First And Foremost
I do not want to make it seem that I have major issues with Aquaman. I’m merely questioning things that I noticed and was unable to come up with a perfectly reasonable answer. With time to reflect on the grand spectacle of the film, I feel I can ask these questions now. Yes, they’re probably tiny nitpicks of the film and that’s fine. Again, these questions are something I’ve been thinking about lately and don’t diminish the quality of the film.
I thoroughly enjoyed Aquaman. And when I say it’s slightly rated below Man of Steel for me, I simply mean in terms of re-watching a film. As far as underlying themes, that much seems to be missing from Aquaman. The questions I have were either not explained or I somehow missed the answers. Either way, the purpose of this article is to make sure I didn’t over-analyze anything or, to simply get your help for the answers. Also, these questions were happening in my head but then were forgotten about whilst watching the film as the situation was already moving forward.
***SPOILERS FOLLOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN AQUAMAN YET***
What Was The Purpose Of The Opening Aquarium Scene?
I understand this scene was meant to show that Arthur can somewhat communicate with Sealife. With the placement of the scene, however, it actually doesn’t do much. Sure, the sea life is awesome for having Arthurs back, but is that foreshadowing? Are we going to see Arthur being picked on later in life and witness a shark come to the rescue?
Think back to Man of Steel when Clark sees Zod calling for him. He thinks back to a flashback of a kid bullying him because it’s almost the same scenario, just with Zod. We hear the late Jonathan Kent instill the greatest wisdom for Clark: “You just have to decide what kind of Man you want to be when you grow up Clark. Because, whoever that man is, good character or bad. He’s going to change the world.” With Arthur, it’s just used as a transition for the title card.
The other thing I can’t get past is Arthur’s eyes. If Atlanteans only develop those eyes under water in order to adapt to see Atlantis, why does he get them on land? I completely understand that they’re not the same from Justice League. That much doesn’t bother me. But the explanation from Vulko is that he doesn’t know how to swim yet because he hasn’t developed his Atlantean senses properly. It’s at this moment we see his eyes begin to adapt underwater. But what about at the Aquarium?
How Does Aquaman Know The Sub Is Being Hijacked?
This may tie into the Snyder Cut of Justice League than many seem to think. We see a Sub being commandeered by Black Manta (more on him in my next questions). Yes, we hear that Mantas father tells the captain: “Distress signal disabled. We’re running dark again.” And yes we hear the captain respond: “But they heard it. You can count on it.” But that doesn’t explain how Aquaman shows up or knows that the Sub is in trouble.
If I’m not mistaken, Aquaman doesn’t have sonar and/or a radio frequency to ping to, correct? The only explanation I can conjure up is from the statement about the end of the Snyder Cut. He says that we see him traveling back home after telling Mera and Vulko he won’t help them. If the DC Films were meant to have the ending and beginning of each film have little nods back to each other, that could make sense. We would have seen Arthur hearing of the event in Justice League, and at the same time, understood why he was there in Aquaman.
What Is Black Mantas Real Name & Why Was He Waiting A Long Time To Face Aquaman?
We actually know that Mantas nickname derives from his grandfather in World War II. He’s given the family heirloom as a right of passage to earn the Moniker. That much is told to us. What’s NOT said, however, is what his name is in the film. I look at that as maybe James Wan left it open for the next film. It looks like he’ll be the main antagonist and rightfully so.
What I don’t understand is how Black Manta would even know what Aquaman does. In their first encounter, he tells Arthur that he’s “waited a long time for this“. I reacted the same way Arthur did: “Am I supposed to know who you are?” When Manta tells him that they were bound to meet at some point, that still doesn’t answer why he’s been waiting so long. For the most part, Arthur has been on the surface his whole life. Were they going to show a flashback to give some exposition of that line? They couldn’t have wanted it for sequel purposes because Arthur doesn’t even know him. Maybe Arthur ruined a chance for Manta to score big on an expedition to loot treasure? If the purpose was to give a reason for Manta to hate Aquaman, having him leave his father for dead was plenty.
The reason for the sub being hijacked in the first place is later revealed to help Orm convince King Nereus to join his forces. That much I get. But Mantas father was killed in the deck below. Did he remove his body for whoever was piloting the sub to attack Orm? Surely he wouldn’t want Orm to destroy his remains, along with the sub, right? But also, who was piloting that sub in the first place? The Crew was all rescued and Manta was in another place. Were Atlanteans on board for Orm?
Why Do We Hear About Vulko Without Seeing Him?
This one is simple. Thomas Curry tells Arthur that he’s doing what Vulko trained him to do. Arthur tells Mera that he already told Vulko that he wasn’t going to help him with Orm and whatever was going on with Atlantis. But, within the film, we have zero information of who they’re talking about. We see Vulko is traveling with Orm to meet with King Nereus, but we don’t know his affiliation with Arthur yet.
Hearing a character once in a film and not seeing them, I can understand. But hearing that name again is a little odd if we still don’t see them. Were we supposed to see flashbacks a little earlier in the film of Vulko training him or when he met Arthur? Or was the film following directly from that ending of the Snyder Cut of Justice League that Jason mentioned?
