Aquaman – Fight Night (Spoilers)

Aquaman Spoiler Policy: Aquaman isn’t out until December and the movie is so good it’ll represent the start of a new era for the DCEU with films such as Shazam and Wonder Woman 2 following. As such the movie doesn’t deserve to be completely spoiled ten months out from release. People should be able enjoy Wan’s underwater epic on the big screen without knowing everything about it prior to release. That’s why this far out I won’t be touching some of the big story reveals in the third act, and may not even do it closer to release.

That said, people have been asking for more details and while I won’t do an entire plot summary just yet, but I will be posting some details about the movie and how it plays out. Please be considerate of people who want to avoid spoilers when sharing this information on social media. Also please be aware that this information comes from an unfinished version of the movie and some of this may not make it into the final film.

Today will discuss the quest Arthur must embark on and when he begins it.

When Arthur and Mera arrive in Atlantis, he’s reunited with his mentor Vulko. He’s told that in order to overthrow Orm, he’s going to need to find the Trident of Atlan. This is an ancient Atlantean artifact with the power to control the sea. They don’t know where it is, but Vulko gives Arthur an object that has a message from King Atlan, but it can only be heard in the Sahara desert where an Atlantean tribe was once located before the sea disappeared.

During this conversation, Orm’s troops arrive and there’s a fight. Vulko rushes Mera out so she’s not seen with them, they capture Arthur, and take him in front of Orm. He tells Arthur that him being a half-breed is what corrupted Queen Atlanna and that’s why she was executed. Orm begins to monologue explaining that he’ll declare war on the surface because humans are destroying the environment and poisoning the oceans. Arthur still doesn’t quite know what he’s doing, so he challenges Orm to ritual combat do decide who’ll be King. Orm decides to do it in an underwater coliseum called the Ring of Fire.

Vulko prepares Arthur for his fight and explains to him the history of King Atlan. Atlantis was once a large civilization on land, and King Atlan tried to use the Trident to advance their technology. But a huge explosion destroyed their kingdom and forced them into the sea. Via the Trident some were able to adapt and survive, while others became the creatures of The Trench.

Then Arthur and Orm fight at the Ring of Fire (where there’s a river of underwater lava). Orm doesn’t want to fight Arthur and blames him for what happened to Atlanna, so he gives him one chance to leave Atlantis and never come back. Aquabro isn’t like that, so he fights. During the fight Orm breaks Arthur’s trident in two, and Mera saves him by summoning a whirlpool and rescuing him with her sub.

Orm chases the sub down in his sub and there’s a dogfight underwater. He manages to shoot them down and the sub crashes in a lava lake, but Mera and Aquaman escape and hide in the mouth of a whale (something that will pay off with a laugh later in the movie). Orm believes they’re dead.

And that’s where we’ll stop for now. This brings us up about the second act of the movie and from here Aquaman and Mera will make their way to the surface to hunt down the Trident of Atlan.

Previous Stories on Aquaman (all have spoilers):
The Opening
Mera
Atlantis

Fox is Threatening to Sue Me Over a Deadpool 2 Test Screening I Never Attended

Last night Fox held a test screening for Deadpool 2, but I was not there. Eight weeks out from release is pretty late for doing these sorts of tests, and an anonymous source relayed a reaction to me about the screening that…wasn’t good. So I Tweeted about it.

This morning I wake up to a threat in my contact form from the firm Fox uses for test screening threatening to sue me for violating an agreement I never agreed to nor signed because I was never invited to this test screening and I did not attend it.

As a journalist I was relaying information by an anonymous source, and Fox is resulting to bullying and legal threats to silence critics of an upcoming movie that looks like it may not be as good as the original. Here’s their letter (with all contact information stripped, of course):

And my reply to them was,

“I’m sorry but I did not attend any screening and did not sign any agreement or NDA. As a journalist I am only posting information relayed to me by an anonymous source.”

This isn’t the first time Fox has used these bullying tactics. Back when Fantastic Four (2015) was coming out, they abused the DMCA law to attempt to censor websites critical of the movie prior to its release.

Aquaman – Journey to Atlantis (Spoilers)

Aquaman Spoiler Policy: Aquaman isn’t out until December and the movie is so good it’ll represent the start of a new era for the DCEU with films such as Shazam and Wonder Woman 2 following. As such the movie doesn’t deserve to be completely spoiled ten months out from release. People should be able enjoy Wan’s underwater epic on the big screen without knowing everything about it prior to release. That’s why this far out I won’t be touching some of the big story reveals in the third act, and may not even do it closer to release.

