Warner Bros.’ teases and manufactured hype came to a head today when the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailer was unleashed. A sequel to 2018’s Aquaman, which was the biggest box office hit of the DCEU, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom finds Aquaman balancing life as a family man and the King of Atlantis, but when Black Manta returns seeking a McGuffin called the Black Trident, he must team up with his brother Orm to save both of his worlds. Jason Momoa, Amber Heard (no matter how much they try to hide her), Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II return from the first film, as does director James Wan. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will arrive in theaters on December 20, 2023, and you can see the trailer below:
They sure did hide Amber Heard as much as they could without simply leaving her out of the trailer; she’s in one shot, obscured behind a submerged porthole she’s punching through, and you’d have to know it was her to realize it. It’s amusing that this was what people were most looking for in the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom trailer. Aside from Mera’s marginalization, it’s a good trailer. The visuals are excellent, as they were in the first Aquaman, and there’s a great sense of adventure and fun. Black Manta is said to be “stronger than before,” which he has to be because they had Aquaman defeat him last time, which was a mistake (although it was also the best scene in the movie; go figure). But he was incredibly well-realized in his jump to cinema, and they can do a lot with him as the central villain. There are some interesting ideas presented in the trailer, like Aquaman being both a regular dad and underwater royalty, and teaming up with Orm to fight Black Manta. How this all pans out is the question; the first one had great ideas and visuals, too, but it was only okay. It’d be nice if this one were better, but I’m not sold, and since the DCEU is on its way out and nobody seems to care anymore, I wonder if this will feel like an afterthought.