What Was “The Aquaman Mistake” In Justice League?

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Aquaman sure is cool, right? Always has been. From the day he first debuted in 1941’s More Fun Comics issue #73, the Atlantean king has been A+ number one. All the hippest cats love him. If you saw a kid dressed as Aquaman on Halloween, you knew that he was the raddest dude around. He probably had beer, even.

Except he wasn’t, and he didn’t, and Aquaman was always sort of a drag. In the ’80s, DC tried to dress him in a sporty blue leotard in an effort to make him less lame. It took until the ’90s before someone thought to cut his arm off and let him grow a beard.

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He was still a fish guy — just a fish guy with a hook for a hand who felt a little try-hardy. You can’t get a second chance at a good first impression, and Aquaman’s first impression was, regrettably, being Aquaman.

So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that the character got a gritty reimagining before making his big-screen debut in the Snyderverse. No longer a blonde, pasty-skinned oyster nerd, he was now Jason Momoa, a man who looks like he smells like an American Eagle store. The changes didn’t stop there: Aquaman was now a hard-drinking badass.

He said lines like “My man!” and probably a couple of other ones, too. Overall, fans were pleased.

But then came Justice League, and a change that Aquaman fans (or AquaStans) couldn’t ignore.

Just put that anywhere, Aquaman

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In both the theatrical and Snyder cuts of Justice League, viewers are treated to shots of Arthur Curry slamming a bottle of hooch. It’s empirically awesome — enough to make an audience member go “man, drinking looks like a hoot.” When he’s finished his libation, however, the problems begin.

Aquaman, now bereft of brown liquor, doesn’t bother to find a recycling bin. He doesn’t wait for his neighborhood’s curbside pickup program to stop at the ocean so he can toss his bottle into the appropriate refuse receptacle on the side of the truck.

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Heck, the son-of-a-gun doesn’t even upcycle the bottle, turning it into a festive wind chime for one of the locals, or a folksy candleholder. He just throws that empty on the ground like some sort of a dang old litterbug.

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Now, breaking a bottle on the ground and letting its shattered pieces flow into the ocean where children play and fish swim around with their mouths open is all good fun for Johnny and Suzy Scofflaw, but for the historically environmentalist King of Atlantis?

Well, it’s uncharacteristic. That said, taking the long view, maybe this version of Aquaman likes to ensure that the sharks are fed by poking holes in the bottoms of people’s feet.

 

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