AQUAMAN Director James Wan Addresses An Apparent JUSTICE LEAGUE Plot Hole In The Solo Movie

AQUAMAN Director James Wan Addresses An Apparent JUSTICE LEAGUE Plot Hole In The Solo Movie

Since Aquaman was released, many fans have argued that Arthur Curry's first trip to Atlantis actually took place in Justice League. Now, director James Wan has finally cleared things up. Take a look...

In Justice League, Arthur Curry met Mera in what many fans assumed was Atlantis as he sought to protect the Mother Box from Steppenwolf. In Aquaman, however, the hero travelled to his home for the first time and was blown away by what he saw and that's led to a lot of people arguing that James Wan dropped the ball as there must have been some miscommunication with Zack Snyder.

Well, that's not actually the case as Wan has now explained this "plot hole" by pointing out that the location we saw in Justice League wasn't actually Atlantis and was, in fact, an outpost. 

"It wasn’t Atlantis. I spoke with Zack [Snyder, director of Justice League,] early on, and Zack mentioned that the location that Aquaman swims to in Justice League is an outpost. So when he told me that was his idea, I was like, 'Oh great, then I can actually have Arthur go to Atlantis for the first time.' That’s very important for me, because he can go into it and have a wide-eyed approach to Atlantis and be in awe of it. I think that’s very important from a storytelling standpoint because the audience gets to experience Atlantis for the first time along with the character."

Honestly, that explanation makes perfect sense and it sounds like Snyder and Wan found a good way to handle Arthur's first meeting with Mera in the superhero ensemble without spoiling the character's solo adventure. Some believe that the conversation between the two was reshot by Joss Whedon (which is why they were in that weird bubble) but we don't know that for sure.

Do you find this explanation satisfying? As always, share your thoughts in the usual place. 

For a recap of all the ways Aquaman sets up
the DCEU's future, hit the "View List" button below!

Black Manta's Unexpected Ally

After an epic battle in Italy, Black Manta is defeated by Arthur Curry and seemingly left for dead after falling down a cliff and into the ocean. During a mid-credits scene, however, Manta is found floating at sea by Dr. Shin, a scientist whose theories about Atlantis are widely mocked by his peers. 

Waking up in his shoddy looking labratory, Manta tells Shin that he will help him prove that Atlantis is real so long as he helps him find Aquaman and put an end to him once and for all. 

In the comics, Shin turned on Arthur after he refused to tell him where Atlantis was as a youth but this version clearly just wants to prove that his theories are correct and has no emotional connection to the hero whatsoever. That sets the stage for these two to potentially be the lead villains in the follow-up when it's inevitably announced by Warner Bros. 


Romance For Arthur And Mera

Aquaman is a busy movie so there's not really a lot of time to focus on the romance between Arthur and Mera. They have only just met, to be fair (the events of Justice League are referenced but he doesn't learn her name until they cross paths again here). 

There are plenty of hints, though, and it's during the final battle that they finally lock lips! 

Now, it seems inevitable that by the time we see them again, Arthur and Mera will be an item. She starts the movie betrothed to Orm but with a new King of Atlantis now in charge, something tells me that her father King Nereus won't have any problem with his daughter marrying the "half-breed" (then again, it's easy enough to imagine that causing some conflict).


The New King Of Atlantis

At the end of Aquaman, Arthur has been declared the new King of Atlantis and everyone seems to be on board with him bringing peace to the various undersea nations after Orm started a war.

However, once that moment passes, it's easy to imagine the former surface dweller struggling with his newfound role; as I mentioned above, he's viewed as a "half-breed" and isn't aware of the customs of his people and this is something I expect to be explored in the follow-up.

Then again, as he's proven himself as the one true, worthy King after wielding Atlan's trident and commanding the oceans, that transition might actually be rather seamless for the hero. 


Redemption For Orm?

The movie does the unexpected during the final battle between Aquaman and Orm; rather than kill the villain, he's left alive and finds forgiveness in the eyes of both his mother and brother (to some extent, at least). Arthur even tells him that he'll be there to talk when he's ready and that's no doubt an indication that there's still more story to tell with "Ocean Master."

It's hard to say what that could be but it would be very disappointing if Orm were to return to his villainous ways in the sequel, especially as he and Arthur have often been reluctant allies. 

The thing about Orm is that his reasons for wanting to attack the surface were valid...he just went about it in a bad way! With that in mind, he could be a powerful new ally to his brother and King.


