James Wan has been given Aquaman and Robotech. Oh boy.
Could James Wan actually change what we think about big genre movies? Maybe, maybe not. But he might change how we think about Aquaman and giant robots in pop culture.
Before Mad Max introduced the world to wild stunts on cars and badass women, Furious 7 showed the world wild stunts on cars and badass women. James Wan’s direction of the film elevated what would have been another typical Hollywood movie into a master class in precise, action filmmaking. It was a boy genius being given a fully-equipped lab to go nuts.
This is what makes James Wan an excellent choice to helm these projects. For starters, I’m already stoked about Aquaman because the casting directors made the smartest move in the history of comic book casting: Jason Mamoa. Besides being an actual savage, Mamoa is a proud Pacific Islander. What other cultures are so attached to the ocean than they? This is why people made fun of Aquaman: He looked like a rich preppy guy from Connecticut that had one trip to the Caribbean and suddenly thinks he’s cultured. Tapping into the Greek roots of Atlantis just couldn’t work in the modern eye.
But Wan had nothing to do with that. It’s just one reason to pay attention to Aquaman, because let’s acknowledge it: It’s the toughest superhero movie Warner Bros. has to make. Aquaman has had the worst PR team while somehow a psychopath in a bat costume is world-renowned. But under Wan’s eye, Aquaman might single-handedly change the paradigm.
Just try to imagine what an ocean dweller who could summon sharks and whales could look like if it was directed like this:
I’m glad Warner Bros. acknowledges this, and they’ve made two of the smartest decisions they could ever make. While the Justice League movie is awkwardly coming together, at least there’s Aquaman to look forward to.
Then there’s Robotech.
There’s the obvious out of the way: It’s vehicular warfare. Recruiting a director who just sold the world on cars going boom is a no-brainer.
But remember, this isn’t just any director of the Fast series. It’s Wan. This is the guy who masterfully showed off a car jumping in between Abu Dhabi. If Wan can bring that sensibility into a scale as big as Robotech, it could actually change what we think about giant robot movies. I’m sick of people always bringing up Transformers as you are — it’s because of that narrative that people domestically didn’t really dig the modern masterpiece Pacific Rim.
Not to ride Wan’s dick too much, but I’m a legitimate fan of his vision and his helming over Aquaman and Robotech could be actual paradigm shifters in pop culture. We may no longer scoff at Aquaman or think giant robots are dumb movies.
We might actually think they’re pretty cool.