‘Aquaman’ Sneak Peek Has Shark Riders, a Perfect Black Manta, and Much More

Drew Dietsch
Movies DC
Movies DC

Aquaman has been a mystery to a lot of fans. Not just because we’ve seen very little of the film, but because many people don’t get how Aquaman could provide a cinematic experience on par with other superheroes. Well, Warner Bros. wasted no time showing off an early concept trailer with loads of footage at CinemaCon. And the result?

Aquaman looks badass.

Fully Embracing the Concept

aquaman sharks
This happens in the movie but in an even cooler way.

Director James Wan has pulled out all the stops when it comes to representing an Atlantean society. We saw the vast underwater cityscape, a Colosseum where Aquaman’s brother, Orm the Ocean Master, refutes his brother’s claim to the throne. We even got a preview of their eventual battle in a gladiatorial space that felt utterly science fiction.

But, the biggest parts of the preview trailer — which was comprised of animated concept art/storyboards and unfinished CG — were the showstopping beats. We saw Aquaman lift an entire submarine out of the water and hold it above his head. It was pretty damn awesome.

We also saw a gigantic army fighting underwater. And what were those soldiers riding? Sharks. Armored sharks. Sorry, but those top the armored rhinos in Black Panther. There were also some riders who sat atop some prehistoric looking creatures. There was a segment where Aquaman sank to the dark depths of the ocean, so we might be seeing some practically alien creatures make their way into the film.

However, the biggest gasp from fans came from the first look at Black Manta.

A Perfectly Realized Comic Book Villain

aquaman black manta
This is very close to what Black Manta looks like in the film (from 'Injustice 2').

One of the toughest things about adapting comic book characters is translating their often impractical and cartoonish costume designs into something that looks and feels believable. This has been one of the worries about Black Manta. His costume features a giant helmet with two glowing red eyes on it. The potential for it to look silly is high.

Nope! We caught a brief glimpse of Black Manta in all his glory. The camera panned from the floor up to Black Manta kneeling and then standing. And those big glowing eyes and helmet jumped straight off the comic book page. Even though the effects weren’t totally finished on his look, it was still enough to take the audience’s breath away. Black Manta looks exactly like he should. It’s a genuinely praiseworthy piece of the film that we can’t wait to see fully fleshed out.

It’s clear that Warner Bros. isn’t skimping on scale when it comes to Aquaman. The footage we saw — which is definitely a rough cut of the first trailer — is grandiose, full of character, and showcases that Aquaman is definitely a hero worthy of a big budget blockbuster film.

Aquaman opens in theaters on December 21 in the US and UK and December 26 in Australia.

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