Atlanna Returns To Atlantis

After being rescued by Arthur, Atlanna is finally able to return to Tom Curry on the surface world and they share an embrace. 

Before that, she makes herself known to the people of Atlantis and there are bound to be those who want to see their Queen either receive the punishment they once agreed she deserved or return to her old home on a permanent basis. The problem is, Aquaman never actually tells us what the underwater nation's people thought of Atlanna or her fate.

Now she's back among the living, though, she's bound to play a role in proceedings even if it's as a go-between between her two sons. The stage is set for her to play a key role in the sequel, that's for sure.


"The Aquaman"

Aquaman makes it clear that the world knows about the metahuman known as "The Aquaman" and Arthur is something of a celebrity as a result, hence why he's asked for a selfie at one point!

However, unless the plan is to keep Atlantis a secret (something
Dr. Shin wants to change), the hero will have to make himself fully known to the world as that nation's King, just like his comic book counterpart before him. That will change the character's dynamic in a big way but that would be no bad thing and it would be great to see more of him on land.

Yes, the appeal of a movie like this is to head to Atlantis but bringing Atlantis to the surface is just as exciting and my biggest issue with the movie (if you really want to call it that) is never getting to see Orm make himself known to surface dwellers beyond that initial tidal wave which is dismissed as a natural phenomenon.


Uneasy Alliances

Orm brings the different undersea nations together through manipulation and fear but by the time the movie ends, everyone is united behind their new King...right? 

Well, King Nereus clearly cares most about what's right for Xebel, while the Fishermen and the Brine seemed happy by themselves before being dragged into this war. The Trench, meanwhile, are under Arthur's control in the final battle, but what comes after that? We never find out.

The point is, it's easy enough to imagine Aquaman continuing to explore these undersea nations and touching on the tension between them as they get used to having Arthur in charge. 


Will Murk Return?

The last time we see Murk, he's had his hand chopped off by Mera and was forced to dunk his head in a toilet in order to avoid suffocating on the surface. As we never see him die, common sense says he could return and as someone who is fiercely loyal to Orm, and may ultimately be involved with helping the villain escape. Then again, it's just as likely that he'll end up helping Black Manta! 

The Power Of The Trident

Even before he winds up getting Atlan's trident, Arthur shows that he's able to communicate with fish (not talk to them). However, by the time the movie ends, the trident has given him command over every creature in the sea and those powers are bound to develop.

It could be as simple as the hero simply being able to use sharks and various undersea creatures as a "weapon" in future battles but something tells me that there could be more abilities the trident which are yet to be uncovered (especially as the movie makes a point of highlighting how ancient and powerful it is, not dissimilar to Mjolnir in the MCU).

Whatever happens, we're going to be seeing much more of Aquaman's trident in action...


What About The Justice League?

What about them? 

While Mera mentions that Aquaman helped stop Steppenwolf's invasion, it doesn't sound like he's seen the rest of the League since then as his father is surprised that he's back to doing the whole hero thing when he rescues the submarine Black Manta boarded.

So, Arthur clearly hasn't been off saving the world with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman! With no teases of any sort of reunion, Aquaman doesn't set the stage for the Legion of Doom or any sort of sequel featuring the team of superheroes.

However, when they do meet up with Arthur again, he'll have a whole new status quo!

ICYMI, Here's A Look At The Good And Bad Things In Aquaman!

The Good

Aquaman Vs. Orm

This gladiator battle has been teased in the trailers for the movie but those barely scratch the surface and the actual fight between the two brothers is both packed full of emotion and a thrilling ride from start to finish. With Arthur Curry out of his comfort zone, Orm has the edge when it comes to fighting underwater and that just makes things all the more exciting.

Some will argue that throwing in the crowd responses makes it feel a little less serious, but Thor: Ragnarok did the exact same thing and it's handled in a way here that actually enhances the action. 

While the ending is a tad underwhelming, it's also necessary for the story and a great way to set up the final fight between the two which we'll cover in more detail a little later on in this post. 


Black Manta's Origin Story

We've heard a lot about this being an origin story for Black Manta and while it initially sounded like he wouldn't receive anywhere near as much screentime as he probably should, what we actually get is a satisfying story arc for him which should continue paying off moving forward. 

Arthur's decision to let Manta's father die at the start of the movie is what puts him on an even worse path than the one he was already on, while the way the costume is created both makes sense and actually works really well. The subsequent fight between Manta and both Aquaman and Mera is also incredible, and quite possibly one of the best action scenes to grace a superhero movie.