Why Was Mera Looking For Arthur?
Let’s look at this in two ways: If we analyze the film on its own, how is the audience supposed to know who this person is, or that she’s royalty? Other than what she tells Arthur (for exposition purposes), we only know that she tells him Vulko knows of a location of the lost trident. She doesn’t explain the purpose and we don’t know why she was sent in the first place. We would have to know her backstory as well since the film has already established all the main characters (minus Vulko). We also don’t know Mera is a Princess or that she’s wanting Arthur to stop Orm because she’s betrothed to him.
If we look at this film as a continuity of the DC Films: The dialogue suggests that Orm has been wanting to bring a war to the surface for some time. With Mera mentioning Steppenwolf, one would surmise that one intercedes the other. By that I mean once Steppenwolf took the motherbox, why didn’t Mera mention Orm then? Also, why would it have been Atlanna’s responsibility to stop Steppenwolf if she had been sentenced to the Trench years prior? Guess that’s what happens with a new writer coming in to write anything he wants without connective tissue.
What Was King Atlan Doing?
Sure, we hear that Atlan became too ambitious with his Trident, but what does that even mean? Was he trying to time travel? Was he attempting to jump the time-space continuum? We see Atlantis already had flying vehicles, so what could have caused whatever he was doing to sink Atlantis? The why becomes even more ambiguous when you consider the other worlds in the DC Films.
On Krypton, the world imploded because the core of the planet became too unstable. The Amazons were created by Zeus himself. Once his son Ares was set on destroying them, Zeus hid them away in a paradise that he couldn’t find. But Atlantis? Saying it sank because King Atlan wanted more would suffice if we knew what he was after. If his trident controlled all the Sealife, what was he doing using a machine on it? Was he trying to multiply the effect to control life to land creatures as well? Who knows?
How Did Atlanteans Evolve To Breathe Underwater?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if someone doesn’t know how to swim, they usually drown, right? Now sure, this is a nitpick that goes against the grain of having a Comic Book film make sense, and I get it. But even having some explanation of how Atlanteans evolved into breathing underwater would have worked. Evolution takes its sweet time. Just look at how the dinosaurs became birds, and you’ll understand what I mean. But again, I think James Wan knew that because it’s a comic book film, we shouldn’t really worry about how Atlanteans created their ability to breathe underwater. But that also leads me to my next question.
Was Atlantis Only Populated With High-Born When It Sank?
We’re told that only High-Born Atlanteans can breathe on Land and Sea. But if Atlantis sank all at the same time, how did the aristocratic society take shape? Again, this is so minor that within the context of the film, it simply doesn’t matter. It’s part of me just wanting to know more lore and history of Atlantis so it’s a good thing.
Why Did Arthur Put On King Atlans Armor?
View this question from what’s established in the film for me, please. The Armor that King Atlan is wearing is never once mentioned to serve any purpose. His trident on the other hand? That’s the whole mission. So seeing Arthur finally grab a hold of the Trident was an amazing moment. We see that once it’s in his hands, he has the ability to reach his ability to every sealife. At the same time, we see the body of Atlan dissipates to the ground.
So why does Arthur step out from the waterfall with Atlans gold and green armor? We’re not told it plays any significance in the film. We don’t know if that’s the ONLY armor a true King would wear. And even if so, the King in Justice League predates Atlantis sinking and was wearing different regalia. But even with all of those questions, why in the world would Arthur put on something that had been on a dead body for the past 1,000 years? Also, where did the cape go that was just on the dead King? Did the Karathen tailor it for him or did it just magically become his exact size?
What Did The League Think About The Garbage Showing Up On Land?
With Orm first showing his warning to retaliate against the surface, we see he’s beached all the trash from the Ocean. I’m fairly positive that a publication called The Daily Planet would want to find out what was happening, right? Surely Bruce’s many facilities caused some sort of impact on that situation. Even seeing a logo like how his satellite had in Man of Steel. But I digress.
Creating little world-building moments could have worked so subtly in that instance. It made me consider the League might be helping Arthur since he’s known to be Aquaman. I wonder what Diana thinks of all the War Vessels being visible to the world? These are the things that I wonder when I notice that Orm essentially did what Zod did. Creating a worldwide panic. Only this time, the world is aware of all the Metahumans that live here. Especially Superman.
Why Did The Little Girl Give Mera A Pinocchio Book?
My last question: Why did the girl in Sicily give Mera a book of Pinocchio? Remove the joke from earlier in the film. Why would she randomly run to her parents and get that book? There’s no library around. She’s never communicated with this person before. In order for that joke to feel more organic, they should have created more connectivity with Mera finding that book herself. But again, almost all of these questions don’t detract from my enjoyment with the film too much. I’m just questioning these things because the film is great.
When I have to think of these tiny nuances, that’s how you know I’m reaching for them to an extent. But other than those, can you think of any more that might have left you scratching your head? Would you like to help me with answering these questions? Let me know in the comments below.