Badass Movie Tattoos – Part II

Continuing our foray into the world of movie ink from earlier this week, the theme of superheroes, neo-noir and hunt for killers is becoming even more evident…

Aquaman

Both in Justice League and the eponymous movie, Jason Momoa’s DC superhero is covered in ink from head to toe. Reportedly, the idea was director Zak Snyder’s. Rather than the fish-scale like suit, Aquaman dons in the comics (although, as you know from the posters, that also makes its appearance), Momoa’s version sports some serious body art. 

The design draws on Momoa’s real ink, specifically a half-sleeve on his right forearm. The tattoo, consisting of nine rows of black triangles is a nod to the actor’s ‘aumakua, or family god. In Hawaiian culture, that is a family ancestor who has died and come back to life in a different form to their descendants. Momoa’s family guardian is a shark, and so the tattoo symbolises shark teeth. Seriously, that part could not have gone to anyone else. 

The temporary tats Momoa donned for the role also resemble traditional Polynesian body art. Tattoos are important in Polynesian culture, especially as a representation of the gods. 

Badass movie tattoos aqua man

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The tattoo of Lisbeth Salander of late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is depicted differently in the English and Swedish versions, both in the films and the books on which they are based.Badass movie tattoos girl with the dragon tattoo

Rooney Mara’s, or David Fincher’s, Lisbeth has a black and grey dragon covering just the left part of her upper back, coiling a thin tail down her ribs. The actual translation of the description of the tattoo in the original Swedish version of the book would be “…the dragon stretching across her back, from her right shoulder blade down to her buttock.”

girl with dragon tattoo Swedish versionIn the Swedish movie from 2009, that saw Noomi Rapace reach Hollywood fame for her performance (although we would rather forget subsequent Prometheus…) comes closer to the author’s intended size. It is also a far more sinister-looking, detailed, and interesting dragon. You know, like the ancient kind that guards a horde and will burn anyone coming close to a crisp.

Side note: The properly translated version of the Swedish title is not Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but rather “Men who hate women,” which could be why the tattoo gets so little recognition. It is only mentioned a few times in the book and is not given much attention in the films.

Red Dragon

While on the subject of dragons… Ralph Fiennes’ full-back tattoo as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde is based on a painting by William Blake, known as the Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun. Dolarhyde, dubbed the Tooth Fairy for his taste for human flesh, although technically not a cannibal like Hannibal, of whose universe he is a part, believes that he is transforming into the titular creature. 

“I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. To me, you are a slug in the sun. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly. Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. YOU OWE ME AWE.”Red Dragon movie tattoo