The first Aquaman made over $1 billion at the global box office, making it the biggest hit of the modern DC film universe. One might expect that fans would be looking forward to the sequel with anticipation, and but that hasn’t necessarily been the case. Numerous delays, controversy surrounding the role (or lack thereof) of Amber Heard, the fact that the movie comes at the tail end of the current DC universe before a reboot, and simply a less-than-stellar buzz have all combined to create a movie surrounded by negativity. Director James Wan is aware of what’s being said, but he’s not worrying about it much.
The sequel to Aquaman was given the green light quickly after the first movie became a massive hit, but it’s now been five years since that movie came out. James Wan tells Empire (via The Direct) that he’s been working on the film for nearly that entire time, and while he’s simply happy to have the movie coming out, he does call it the “noisiest” movie he’s ever been part of. Wan said…
I've been on this movie for four years now, and I'm so happy for it to come out. In many ways, I think it's even more fun than the first one. But it's been a long, exhausting process. It is definitely the noisiest movie I've ever worked on.
A lot of the “noise” surrounded the role of Amber Heard in the sequel. There was a concerted effort by some who took the side of Johnny Depp in the dueling defamation lawsuits that wanted to see Heard removed entirely from the film. Petitions were started that argued for exactly that. Heard’s role has reportedly been significantly reduced compared to the first movie, but Wan claims that was due to the story he wanted to tell and did not have anything to do with Heard herself.
Beyond Heard, however, there seems to be a general negative buzz around Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Perhaps because a lot of people know that the current DC Universe is coming to an end, there just isn’t the excitement for the movie there might otherwise be. But Wan says that whatever all the negativity for the movie right now might mean, it will all fade away eventually, and the movie itself will still be there. He continued…
That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this experience. To filter out the negativity and focus on the film. Because that’s what will live on - in 20 years, no one will remember the noise. Only the movie.
The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom release date is still a few weeks away, which may in the end just mean more negativity between now and then. But Wan is almost certainly correct that eventually the movie will stand alone and it will be judged on its own merits.