Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom review: Underwhelming wave of underwater antics | Hollywood

In a world where superhero movies are increasingly becoming all too common, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is like a fish out of water—predictable, wet, and desperately gasping for relevance. Directed by James Wan, the reported $205 million-spectacle aims to be the final curtain call for the DCEU before it undergoes a much-needed facelift by James Gunn and Peter Safran. As the DCEU braces for a reboot, this underwater escapade serves as a reminder that even Atlantis can’t escape the undertow of creative fatigue.

Jason Momoa leads the pack yet again in Aquaman 2.
Jason Momoa leads the pack yet again in Aquaman 2.

Jason Momoa reprises his role as the oceanic Adonis, Arthur Curry, who finds himself in a battle against an ancient power threatening to wreak havoc on Atlantis. The stakes are high, and the budget is even higher, yet the sequel to the 2018 film, unlike its predecessor, struggles to stay afloat in the sea of superhero mediocrity. Momoa’s charisma may be as mighty as a tidal wave, but not even his considerable biceps can lift this sinking ship. Returning cast members Amber Heard (Mera), Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Manta) try their best to salvage the wreckage, but their efforts are akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Dolph Lundgren reprises his role as King Nereus, and Randall Park (Dr Shin) swaps his comedic hat for a more serious one, but even their talents can’t prevent the film from feeling like a soggy sequel desperately clinging to past glory.

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The plot, like a half-hearted breaststroke, moves forward without much finesse. Arthur faces off against his arch-nemesis, Black Manta, who is armed with the formidable Black Trident and harboring a grudge more ancient than the power he seeks. To spice things up, Arthur forms an alliance with his half-brother Orm, earnestly played by Patrick Wilson, in a twist that’s as surprising as Aquaman’s ability to communicate with fish. The film attempts to explore themes of brotherhood, betrayal, and redemption, but the execution is clumsy.

The movie’s underwater extravaganzas and mythical creatures are reminiscent of a visually stunning acid trip. James Wan, known for his mastery of fantasy and horror, crafts a spectacle, but its grandiosity often feels like a cheap attempt to distract from its lackluster plot. It’s as if Wan took a page from the Michael Bay playbook, swapping substance for explosions and subtlety for CGI tidal waves. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom goes through its plot points with the subtlety of a torpedo, leaving a wake of predictability in its path. The film leans heavily on familiar tropes, as if it raided the clearance section of the superhero storytelling handbook. Scenes crucial to character development and plot progression follow a well-trodden path, robbing us of the excitement that comes with the unexpected.

But, the film which many DCEU fans will be tempted to say was jinxed from the very beginning, with regards to it being the last film in the DCEU before the highly anticipated reboot, to Amber Heard’s infamous legal case against ex husband Johnny Depp, somehow still manages to be be the best live-action superhero film of 2023. That’s not saying much though considering that three DC movies to release this year– The Flash, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Blue Beetle — have all flopped in a great fashion. As fans prepare to bid adieu ( which many, including me, argue is a much needed change) to this chapter of spandexed heroes, the film serves as a reminder that even underwater kingdoms can’t escape the sinking feeling of creative bankruptcy.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a superhero movie directed by James Wan that aims to be the final installment in the DCEU before it undergoes a reboot. The film, with a reported budget of $205 million, follows the story of Arthur Curry, played by Jason Momoa, as he battles against an ancient power threatening Atlantis. Despite its high stakes and budget, the sequel struggles to stand out in the saturated superhero genre. The returning cast members, including Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman, try their best to salvage the film, but their efforts fall short. The plot lacks finesse and the execution of themes like brotherhood and redemption is clumsy. The movie relies heavily on visual spectacle, but this often feels like a distraction from its lackluster plot. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is predictable and fails to bring any fresh ideas to the table. The review also mentions the current context of the film, noting that it is the last DCEU film before the highly anticipated reboot and that it comes at a time when other DC movies have flopped. Overall, the film is criticized for its creative fatigue and lack of originality.

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