Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – Brothers in a Familiar Pond: A DC Tale

In the world of film, the possibilities are endless.  From the endearment of romance, intensity of action and wholesome growth of coming-of-age, films frame the unimaginable within an idea of feeling alive.  One genre (comic books) has the open road at their disposal.  With many tricks of the trade, there is only the hope … the generic can become a magical experience.  In this review, I look at the final film of the DCEU saga.  In a journey of potential, it becomes a clustering of mixed results.  In short, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a generic splash in a familiar pond.

The story follows Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), as he must find renewed purpose or lose all he holds dear to an ancient evil.  To begin this review is to look at the bounds of the genre.  Comic book films are well renowned for their innate ability to provide escapism.  It is through the aspect of ‘superpowers’ and ‘fighting for good’ that becomes a throughline for many paths to be built.  With this sequel, the filmmakers build up a journey that relies on three different aspects.  The first aspect is a retrospective look at Arthur Curry.  In the beginning, we find that he is struggling in performing his acts as King (of Atlantis) because of having a family on the surface world.  This juggling act provides an intriguing grip (for the audience), leveling out the journey with a bit of characterization within the larger world.  The second aspect comes through the antagonist angle: the ‘revenge plot’ driven by Curry’s archnemesis, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).  Introduced after Curry’s characterized struggles, this plot thread becomes the catalyst for the film.  When Arthur is confronted with this renewed threat, it builds through scenes of Visualized CGI action, ominous tonal shifts, and some terrible dialogue.  This initial conflict builds towards the third aspect: a buddy adventure quest driven by the brotherhood motif.  This third aspect builds off the previous two angles, one that pushes Orm/Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson) to rekindle an unlikely bond with his brother.  Through these three plot threads, it becomes a manner of generalities that are driven by the atmospheric appeal of the escape.  What the filmmakers do is provide a semblance of something unique but becomes a hodge podge of lackluster appeal. 

As the journey weaves between these three characters, the strength (of the film) comes from the clashing personalities between Aquaman and Orm.  Through their forced truce to stop Black Manta, their interactions provide levity to the rehashed outline.  Through these two, the melodrama and visual noise becomes a bit ‘fun’ without cause.  As Orm and Curry begin to learn about the true nature of Black Manta, it leads down a path of heavy exposition and underwhelming twists.  This leads to the typical ‘hero vs. villain’ standoff, building up a standard third act you find in a comic book film.  Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a general comic book film that has some bright spots of fun.  If you are a fan of the characters, actors involved or comic book films, there is something here to enjoy.  I believe there is worth seeing this on the big screen … for the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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