"Leave it all out on the field!"
Pretty much every football coach from Pee Wee to High School to the Big Leagues has used that expression.
Aquaman shows that movie makers should probably be thinking the same thing.
Flat out: Aquaman leaves it all on the field. Kudos to director James Wan and star Jason Man-Whoa-Uh for going all out with this movie. They seemed to recognize that after Batman v Superman and Justice League (I'm a hardcore Batman fan and those both make me cringe) it was far from a sure thing that they were going to get another shot at this. In fact, people have been trying to make an Aquaman movie for years (the jokes in Entourage from ten years ago prove it) and were never able to figure it out. So what did James and Jason do? They said, "Screw it. We're putting freaking everything in this movie."
Kid Aquaman talking to sharks in an aquarium? Check.
Heroes jumping out of planes with no parachutes? Check.
A bad guy shooting laser beams from his eyes? Check.
A massive war beneath the ocean amongst a half dozen tribes of crazy creatures? Got it.
Aquaman arriving at the last minute of the war riding on the back of some crazy huge monster thing that would give a blue whale inadequacy issues? You better believe that's in there.
The one thing they didn't do? They didn't hold anything back for the sequel.
Sure, there's a few loose threads that can springboard another adventure. But Aquaman got his trident. He got his bright orange shirt. He helped win an underwater war. He took the throne and even got all the races of underwater whatevers to call him "King Arthur." He fought his own personal demons and then went and fought a whole bunch of literal demons (or monsters or something - I'm not sure what those were in the Trench). If there's never another Aquaman movie, the filmmakers can hold their heads high, and know that they didn't hold anything back.
There's been a lot of talk over the past few years (since Iron Man and Marvel became the kings of the hill) that too many movies were putting potential sequels and spin-offs and shared universes ahead of the movie they were actually making.
Aquaman proved that theory 100% correct.
The Hobbit movies were bad because they were milking things to make an overbloated trilogy.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 wasn't beaten by Electro or the Green Goblin. He went down because the filmmakers were trying to set up the Sinister Six and ten other sequels.
Batman v Superman fell apart because it really should've been called Batman v Superman v Lex Luthor v Wonder Woman v Doomsday (feat. Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg) - which is ridiculous to try and fit in all at once.
So, by all means, tease a sequel, if you want. But if you've got good ideas up your sleeve - use 'em now. Right now. In this movie. Put it all out there. Leave it all out on the screen. Aquaman didn't leave anything for a sequel - and because of that it's guaranteed to get one.
And, seriously, not really being sure what the hell you're gonna do to top something is a great problem to have!