Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in Aquaman

Aquaman Reportedly Has Test Screenings, and First Reactions Are In

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James Wan’s Aquaman doesn’t come out until December, but in movie-time, that’s not so far away. So we believe the rumors that Aquaman recently held test screenings—cue mass speculation (ours included) over some cryptic reaction Tweets.

CinemaBlend rounded up a few of the more promising tweets, which we’re expanding on here. First off the bat, Collider’s editor-in-chief, Steven Weintraub, tweeting about a screening in the San Fernando Valley seems to confirm that at least one screening took place in California.

Anyone in the test screening audience would have had to sign away their soul and social media accounts to Warner Bros. to get in, so we’re not seeing direct reaction tweets from the audience, but rather general impressions from people who have heard from other people. It’s an Aquaman-seeing game of telephone.

“Good things” is pretty vague, because that could mean that the movie is good overall or maybe there’s just a really rad CGI shark or ten.

Then there is the summary offered by Omega Underground’s Christopher Marc:

“It’s good (not great).” This feels a bit like damning with faint praise, but again, we’re playing Aquaman-seeing telephone. One aquaperson’s “good” could be another aquaperson’s “freaking fantastic,” when it comes down to it.

Further, in his Twitter thread, Marc does say that he’s heard nothing negative, which is an excellent sign. When it’s suggested that Aquaman might be like unto Thor in quality, Marc says he’s heard it’s more Thor: The Dark World. Now, that might makes some folks cringe, because there’s a lot wrong with The Dark World, but at least aesthetically, it’s gorgeous, and a lot of us don’t hate it. (OK, now I’m the one damning with faint praise.)

But I’d like to take that evaluation as praising the Aquaman‘s visuals, and hopefully not that we’re getting a Malekith the Accursed Dark Elf-level crappy villain/plot.

Comparisons to the Thor movies might also make sense because Aquaman will introduce a whole new alien world under water, with its own rules and special powers and royal family and sprawling mythos, as Thor did in space with Asgard. Also, the main Aquaman conflict is between ideologically opposed half-brothers who have a complicated relationship, so, um, there’s that.

Geeks WorldWide EiC KC Walsh expands on the conversation above by suggesting that Aquaman is like a “phase 1 MCU film,” and that might really determine how you end up feeling about it.

Again, this is so much speculation on a lot of people’s parts, and ultimately, opinions on movies are extremely subjective when those movies aren’t complete flaming piles of trash! (Sometimes even when they are.) DC and Warner Bros. could certainly use a superhero film more on par with the goodness of Wonder Woman than whatever Justice League was, and under Wan’s energetic direction and eye-catching aesthetics, it seems as though they’re headed in a more inventive and light-hearted direction.

I emerge from this game of Aquaman-test-screening-seeing telephone feeling reassured that the movie in its unfinished form is not terrible, which is enough for me right now. There’s room for changes to be made by December if they’re necessary, and ultimately, this is a thing I’m going to see to witness Arthur Curry be badass and watch some freakin’ sea creatures be ridden into war by Atlanteans. I’m not expecting or wanting Shakespeare, but I’m hoping that it will at least be fun.

(via CinemaBlend, image: Warner Bros.)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.