That said, people have been asking for more details and while I won’t do an entire plot summary just yet, but I will be posting some details about the movie and how it plays out. Please be considerate of people who want to avoid spoilers when sharing this information on social media. Also please be aware that this information comes from an unfinished version of the movie and some of this may not make it into the final film.

Today is about what’s going on in Atlantis and how Orm and Vulko fit into things.

Following the opening of the movie, things shift to Atlantis where Orm is currently King. Nereus and Vulko are meeting with him about declaring war on the surface. Orm needs at least four of the seven kingdoms to do this, and Nereus is the King of one of them. Vulko doesn’t think war is a good idea, and Nereus is on the fence. A attack submarine attacks the meeting and launches a torpedo at them. Orm easily takes out the sub and points out that the war is already there. That attack is what won over Nereus.

Back on the surface is Mera’s first scene, which I briefly talked about last time. It’s at night outside the bar and she comes to try to convince Arthur to return to Atlantis to stop Orm (who she’s promised to wed). Arthur isn’t interested at all, makes a face at her, and drives off. Meanwhile Orm’s soldiers are meeting with Manta on the surface and pay him for setting up the submarine attack that won Nereus over to their side. Orm is orchestrating his war.

As Arthur drives with his dad in their truck, it’s hit by a huge tidal wave. This is where Mera shows up and uses her powers to create an air bubble to save Thomas’ life. That’s when Arthur starts to warm to her and realizes he doesn’t even know her name. There’s a news broadcast where people speculate about if Atlantis is real, as that tidal wave was caused by Orm in his launching of war against the surface. Arthur agrees to go back to Atlantis with Mera.

She has a sub (kind of like the “Bongo” in Star Wars Episode I) as they need it to pass through a vortex that protects Atlantis. This is important as later in the movie a different type of vortex will be encountered that protects one of the big plot elements (that I will not be discussing this far out from release). They pass through the vortex to Atlantis, which looks a lot like Ivalice from Final Fantasy XII crossed with futuristic designs from the Star Wars Prequels.

It’s in Atlantis where Arthur is reunited with his mentor, Vulko. There are flashbacks in the film of Vulko teaching Arthur how to swim, and how to fight with his trident. He teaches Arthur a move where he spins the trident over the head, telling him it’s something he’ll be able to do once he masters the weapon. It’s Vulko who reveals that Queen Atlanna was sacrificed to the creatures of The Trench, and it’s Vulko who tells Arthur what his quest will need to be in order to defeat Orm and prevent war against the surface.

What is that quest? Well, that’s for a future update…

Disney’s ‘Solo’ Character Posters Rip-Off Album Covers From 2015

Here’s something embarrassing for Disney and Lucasfilm marketing. An image is being spread around social media that pretty clearly shows that the design used for the Solo: A Star Wars Story posters is directly ripped-off from a series of album covers for collections that Sony published in 2015:

If you were thinking the same artist did both, you’d be wrong. The original artist of the album covers isn’t too happy with his designs being stolen to promote the new Star Wars movie:

Disney often will use external companies to produce their promotional material for Lucasfilm and Marvel movies. This is likely the work at someone at one of those contracted outlet, and it’s doubtful they’ll be doing any more work for Disney after this.

Aquaman – All About Mera (Spoilers)

In my last post about Aquaman where I detailed how the movie opens, I said we’d head to Atlantis next…but that will wait just a little longer as I want to answer all the questions I’ve been flooded with about Mera.

Aquaman is set after the events of Justice League, and at the start of the film Arthur and Mera aren’t yet the couple people expect them to be. In fact, Arthur doesn’t even know her name yet. When we are first introduced to Mera in the movie (that photo of her at night is from her first scene) she’s promised in marriage to Orm and wants Arthur to come back to Atlantis with her. She tells him that since he helped defeat Steppenwolf she assumes that he’d want to help take care of Orm as she doesn’t agree with his ideals and what he’s planning to do.

I’ll discus the adventure that she and Arthur go on in a later post, but through the course of the movie the two leave the sea and go on a quest very much like Indiana Jones. Actually, Romancing the Stone could be a better comparison as there is a lot of bonding between Arthur and Mera so by the time we get to the end of the movie they’re the couple that everyone expects to see. There’s a moment very late in the movie where Mera explains the plan to Arthur (he’ll handle Orm, she’ll talk to her father about what’s going on), and they kiss. Arthur is so dazed by it he asks what the plan is again.

