Reviews

‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’: A Dazzling Shallow Dive

JASON MOMOA as Aquaman in Warner Bros Pictures action adventure Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom plunges audiences into the mesmerising depths of the ocean, offering a visually stunning spectacle directed by the master of horror, James Wan.

To stop a vengeful villain wielding an ancient evil, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) teams up with his estranged brother, braving mythical depths and monstrous enemies in a desperate search for a lost kingdom that is key to saving Atlantis.

While the film dazzles with breathtaking CGI and thrilling action sequences, its narrative unfortunately struggles to reach the same level of proficiency. Wan’s expertise in crafting captivating visuals is undeniable. The film boasts vibrant coral reefs teeming with life alongside monstrous leviathans that would feel right at home in one of his horror masterpieces. Action sequences are balletic displays of underwater combat, choreographed with precision and executed with exhilarating energy. From start to finish, the film is a feast for the eyes, transporting viewers to a fantastical undersea world.

A scene from Warner Bros. Pictures action adventure Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

However, once the surface breaks, the film encounters choppier waters in the form of its dialogue. Clichéd lines flow freely, jokes fail to land with any real impact, and the very few romantic exchanges lack genuine emotional depth. The script falls short of providing characters with the necessary substance to carry the narrative, leaving them feeling more like two-dimensional figures amidst the visual grandeur.

Even Jason Momoa’s charismatic portrayal of Aquaman can’t fully rescue the film from its narrative shortcomings. The supporting cast, from the villain with murky motivations to many woodenly emotive side characters, further contribute to the feeling of shallowness. Additionally, the pacing suffers a significant slowdown in the film’s midsection, dragging viewers through tedious exposition and unnecessary subplots.

YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II as Black Manta in Warner Bros. Pictures action adventure Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Despite these narrative weaknesses, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom offers undeniable entertainment value. It’s a visually stunning escape, perfect for those seeking a thrilling and eye-catching experience that requires minimal engagement. However, viewers expecting a rich, complex story with well-developed characters may be disappointed.

Ultimately, the film serves as a bittersweet farewell to the current iteration of the DCEU, with James Gunn (Suicide Squad, 2021) poised to steer the franchise in a new direction. While Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom may not be a narrative masterpiece, it’s a flashy and thrilling send-off, leaving viewers anticipating what lies ahead under Gunn’s leadership.

Fun Fact:

The visual effects crew invented new technology and VFX rigs for the underwater scenes in the film, with 100 cameras capturing the performances and action scenes and then applying them to 3D versions of the actors. This new setup came after James Wan found the rigs used on the first film to be complex and painful for the actors, and Wan wished to employ more versatile and safe equipment.

Note: This review was written with the help of AI.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Visually breathtaking and action-packed but hampered by a shallow narrative and underdeveloped characters, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a fun, albeit flawed, farewell to the old DCEU.
Story
50
Characters
40
Performances
50
Direction
65
Entertainment Value
78
57
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Loves producing content as much as consuming it. Deserted Island Movie Collection: The films of Quentin Tarantino. Best Movie Snack: Nachos.
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