Like the DC superhero himself, Aquaman’s orange-and-green suit has long been the butt of jokes, dating back to at least his role on the Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon. Over the decades, comic book creators have frequently attempted, with mixed success, to change the character's appearance to make him more outwardly intimidating. However, he inevitably returns to some version of that original costume. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see director James Wan's Aquaman embrace the colorful look of not only Atlantis, but of the sea king himself. That comes to the forefront with the live-action debut of the classic costume, which transforms the orange and green into apparent royal regalia.
The more than five minutes of new film footage fleshes out much of the story of the plot, and gives fans their first real looks at Black Manta and Aquaman in action. The son of an Atlantean queen and a lighthouse caretaker, Arthur Curry must travel the world, and venture into the ocean's depths, to try and save both worlds.
Part of the footage picks up with Mera leading Arthur through the Sahara, in search of an ancient device hidden beneath centuries' worth of sand. Using a key, and some sweat from Arthur’s brow, to power the machine, Mera activates a mystical hologram of ancient Atlantean King Atlan, who explains the power inherent in his trident. It apparently possesses the capacity to save or destroy the world. But it seems like it’s more than just an emblem or a weapon: Within it resides the power of Atlantis.
In a series of flashbacks to the ancient kingdom, Atlan is depicted wearing a crown, orange ceremonial armor, with green gloves and a green, flowing cape. While other Atlantean soldiers are shown in much more subdued typical armor, the king is shown in this royal variant, both in battle and in peace.
By the end of the trailer, Curry has donned his own version of the armor, absent the crown, cape and pseudo-medieval flourishes. "Atlantis has always had a king," Mera says in voiceover. "Now it needs something more." "But what could be greater than a king?" Arthur asks, which she responds, "A hero."
The orange-and-green armor is obviously something intended only meant to be worn by royalty, signifying Arthur’s arc in the film. Unsure if he can fully embrace his heritage, and his destiny, it seems like Arthur finally finding it in himself to wear the ceremonial garb will be one of the emotional peaks of Aquaman.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, and Dolph Lundgren as Nereus. The film opens Dec. 21.