Mera does use her powers a couple times in the movie. They don’t need the air bubbles like in Justice League to talk, but she does create one of those early in the movie to save another character from drowning from a tidal wave (more on this in the future, too), and then she uses it again during their Indiana Jones quest to solve a puzzle they face while searching for an Atlantean relic.

Fans of the Queen of Atlantis will be very happy with the Aquaman movie, as she’s in it so much she’s pretty much a co-lead. She’s very much the Marion to Arthur’s Indy in this movie.

I’ll post more on Aquaman in the future, and yes I will be talking about Atlantis and how Orm and Vulko fit into it all.

Aquaman – Two Origins (Spoilers)

Aquaman Spoiler Policy: Aquaman isn’t out until December and the movie is so good it’ll represent the start of a new era for the DCEU with films such as Shazam and Wonder Woman 2 following. As such the movie doesn’t deserve to be completely spoiled ten months out from release. People should be able enjoy Wan’s underwater epic on the big screen without knowing everything about it prior to release. That’s why this far out I won’t be touching some of the big story reveals in the third act, and may not even do it closer to release.

That said, people have been asking for more details and while I won’t do an entire plot summary just yet, but I will be posting some details about the movie and how it plays out. Please be considerate of people who want to avoid spoilers when sharing this information on social media. Also please be aware that this information comes from an unfinished version of the movie and some of this may not make it into the final film.

Today is how the movie opens.

It begins in 1985 during a thunderstorm. Thomas Curry finds Atlanna washed up on the shore, and then there’s a montage of the two falling in love and having Arthur while you hear a voice over of him talking about how his parent’s love would save the world. Then there’s a single-take action scene where Atlantean soldiers are fought off by Atlanna. Realizing they’ll come back and kill Thomas and Arthur, she returns to the sea. She tells Thomas that she’ll return someday when there’s sunset on the docks. She dives into the sea and the camera follows her past fish and it transitions to…

Arthur around age 9 on a class trip and talking to fish in an aquarium. He gets bullied for doing that, and a shark slams against the glass in response. Think of the scene in the first Harry Potter movie where Harry talks to the snake in the zoo. Everyone freaks out, but Arthur sees the shark and fish all lined up in formation and he realizes he has a power…

That’s when the Aquaman title appears.

Then we go to present day where Black Manta (not yet in the suit, of course) and his father are leading a pirate crew on a Russian submarine. His father gives him a knife used by his grandfather in World War II where he earned the nickname “Manta”.

Arthur pushes the submarine to the surface and fights his way inside. He manages to take out all of the pirate commandos and then frees the Russian sailors. He tracks down Manta and his father and they fight. Through the course of the fight a torpedo is knocked loose and traps Manta’s father as the sub begins to flood. Manta begs Arthur to save him, but he says he’s a murderer. Manta won’t leave his father, but then his father sacrifices himself with a grenade to force Manta out of the sub. On the surface Arthur is pulling the Russian sailors to safety in rafts as Manta returns to the surface very pissed off.

Arthur then meets up with his dad and go out for a drink. There’s a TV report talking about “the Aquaman” saving the Russian sailors, and some tough looking bikers approach Arthur and ask if he’s “that Fish boy”. He gets right in their faces and says “Fish guy”. They want a selfie with him, and he’s not really into it, but he does it and then ends up at the bar drinking with them.

Next time, we’ll head to Atlantis…

Rumor: A Previously Denied Character Does Appear in X-Men: Dark Phoenix

In addition to the news about the Skrulls from yesterday I do have one other piece of information about X-Men: Dark Phoenix from the same source.

For a long time it was rumored that Jessica Chastain’s character was Lilandra from the comic, and that actually sparked an official denial from her that she wasn’t playing Lilandra. However, that may have changed between that comment and the filming of the movie.

Based on the version of X-Men: Dark Phoenix that was shown to an audience in early February, her character is named Lilandra. However, there is a strong possibility that she is not a Shi’ar as in the comics. When I asked the source who she was playing, they said this:

“She is Lilandra and she has BLONDE hair in human form

Notice the “in human form”? Previously it was said she was a character named “Agent Smith” and she was a shape shifting alien. Right now it really sounds like that Lilandra is now a Skrull and the blonde haired Agent Smith is her human form.

Why the official denial earlier? Well after some digging with another separate source, it sounds like there may have multiple different versions of the script prior to filming and at that time she wasn’t Lilandra. Another possibility is that this is a red herring for the test audience and the name will be changed via ADR prior to release.

