A particularly compelling theory suggests that Aquaman is actually secretly a villain in the DCEU, and he does just that by looking at the character’s history from a different perspective. First introduced to the franchise via a cameo in batman versus superman: Dawn of Justice, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman became one of the founding members of the DCEU’s Justice League. Canonically, his first solo outing comes after the events of Justice Leagueand this is where the character was finally explored in depth.
Despite mixed reviews, Aquaman was a box office success, proving the character can hold his own among the likes of Superman and Batman when it comes to directing his own movies. Aquaman boasted multiple underwater fight scenes, multiple A-list stars, and a satisfying origin story for the titular character. Raised as a human and having spent most of his life ignoring his Atlantean heritage, Arthur returns to Atlantis to prevent his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), from becoming Ocean Master and declaring war on the surface. . Predictably, Aquaman succeeds in his mission by becoming King of Atlantis himself, serving as a bridge between the surface world and the underwater realms.
A Theory (via Reddit) actually suggests that Aquaman is not a hero at all but a ruthless tyrant. While the idea of Aquaman as a tyrant isn’t entirely original, there are specific details in Aquaman that highlight his true nature. Not only did he establish his rule through fear, but he proved to be willfully ignorant of Atlantean tradition. Additionally, his treatment of his own half-brother and his occasional murder of his future subjects further point to a slew of villains in the DCEU character, leading to the theory that he may not be. – not be the hero he seems.
Aquaman’s motives were no different from Orm’s.
One of the most important pieces of evidence supporting the theory is found in the film’s subtext. Arthur Curry repeatedly acts with little regard for the traditions and customs of Atlantis, even when trying to dethrone its monarch. Instead of trying to understand the situation better, he simply opposes Orm without thinking about how to take over Atlantis in Aquaman could destabilize his society. Simply put, Arthur acts out of emotion without regard to the consequences.
This makes him essentially identical to Orm, whose fear and distrust of the surface world drives him to wage war against humanity. Neither man has given much thought to how their actions will affect others and are simply acting to protect their respective domains. In this respect, Arthur Curry’s motivations are almost identical to those of Aquamanis the bad guy. While this alone isn’t enough to fully vouch for the theory’s plausibility, it does underscore that Aquaman’s status as a hero or villain in Aquaman is entirely a matter of perspective.
Aquaman became king through fear
In the film’s third act, Aquaman takes on King Atlan’s armor and retrieves his lost trident. Afterwards, he orders the Karathen to aid him, and he returns to confront Orm and his amassed forces. However, at this point in the film, Orm’s forces combine the power of three separate kingdoms and are in the process of engaging a fourth in battle. Arthur and the Karathen (which is under his control) devastated the battlefield, killing soldiers on both sides of the conflict before confronting Orm directly. After defeating his half-brother in battle, Arthur is declared King of Atlantis.
However, these events don’t read as well when Arthur is seen through a more neutral lens. Aquaman’s DCEU story is one that sees him characterized by the fear he inspires in his own subjects, something that is perpetuated by his own behavior in Aquaman. From the perspective of an average Atlantean, an outsider arrives with a somewhat tenuous claim to the throne, narrowly escapes a failed attempt to dethrone the current king, and then returns with a colossal mythical monster and the vestments of a former ruler. . Plus, he’s doing all of this simply to protect his own people – the same people who poisoned both the sea and the planet – and not out of genuine love for Atlantis. For the average citizen forced to live under Arthur’s reign, the DCEU’s Aquaman must be a pretty terrifying figure.
Atlanna subtly reinforces Arthur’s villainous tendencies
One character potentially to blame for Arthur’s streak of villains is his mother, Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). Through her own actions, she not only plants the seeds of her questionable morals regarding all things Atlantis, but reinforces them once the pair reconnect. Atlanna’s violation of tradition is what ultimately led to Arthur’s birth in the first place. By instilling no respect for Atlantis in her young son, and then disappearing from his life altogether, she inadvertently creates a superpowered persona with a strong distrust of her own ancestral homeland.
However, it’s later in the film that Atlanna really cements Arthur’s villainous turn. Upon meeting him again, she immediately tells him that he is destined to be king, though he knows nothing of the man he has become. After defeating Orm, she then allows herself to be used to subdue the overthrown monarch, allowing Arthur to further manipulate his half-brother. This gives Aquamanends a dark but subtle twist, as Arthur uses his brother’s emotions for their mother as a way to control the only man who can effectively challenge him for the throne of Atlantis.
Other Ways Aquaman Could Be Considered a DCEU Villain
The theory’s interesting take on Aquaman might be mostly based on his story in his first solo movie, but it’s partly backed up by his characterization in other DCEU films. His role in Justice League is relatively minimal (compared to the other heroes), but has been shown to not take his role as one of Earth’s most powerful metahumans particularly seriously. This in itself is a trait that could prove dangerous, as he is not shown to accept full responsibility for his powers, and Aquaman shows this escalating to the point where he could be considered a villain. There’s even a hint of this early in the film when Arthur refuses to save Black Manta and his father, a mistake that results in the creation of the iconic villain.
Unlike other DCEU heroes, Aquaman doesn’t take his powers particularly seriously. Even Flash, the Justice League’s resident comic book character, is seriously considering how to balance his heroism with his daily life, but Momoa’s Aquaman is a generally carefree man who lives without being burdened with the responsibility of his inherited power. . It’s something that even sitting on the throne doesn’t seem to change. On the contrary, unleashing one’s true potential seems to be something that stimulates Aquaman act even more like a villain.
More: All 19 DC Movies Released After The Batman
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