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The Aquaman 2 Trailer Makes The Justice Leaguer's Goofiest Trick Undeniably Cool

"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" has finally released some footage, and one scene immediately captured viewers' attention: in the 15-second teaser video, Aquaman is seen riding a giant seahorse, and the moment is absolutely epic. While the scene is reminiscent of some of the silliest moments from Aquaman's adventures in the 1970s "Superfriends" cartoon, here the unusual steed looks undeniably badass , showing that the Jason Momoa-starring film will embrace the Justice Leaguer's goofiest comic book history just like the first movie did.

"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is the last film slated to be based in the DC Extended Universe. Ever since James Gunn and Peter Safran were brought on as architects of the new DC Universe, the remaining superhero flicks from Warner Bros.' old slate have drastically underperformed at the box office as audiences have had trouble connecting to stories that ultimately won't mean much, if anything, in the cinematic universe's reboot. "Shazam: Fury of the Gods," "The Flash," and "Blue Beetle" all underwhelmed at the box office, and James Wan's "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," the sequel to his 2017 "Aquaman," is the only film yet to be released. After many delays, reports of several significant changes to the script, and the belief Warner Bros. wasn't going to market the film as it was viewed as dead upon arrival, the teaser trailer reminded viewers why the first film was such a hit: It isn't afraid to embrace its ridiculous source material.

Riding a seahorse made Aquaman a joke

Aquaman has long been the butt of jokes from even the most diehard comic fans, largely thanks to his portrayal in the "Superfriends" television series. In the show, Aquaman regularly rode on a giant seahorse while also using other sea creatures as forms of transportation. This was ripped from the comics, as Aquaman rode a giant seahorse in some of his earliest DC Comics adventures in the mid-1960s, where his seahorse, Storm, was telepathically connected to Aquaman, who controlled his giant-sized friend.

Over the years, the relationship between Aquaman and his seahorse has been the focus of multiple parodies; most notably, the animated television series "Robot Chicken" has taken several shots at Aquaman and his silliest aspects, including his connection to sea creatures. The hero riding on his giant seahorse has also become the subject of numerous internet memes and has been used to discredit the potential of a serious and heroic interpretation of Aquaman. For a long time, he was considered a joke character whose place in the Justice League among more powerful and serious heroes such as Superman and Batman was often questioned by readers.

Since the 1980s, DC Comics has made several design changes to Arthur Curry to try to make him more serious. Between multiple costume changes, cutting off his hand and replacing it with a hook, and giving him long hair and a beard, there have been several concerted efforts to update the hero and abandon his sillier history. However, perhaps the best approach to modernizing the character has come from director James Wan, who shows once again in the "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" teaser that Momoa's superhero can be cool while embracing what originally made him a punchline.

Aquaman works because it's not afraid to embrace its silliest aspects

Yes,  Jason Momoa's Aquaman is cooler than pretty much any version of the character preceding him, as the hard-drinking, muscle-bound hero draws inspiration from DC Comics' New 52 reboot of the ruler of Atlantis. However, James Wan's first "Aquaman" movie was a box office hit partly because it was unafraid to embrace and make some of his silliest aspects cooler than ever before. The film featured all kinds of goofy moments, including a drum-playing octopus, numerous fish and non-human creatures, Drago riding a seahorse (played entirely straight), and even Aquaman riding a sea dragon. That levity allowed Wan and Jason Momoa to make more changes to the character, including his look and personality, creating a much-needed balance between campy and serious that any Aquaman project should have.

It looks like Wan and Jason Momoa are leaning even harder into some of the sillier moments from Aquaman's history in "Lost Kingdom," and seeing the hero ride on a giant seahorse while extending his trident is precisely the kind of thing that makes the character great. Aquaman can always be treated more seriously, but forgetting his silly roots in the comics and animated projects from the 1960s and '70s would be a huge mistake. By embracing his entire history, the new installment of "Aquaman" could break the curse of DC's movies flopping in the wake of James Gunn's takeover. At the very least, Momoa and Wan will go out knowing they did an outstanding job bringing all aspects of the hero to life.

DC fans can see Aquaman ride a giant seahorse in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," in theaters December 20, 2023.