Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Sloppy - 3/10

by Jad Sammour

The final nail in the coffin of The DCEU before Gunn’s overhaul of the IP has been nailed? Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom is the final release in the troublesome DCEU that started in 2013’s Man of Steel – I can argue that what followed Batman v Superman and Snyder’s Justice League (2021) are not “true” DCEU but I will not get into it. Aquaman 2 is a follow-up to 2018’s Aquaman and it ignores all other DC characters in the shared universe and focuses on telling its story, which is a joke because to say that the film focuses on something and tells a story would be a stretch. It is simply an unfocused stringing of scenes with a loose plot and Jason Momoa going full Jason Momoa for 2 hours. On top of this, you have James Wan cranking up the campiness and silliness to a hundred, channeling the spirit of the Adam West Batman era and 1950s B monster movies… I just hope had fun making this movie.

Where to begin… I do not have the energy to talk about it, honestly. I did enjoy the set and character designs. The entire aquatic aesthetic mixed with steampunk and whole marine-tech was really fun, unfortunately, they’re not utilized in a good story. Black Manta is one of the coolest-looking villains and he’s a dumb villain, a waste of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s talents. I should mention that the sets do look cheap sometimes; the rocks look too artificial, for example. The action sequences which seemed to be the priority here, as they are abundant, are forgettable generic battle. They have some fun moments on occasion but are mostly a chaos of fists. The score is forgettable and borderline annoying at points, and why did they only use the opening instrumental of Spirit in the Sky? The dialogue made me laugh, and not at the unfunny jokes but at how bad it is. You can even see the actors struggling to say the lines. During the movie a lot of dumb things happen and make you question them but then a character comes in, delivers a couple of lines that explain the issue, and the scene continues. Speaking of stupidity, Aquaman needed to locate a certaint character but instead of asking Cyborg or Batman who could definitely help, he immediately thinks of his brother who he has to break out of jail, which is a dangerous and problematic thing to do. The story has to go places and it goes there inorganically. Now I have to admit that Patrick Wilson and Jason Momoa make a good duo because they make the film watchable when nothing makes it so. Then you have Amber Herd whose presence in the film has been measured based on the scientific minimum before the audience notices how weirdly shoved in she is regardless of her importance in the main character’s life: for the Aquaman’s wife she is barely in the film, and poorly utilized (we all know why). Aquaman 2 strives for “depth” and resonance with themes of family and leaderships and brotherhood but for something taking place at the bottom of the sea, it is mainly scraping wet sand on a beach, and the viewer is doing the scraping with their mouth wide open. The first 30% of the film feel randomly chopped up and put together. The global warming theme sure is interesting, though the whole thing with the UN at the end of the film was funny and just shoved in… probably because it was going to be important for the third film, and since that will never happen, they just shoved it in at the end.

The end credits scene shows Orm putting a cockroach inside a hamburger and eating it and it is the perfect metaphor for the DCEU (it is not, but it makes more sense than the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom). Fun fact, I did have hope that the film will be a dumb fun action adventure but it was not even that, it’s worse…. WORSE! Why didn’t they release Godzilla Minus One here? The reception to it is unanimously positive, that’s a film many would want to see!

Not sure what to add or what to complain about.
Just let the superhero movie rest. We’ve had enough, spare us please.

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