Warner Bros. and DC have released a teaser for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Well, they call it a teaser, but it’s really one of those trailers for the trailer; it straight-up advertises the trailer instead of the film upfront, although a release date does appear at the end. The latest likely-bomb from DC, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom finds the aquatic superhero up against Black Manta,who wants revenge against Aquaman for his father’s death. Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, and Temeura Morrison return from 2018’s Aquaman, as does director James Wan. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will arrive in theaters on September 20, 2023, and you can see the new teaser below:
I think Warner Bros. is very worried about this movie. Trailers for trailers are common now, but they usually get released the day before the full trailer, not four days before it. They’re trying to build hype, to make Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom look epic, like a must-see event that’s so important the trailer needs to be heralded several days in advance. A lot of people are blaming Amber Heard for this, and while I’m sure she’s not helping (and, if you’ll notice, she’s nowhere in this teaser), I think the much bigger problems are the waning interest in the DCEU and superhero movies in general. Most people seem checked out of the DC movies at this point, probably because they know a reboot is coming. Aquaman was a huge hit, but you don’t hear about it much anymore, and this one mostly seems like a punchline.
That being said, the visuals do look great, as they did in the first one. I like that mechanical octopus vehicle and the various sea creatures. It’s a smart move to highlight this aspect of the movie; their best bet at this point is to sell the spectacle so it feels like a singular experience people will want to have at the movies. “Okay, it doesn’t count anymore in the grand scheme, but it’s a gorgeous, larger-than-life fantasy adventure movie that you’ll have a lot of fun watching with your friends.” This is probably how movies should be sold in general; instead of playing up how important it is to an overarching story, make the film feel like a must-see story in its own right. That’s especially true of DC now that they’re in this holding pattern till Superman: Legacy hits. (This is entirely of their own making, but what’s done is done.) Go one by one and give audiences a good time, and maybe you’ll build enough trust for the brand to matter. Then, avoid pulling a Marvel and throwing your hard-earned reputation in the garbage.