not sound badass, but let me assure you: it looked very badass), gigantic crowd scenes (I'm not exaggerating when I say these shots involved thousands of digital extras), and a quick glimpse at Black Manta that legit dropped my jaw: my man looked exactly like he does in the comics, big-ass red eyes and everything.
The sheer scope on display was incredible; there can be no doubt that this is the biggest thing Wan's ever done (yes, including that entry in the Fast & Furious franchise). I'm not sure what I expected when this trailer started - I like Wan a lot, but the very idea of an Aquaman movie has always struck me as at least moderately ill-advised - but I came away from this teaser feeling very confident in this movie's chances. This looked gritty and dark in the same way that Wonder Woman was somewhat gritty and dark (unlike, say, Batman V. Superman or Suicide Squad, neither of which did much to leaven that grit and darkness). Call it a middle ground between Snyder's take and whatever DC's trying to move towards.
Anyway, you heard it here first: Aquaman looks pretty goddamn cool, and we may well be in for a treat when it arrives this December.
Stay tuned for more from the CinemaCon frontlines as the week continues.