Hopefully we’ll get more hints with the first trailer, which may arrive as soon as Deadpool 2 in May.

Positive Reaction to Aquaman Brought Me Back to DC

I’ve been a fan of the DC characters all my life. I’m one of those who grew up with Donner’s Superman and Super Friends every Saturday morning. The four issues of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns were some of the first real comics I ever bought when they originally were released. And in the 90s I read both Superman and Batman very heavily. So of course I was a big fan of the DCEU…but then Justice League happened.

Oh, not the quality of the movie. In fact I re-watched both it and Thor: Ragnarok this week and I still genuinely like the DC movie more than the third Thor film.

What happened was the toxicity of the fanbase soured me on all things DC for the last three months or so. I got death threats for daring to tell people that the run time of Justice League was only two hours (which, after watching it last night again, is something I like about it). And then the whole craziness over the mythical “Snyder Cut” began.

I wasn’t looking forward to Justice League coming out on home video. I stopped reading DC comics each week. The nastiness and toxicity of the fans over a movie just poisoned DC to me for a while.

But then Warner did a test screening of an unfinished version of Aquaman, and the positive reaction coming out from that by people I trust turned things around for me. It made me hopeful that the post-Snyder era of DC movies will gradually silence the more toxic parts of the fan base and DC comics and movies will be enjoyable again.

I’ve picked up the DC issues I missed over the last couple months and am going to get caught up over the weekend and eagerly await the historic release of Action 1000 in April and then Bendis taking over Superman in May. Then we just have about ten more months until Wan’s Aquaman hits theaters…

Confirmed: Dark Phoenix Will Introduce Famous Marvel Villains Before Captain Marvel Does

Aquaman is getting all of the attention lately from the test screening that happened yesterday, but I have some news about an upcoming Marvel movie that confirms a huge rumor that’s been floating around about it.

For a long time it’s been rumored that Fox will beat Marvel to the screen with the shape-shifting aliens the Skrulls, and today I received confirmation from a long-time source that they are indeed in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This may remind comic fans of how Fox quickly replaced Juggernaut in Days of Future Past with Quicksilver to beat Marvel to the screen with that character as well.

As for the movie itself, my source says they thought it was better than Apocalypse but not as good as Days of Future Past. At this point they felt it was similar in issues to First Class. It’s also very serious with very little humor, but they said that Kinberg did a good job with it.

Spoiler-Free Aquaman Impressions

By now most people on the internet are aware that there was an Aquaman test screening yesterday as many other sites are posting how people found it to be pretty good and surprisingly emotional.

I did not attend this test screening, but a source I trust did and I’ve spent the last twelve hours or so picking their brain about the movie. While I could spoil the whole thing, I wouldn’t do that. It’s ten months away and James Wan deserves this movie to make Black Panther money, it’s that cool. So I wouldn’t spoil it like that to step on his toes.

But I will share with you some non-spoiler impressions I’ve heard and a very generic idea of what it’s about.

When DC Comics relaunched their line in 2011 with the New 52 one of the most memorable runs during that time was Geoff Johns’ Aquaman. It made Arthur a badass, and introduced cool villains such as The Trench and the Throne of Atlantis story line. December’s Aquaman movie is heavily inspired by Johns’ New 52 and contains elements from the Trench and Throne of Atlantis. So if you are familiar with the Throne of Atlantis story, you will have a good idea of what the plot is about.

So that’s basically what Aquaman is. Arthur and Mera must stop his half brother from doing something terrible and they go on a cool Indiana Jones style quest to get what they need (and it’s steeped in the ancient history of Atlantis). DC knows there are a lot of Mera fans, and she’s in the movie a lot almost always at Arthur’s side. Black Manta does appear and his costume and origin are comic-accurate, and some of the leaked stuff recently showing a familiar costume for Arthur was accurate as well. Orm was described to me as similar in motivation and methods to Loki in the MCU movies, which is a great sign as Loki is one of Marvel’s stronger villains in their films.

Behind it all is a very sweet and emotional love story between Arthur’s parents Atlanna and Thomas Curry. James Wan knows how to make fanboys cry, as seen in Furious 7 and the Paul Walker ending, and if they keep Aquaman structured the way it was in this screening people will be very happy with it and want to see more adventures of Arthur Curry. It seems like it’s much more similar in structure and tone to Wonder Woman than Justice League.

The next ten months are going to be hard to sit through as it sounds like James Wan has built on the awesome Aquaman foundation Geoff Johns did with the New 52 to make a movie that’ll finally shut up all those internet memes about the King of Atlantis.