James Wan is no stranger to franchise filmmaking. Over the course of his career, he’s not only launched three massive horror franchises by directing the first “Saw,” “Conjuring,” and “Insidious” films, but movies like “Aquaman” and “Furious 7” have also seen him dip his toes into the comic book world of the DCEU and the “Fast and Furious” series. He isn’t inexperienced in dealing with sudden, unexpected difficulties, either. Production on “Furious 7” was famously interrupted in 2013 by the death of one of its stars, Paul Walker. Wan, for his part, went on to complete the film, which ends with a heartfelt tribute to Walker.
Taking all of this into account, it’s hard to imagine a director more well-suited than him to make “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” the film that has ended up becoming the final installment of the DCEU through nothing more than sheer circumstance. It’s also worth noting that “Aquaman” is still the highest-grossing DCEU film to date. The movie grossed over $1 billion at the box office when it was released in the winter of 2018. It remains to be seen whether or not “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which hits theaters in the U.S. on December 22, will be able to pull in similarly impressive box office numbers.
Even if Wan’s “Aquaman” sequel ultimately falls short of its predecessor’s mark, the new film seems primed to send the DCEU out in fittingly over-the-top fashion. The sequel looks bigger, sillier, funnier, and even more colorful than the original “Aquaman,” which just makes the fact that Wan has actually managed to tune out so much of the noise surrounding the film all the more impressive.