The Trench

James Wan promised that he would bring his horror background to the table in Aquaman and he wasn't kidding! While it's all strictly PG-13, Arthur and Mera being surrounded by the Trench on a boat out at sea is still terrifying and there are plenty of jump scares. 

The fact that they can only hold them off with flares (which, as you'll probably already know, don't last forever) just emphasises that, and you will be on the edge of your seat as the two heroes are pursued by thousands of these monsters through the depths. 

It's a terrific sequence and one which definitely does these villains justice. Once again, say what you will about the rest of the movie, but it's a scene which is right up there with Spider-Man battling Doctor Octopus across that train for me as being truly memorable.


Meet Aquaman

In order to gain Atlan's trident, Arthur is forced to prove he's worthy and must do so after confronting a giant sea creature voiced by Julie Andrews of all people. As bizarre as that sounds (and make no mistake about it, it's more than a little cheesy in places), it works really well and the moment the hero emerges from the waterfall decked out in the armour...well, it's bound to give you chills.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Warner Bros. spoiled that in the trailers!" Yes, they did, but there's more to it than what we saw there and while it probably shouldn't have been shown at all beforehand, I'm still pretty sure it's a moment which comic book fans will love.


The Final Battle

Another sequence heavily featured in marketing materials for the movie, I really didn't expect to be wowed by this when it felt like we'd already seen pretty much all of the biggest and best moments.

Thankfully, the studio did decide to hold quite a bit back and while it may be extremely heavy on CGI, it works wonderfully and dodgy effects are never actually an issue (there are moments throughout the movie where they are but that was to be expected and I'd rather the swimming look awkward here and there than a sequence like this be ruined by Green Lantern quality effects).

I think it helps that this fight is telling a story with real emotional stakes and I cannot wait to watch it again and again. 


Orm's Defeat

Now, in 99% of superhero movies, Orm would have been killed by Aquaman and that would have been the end of that. Thankfully, Aquaman bucks a trend by not only leaving the self-proclaimed Ocean Master alive but leaving the door open to possible redemption.

Arthur tells him that when he's ready, he'll happily talk to him and it's clear now that the two brothers could end up repairing their relationship - to some extent, at least.

Taking that aside, though, and the fight between these two (which takes place above the surface) is nothing short of epic and definitely one which takes full advantage of both Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson's respective acting skills. The parallels with their first fight are also clear and a nice touch which does a great job of wrapping the movie up in a satisfying manner.


Mid-Credits Scene Tease

Earlier in the movie, Black Manta is defeated and sent rocketing over the side of a cliff. He's dead, right? Nope. During the mid-credits scene, the villain is found floating on debris out at sea and then wakes up in the care of Dr. Shin, a slightly unhinged scientist whose claims that Atlantis is real are still being scoffed at by the media. 

Manta promises to help Shin prove that Atlantis exists in exchange for the scientist helping him find Aquaman. He clearly has revenge on his mind and this is a great tease for a possible sequel.


The Bad


These scenes aren't terrible by any means but they're probably the most disappointing thing about Aquaman.

Nicole Kidman's goofy reaction to waking up on the surface worked better when Thor did it back in 2011, while the young Arthur talking to fish for the first time comes across a little silly. 

Vulko's training is also a bit hit and miss (mostly because the actor playing Arthur isn't the best) and I'm not sure how necessary these flashbacks were. If anything, they're a distraction!


Throwaway Justice League Mention

Yes, Aquaman is very much a standalone movie and that means DC Extended Universe Easter Eggs are few and far between. In fact, there's a grand total of one, and that comes when Mera mentions that Arthur was able to defeat Steppenwolf.

Beyond that, we learn nothing about the current status of the Justice League or the world at large and that's bound to disappoint a lot of comic book fans. 


An Unexpected (Expected?) Return

During the final act after Arthur and Mera escape the trench, they enter a hidden land full of dinosaurs and, well, the whole thing is a bit daft if I'm being honest! So too is the somewhat predictable return of Nicole Kidman as Atlanna.

It turns out that she's been stuck there for over twenty years and she's decked out in a costume almost as silly as the one Janet Van Dyne had in Ant-Man and The Wasp!

Atlanna's return helps create a happy ending for a number of characters so I can see why it was included. Ultimately, though, I don't think the movie would have suffered too much without her! In the grand scheme of things, these are all fairly minor complains and Aquaman is a damn good time. 

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