The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating life on the silver screen. Grown from the success of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, the live-action universe has had plenty of peaks and valleys as it attempted to compete with the MCU. The shared universe as a whole appeared in jeopardy after the lackluster reception and box office performance of Justice League. As such, the pressure was on for James Wan to deliver with the underwater adventure Aquaman.
Luckily, the acclaimed horror director has done just that. Aquaman arrived just in time for the holiday box office, and has been cleaning up money-wise thus far. And aside from making more money than Justice League and even Wonder Woman, James Wan's Aquaman also brought DC its second critical success. Superman actor Henry Cavill is one of the film's many fans, and posted a perfect tribute to the project on Instagram. Check it out.
It's like looking at another Aquaman movie, no? It's just got a slightly smaller budget and a different Justice League member taking center stage.
The above image is sure to tickle the countless DC fans out there. Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry and his trident have been been front and center of Aquaman's marketing, so it's awesome to see another DC actor poking fun at the franchise. Especially when it comes with such sweet and supportive words for his former co-star.
Alongside Henry Cavill's funny Instagram post, he shared his thoughts on the Aquaman movie, and sent his congratulations to those involved in the DC blockbuster, saying:
Despite being a busy man in the world of filmmaking, Henry Cavill did make a point to go and see DC's latest blockbuster. Like the critic and cinephiles alike, it seems Cavill was tickled pink with the work done in Arthur Curry's solo movie, and he's all too happy to sing the movie's praises. As long as he gets to include a silly photo and puny caption, that is.
Alongside his caption, Henry Cavill tagged both Jason Momoa and director James Wan, in hopes that they see his thoughts about their work. The pressure to deliver with Aquaman was sky high, and that's something that Cavill has likely grown accustomed to in the past few years. The 35-year old actor had big shoes to fill, given the iconography of the Man of Steel. And he's also seen how expectations have crumbled down with projects like Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. At least he didn't become a meme like Ben Affleck, though.
Henry Cavill's feelings toward Aquaman carry extra weight considering how unclear his status in the DC Universe. After the lackluster critical and box office performance of Justice League, DC once again went back to the drawing board and began restructuring its future slate of movies. As such, it was unclear if there would be a second Justice League movie, a Man of Steel follow-up, or if the Flashpoint movie would come to fruition.
Things got even more complicated months ago when rumors indicated that Henry Cavill had officially left his role as Clark Kent/Superman in the DC live-action universe. It was a report that concerned and disappointed the fandom, as Cavill's character has always been at the center of the shared universe. The actor even responded to this news cryptically, posting a strange video with his own action figure and wearing a Superman t-shirt.
Alas, there haven't been any concrete reports of Henry Cavill or Ben Affleck actually departing their roles. Warner Bros. responded to the Cavill rumors as well, claiming to still have a good working relationship with the actor, but revealing there were currently no plans for a second Superman solo movie. But with DC on the upswing with Aquaman, and Henry Cavill loving the movie himself, could he end up sticking around?
While DC's plans for Superman are still a mystery, the shared universe does have a handful of highly anticipated releases ahead. Aquaman breathed fresh air (or water, as it may be) into the shared universe, so moviegoing audience might be more keen to show up for the next few movies. They'll each provide something unique to the franchise, as James Wan's movie brought a colorful, fun, and surprisingly Shakespearean underwater adventure to theaters.
After Warner Bros. has finished cashing the checks for Aquaman's box office success, the DC live-action universe will move forward with David F. Sandberg's Shazam! The upcoming blockbuster will break new ground by focusing on the children of a superhero world, and focus heavily on naivety and comedy. It'll be in stark juxtaposition with Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which is reportedly aiming for a hard R-rating, and will focus on mob drama in Gotham City. Wonder Woman 1984 also has a release date, so there's certainly time for Warner Bros. to decide what it's doing with Superman.
For now, the studio is likely celebrating Aquaman's success. While DC characters are some of the most iconic figures in comic book history, the live-action universe has had its share of peaks and valleys. While Wonder Woman was a massive success, there have been a handful of low points, as well as some projects in the middle. Fans took umbrage with the darkness of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League was a frankenstein film due to its dual directors. And while Suicide Squad made money and even earned an Oscar win, even director David Ayer understands where things failed.
Aquaman is in theaters now, and making a ton of money at the box office. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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