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'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' Review: DCEU Ends in a Messy, Inconsistent Fashion

Aquaman 2 Poster

Courtesy of DC

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the second Aquaman movie and last DCEU movie, once again directed by James Wan, and stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, also known as Aquaman. Arthur Curry is still King of Atlantis and has a family with Mera, but the villain Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, still wants revenge and is using the Black Trident to overheat the world and destroy Atlantis. Arthur must team up with his brother Orm, played by Patrick Wilson, to stop Black Manta.         

While the first Aquaman is not the best movie, it was still a fun, action-packed comic book movie that helped the DCEU at a time when things were rough. Unfortunately, none of the DCEU movies that came after it were nearly as successful. Some movies like Shazam! and The Suicide Squad were very good movies but struggled at the box office. Now DC is rebooting with James Gunn in charge and the DCEU is coming to an end. Did Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom end things on a high note?

The acting in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is fine. The best performance is from Patrick Wilson as Orm, also known as Ocean Master. The dynamic between Aquaman and Ocean Master is the heart and strength of this movie. Jason Momoa is fine as Aquaman but this is easily his worst performance as the title character. Some of his lines came off as cringe, especially during serious scenes. Part of that could be the written lines themselves. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is fine as Black Manta, but it feels like he could have been a way better villain than he turned out to be in this movie. Amber Heard is in this movie as Mera way more than the scoopers claimed she would be. She isn’t terrible in this movie, but Mera doesn’t stand out like she did in the first movie.

The plot of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom shouldn’t be as complicated and all over the place as it felt. At times, it felt like other movies were happening. Most viewers will compare this to Thor: The Dark World, but it goes beyond that. One moment, it feels like a Star Wars movie with this one character that reminded me of an underwater Jabba the Hutt. Next, this island they go on reminds me of Skull Island from the King Kong movies. One of the members of Black Manta’s team has his robot that almost fights like the robot from The Incredibles, and that too was on an island. Some of the imagery almost reminded me of The Lord of the Rings movies. It felt like a movie about Aquaman was taking and using inspiration from movies beyond DC comics and DC media, which felt weird.

Another thing that fell off was the visuals at times. The 2018 Aquaman movie had great visuals. At times, the visuals felt weak, especially with the underwater scenes. The characters looked so off when they were underwater and having discussions. Another issue is the inconsistent tone. It does well with the entertaining scenes. Whenever the movie tried to be serious, however, it didn’t execute well. 

Not everything about Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is bad. The music and score in this movie are better than the first Aquaman movie. When the visuals land, they are great looking. The action is a lot of fun to watch. The third act was pretty good and had some great moments. As mentioned before, the Aquaman and Ocean Master dynamic works well. The costumes still look amazing. While the settings looked like they were from other movies, they still looked cool. The message about climate change in this movie is good.

Overall, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is enjoyable but tries to do too much and borrows from too much. The acting isn’t spectacular, with Patrick Wilson being the best as Ocean Master. Black Manta’s potential as a great villain felt wasted. The action is great and entertaining. The visuals land half the time. My final grade for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a C+. It’s not the worst DCEU movie and is a fun movie, but could have been way better and deserved better. All these DC characters in this DCEU deserved way better. Hopefully, James Gunn will do well with his upcoming DCU. What did you think of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below.


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