Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Review

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Movie: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Director: James Wan

Producers: James Wan, Rob Cowan, Peter Safran

Scriptwriters: David Leslie Johnson McGoldrick

Main Cast: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul Mateen II

Release Date: 21st December 2023

Running Time: 124 minutes

Certificate: 12A

Introduction: The final film in the DCEU (DC’s Extended Universe), an era that has spanned ten years, is a humongous bellyflop, a perfect representation and embodiment of a failed universe.

Synopsis: Serving as the ruler and king of Atlantis, ‘Arthur Curry’ aka ‘Aquaman’ (played in energetic fashion by Jason Momoa) is forced to seek the help of his half brother ‘Orm’ (Patrick Wilson) to help him defeat ‘Black Manta’ (Yahya Abdul Mateen II) who is after him for the death of his father.

Analysis: Here we are. Ten years and sixteen films later, the DCEU is officially no more. The fact that this installment is a disappointing send off to an already poor collection of films reinforces just how badly a reboot is needed and speaks volumes as to how unsuccessful it has been as a whole. You can just tell they wanted to get rid of this, it is pretty much what everyone thought it was going to be. Said reboot will be arriving in 2025 with James Gunn writing and directing ‘Superman: Legacy’, the first film in his new era that he will be overseeing that should breathe new life into the brand (fingers very much crossed).

‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ is the final, depressing nail in the coffin, a coffin that we will all happily wave farewell to as it will submerge to the deepest depths never to be seen again. It is an oddly and surprisingly derivative mess of a film that doesn’t know what it should be doing or what it wants to be, and it knows it. Pretty much every aspect of the film is flawed in some manner, save for the central chemistry between Momoa and Wilson which does work and is perfectly watchable. I counted at least four films it appeared to be ripping off: an entire set piece in a lair involving a robot very similar to the one seen in ‘The Incredibles’, a segment on an island just like the one we see in ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’, a mercenary character that is so close to Jabba The Hutt that I’m surprised they’re not being sued and finally a villain who looks like they’ve been plucked straight out of ‘Lord of the Rings’. This is just the tip of the iceberg of issues (pun intended). Those who didn’t like the first one (and there were many- I thought it was fine), will despise this.

Not a single person looks like they want to be there; hats off to Willem Dafoe for being smart enough to say no to the film. Given all the behind the scenes drama, Amber Heard’s role as ‘Mera’ has been cut shorter up to the point where her presence is just pointless as she has that little to do. They worked with what they’ve got and what they can do but it has not worked, there is no point in her even being in the film. The plot makes absolutely no sense and completely contradicts itself, nothing has any emotional weight to it nor did I care. As was the case with the first one I thought, it’s visuals and effects are quite well done and they were always going to be with a film this big and with these resources. If you do decide to check this out, do what I did and make an experience out of it at least. I saw this in 4DX 3D and it did make for a good time no matter the quality of the film.

In the end, this proved to be a doomed situation that brings nothing to the table except for bringing a failed universe to an ugly conclusion and everyone involved knows it. All that’s left is hoping and praying that James Gunn’s new version will work. If it doesn’t, who knows what will happen.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 4/10- Disappointing

Target Audience: 12+

Content Warning: moderate violence, threat, injury detail, implied strong language

Recommendation: No