'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' Review
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” arrives five years after the first “Aquaman” movie (which I was not a huge fan of) and marks the end of the DCEU — the DC Extended Universe, which saw 16 films over 10 and a half years. Jason Momoa returns as Arthur / Aquaman, and he and Amber Heard’s Mera have a new son. (By the way, Heard is in this sequel a lot more than I was expecting).
Early on there are goofy family comedy / “Daddy Day Care”-type scenes, in which Momoa channels Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel. Then we dive into the story: there’s nasty, unpredictable weather around the world. We soon find out what’s happening through discoveries of some scientists (including Stephen, played by a completely wasted Randall Park). Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is back as villain Black Manta, who has even more powers and is even more of a threat to the world, especially the existence of the oceans and the seas.
Aquaman reunites with his brother Orm (Patrick Wilson, who looks completely uninterested). They team-up to try to save the day and protect the oceans and the baby boy. Pretty much every element of this movie is lame, including how we find The Lost Kingdom early on. So goofy and hokey. Tight, odd, close-up heavy direction from James Wan.
So moments with blobs of colors and silhouettes of people underwater. Maybe the WB-Paramount merger is already underway because Squidward, a giant Mr. Krabs and Mystery from the classic “SpongeBob” episode “My Pretty Seahorse” make appearances (…sorta).
There are plenty of risible scenes. I laughed at the dumb dialogue. Nicole Kidman returned as Aquaman’s mom (Aquamom?) and I don’t think she wanted to be there. And last time it was Julie Andrews with the random, surprise voice performance. This time it’s Martin Short as Kingfish. And how about the last line of this movie? It’s one of the gutsier, more shocking things in this entire DCEU.
The DC Extended Universe a “one-hit wonder” because the only movie I truly liked out of all of them was Patty Jenkins’ first “Wonder Woman” in 2017. That was a breath of fresh air. This “Aquaman” sequel is terrible, but right in line with what we’ve come to expect from this franchise.