It’s Impossible to Imagine an ‘Aquaman’ Character or Subplot That Sounds Implausible
Pop quiz, hotshot: Which of these four ridiculous things does not appear in Aquaman?
- An octopus plays the bongo drums.
- Patrick Wilson screams “CALL ME OCEAN MASTER!” while wearing shiny purple armor.
- Aquaman flies around in an underwater spaceship.
- Julie Andrews plays an enormous Lovecraftian hellbeast.
Got your answer? Well whatever you picked, you were wrong because all four of these ridiculous things appear in Aquaman.
The further I get from this film, the more I love it for this very reason. Sure, Jason Momoa makes a very charmingly beefy superhero. And yes, the visuals are surreal and colorful, and a lot of the action is surprisingly robust. Also I am required by law to love any movie where someone shoots laser beams out of a trident while riding a shark like it’s a bloodthirsty horse. But the best part of Aquaman is the fact that it is so knowingly silly that it is literally impossible to imagine something — even as a joke! — that is too absurd to have appeared in the film.
Let me give you an example. Ben Affleck doesn’t show up in bedazzled Bat-scuba gear in Aquaman. But given what I’ve already told you does happen in Aquaman, it’s not at all implausible to think that he could have shown up in bedazzled Bat-scuba gear — and it would not have seemed strange in that context. He could have been swimming along with Amber Heard screaming “MARTHA!!!” at the top of his lungs, and it only would have been the third or fourth weirdest thing in Aquaman.
We are talking here about a movie that follows the guy who owns the second coolest trident on Earth as he spends almost two and a half hours searching for the coolest trident on Earth. His mom is an Atlantean queen who also happens to be Nicole Kidman. When that is your starting point, there’s nowhere to go but Crazy Town. (Sadly, Pitbull doesn’t cover Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” on the Aquaman soundtrack — but it’s not inconceivable that he might have since he did cover Toto’s “Africa” on the Aquaman soundtrack.)
In a recent interview with Collider, director James Wan revealed the one scene from the Aquaman script that was too “out there” even for him...
[It] had this sequence where ... Aquaman has been apprehended by King Orm and he’s been thrown into this dungeon. Like this really awful prison deep in Atlantis. He ends up starting a prison riot, where all the guards are sharks. They were shark-guards, like all shark head ... and he kills one of the shark guards and the shark starts bleeding and then that starts a feeding frenzy among all the other shark guards. It just went nuts. We’re talking like clouds of blood billowing everywhere and he uses that to escape. I was like ‘Holy crap, I don’t know if I can do that.’
James Wan knows his movie. He knows what would and wouldn’t work. If he thinks it was too over-the-top to actually shoot, that’s fine. But I write this with absolute certainty. If he had filmed a shark prison riot feeding frenzy and put it in Aquaman, it would not have felt out of place. Like, at all.
All week I’ve been trying to think of something — anything — that would feel out of place in Aquaman. Reader, I submit to you that it cannot be done. Every joke I want to make, every outlandish hypothetical I dream up, they all sound believable. If, say, Marty McFly and Doc Brown had shown up in submarine DeLorean in the middle of the battle between Aquaman and Black Manta and screamed “Arthur! Quick! You’ve got to come back with us!” I would have shrugged my shoulders and went with it.
You give it a try — try to create a scenario that is too ludicrous to appear in Aquaman. Leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter with your best attempt. I promise: You will fail. But you will have fun failing — almost as much fun as I did watching Aquaman.
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