Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Review | DCEU Signs off With a Bland Dead-On-Arrival Film

Looking at some of the dramatic elements in certain set pieces of the final DCEU movie Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, one could see that they were perhaps very enthusiastic about creating this movie when they wrote the initial drafts. But the making of the film feels like they had no interest in presenting it as quality content with rushed edits that have no consideration towards the euphoria some of the scenes were supposed to create. With excessive improvised banter comedy distracting the film from its aim, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is just a tiring collage of random set pieces.

After the events in the first movie, we are introduced to Arthur Curry, who is now the King of Atlantis and has a son. Things weren’t that smooth for Curry as he found the role of King and being a father difficult to multitask. Meanwhile, David Kane, who lost his father was prepping himself to seek revenge against Arthur, and one of the expeditions by the scientist who saved Kane leads him to Necrus, a cursed and abandoned kingdom. The power David gets from the trident he obtained from that place and how it paves the way to a battle between Aquaman and Black Manta is what we see in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

There is this buddy comedy-like phase in the movie when Arthur goes to the desert to get his brother Orm, and their journey and the way they attack the crew of the possessed David will remind you of Thor Ragnarok. In fact, at one point, you can hear Curry saying, “Okay Loki.” And the very end of the movie has this Wakanda-ish reveal with Arthur Curry doing what Tony Stark did at the end of the first Iron Man film. I was like, did James Wan do all that purposefully to show his frustration due to everything happening outside regarding the scrapping and reboot of DCEU?

On an editing level, the movie is a colossal mess as they are skipping through plot points at a really swift pace. It’s like you feel like telling Kirk Morri to calm down and let some of the scenes have its good sweet time to establish an emotional connection with the audience to understand the drama. Instead, it races through set pieces and concentrates too much on these Whedon-ish funny bits just making it so evident to the viewer how formulaic the genre has become over the course of a decade. The visual effects are somewhat fine, but there is no novelty to the set pieces, as the execution feels pretty generic.

Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, is less of a reckless beast this time as he is a father in this story, and the character is more on the lighter and funnier side. The same can be said about Patrick Wilson’s Orm. Two characters who were like the pillars of the first movie are very much reduced to Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Heart of Jumanji in this movie. Due to the whole Johnny Depp controversy, the part of Amber Heard as Mera has been cut down significantly, and the makers have not even tried to create any creative excuse to make Mera have less screen time in this movie. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane, aka Black Manta, gets to play a poorly-written antagonist whose every move is kind of predictable.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is an untidy and lazy film that has sort of accepted the defeat even before the race. The extreme genericness of the writing and the hurried nature of the making to conclude the whole thing pretty much exposes the lack of interest in the film for the studio and the makers. It was kind of heartbreaking to see what began through a creatively exciting Man of Steel ending with a movie that just doesn’t have any sort of cinematic high or enthusiasm to its credit.

Final Thoughts

It was kind of heartbreaking to see what began through a creatively exciting Man of Steel ending with a movie that just doesn't have any sort of cinematic high or enthusiasm to its credit.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.