David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote the screenplay for the James Wan-directed superhero movie, told Variety that he's excited about the arrival of Aquaman because he can take his children to see it.
"This is my first movie that my kids can watch and I want to take them,” said Johnson-McGoldrick, who also co-wrote Wan's decidedly less kid-friendly The Conjuring 2. "They’re dying to see The Conjuring 2, but they’re also eight, nine, and 10, so that’s not happening."
There's an important distinction to note here: Johnson-McGoldrick says Aquaman is the first of "his" movies that his children can watch, but their ages indicate that this may also be the first DC film in a long while that parents may not have to be concerned about.
Starting with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, the DC movies produced by Warner Bros. have been mostly dark and adult-oriented in nature, while deploying a "grim and gritty" visual esthetic. This style reached its peak (or nadir, depending on how you see it) with Zack Snyder's relentlessly sour and super-violent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which actually flirted with an R rating at one point.
Since then, WB/DC has begun a slow course correction: last year's Wonder Woman was still fairly dark, but at least had some humor and endearing characters, while the deeply flawed Justice League also started to lighten the mood slightly. In contrast, Aquaman's trailers and artwork make it look like a big, bright, funny and colorful sci-fi adventure (next year's Shazam seems even more kid-oriented).
Johnson-McGoldrick suggested that this was a result of the way Wan approaches storytelling, explaining, "James Wan knows how to connect with the audience instinctively. In horror movies, you’re sometimes rooting for the monster, but in the Conjuring movies, you’re rooting for Ed and Lorraine Warren. You’re pulling for them.”
Whether Wan's approach yields a much-needed success for the DCEU with Aquaman remains to be seen, but some reactions from an early screening seem to suggest that the movie is on the right track.
While the fans who saw the film did not say where or when they watched it, they were able to post some brief reactions (via Heroic Hollywood):
No doubt more fans, members of the public and professional critics will weigh in as Aquaman's Dec. 21 release date gets closer. What do you make of these very early reactions and the possibility that this may be DC's most family-friendly effort yet?