‘AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM’ Review | More of the Same

People like to claim that superhero fatigue has set in, and the genre needs to take a break for a few years. That’s simply not the case. And while Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn’t going to set the box office on fire this weekend, superhero fatigue is not to blame, it’s the quality of the superhero films studios are producing. People are no longer excited for mediocre films, superhero or otherwise, and they’re showing their higher standards at the box office.

The first Aquaman wasn’t a very good film. It had juvenile humor, subpar acting, and felt like a superhero film from the early 2000s. There just wasn’t any substance to the film, but it still made over $1 billion at the box office because at the time audiences were excited for anything new in the superhero genre. The quality of the film didn’t matter to an extent.

Fast forward almost exactly five years and times have changed. Marvel raised the bar to a near insurmountable level with films such Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. New superhero films don’t have to hit the high quality standards of those Marvel films, but the bar has still been raised considerably.

Enter Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The film is virtually identical to the first movie. Same style of humor, similar action sequences, a story and script that are passable at best, and hit or miss VFX. Yet this new film will be lucky to hit $400 million because the bar has been raised.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, James Wan, Jason Momoa, patrick wilson, Randall Park

I didn’t like the first Aquaman movie, and Lost Kingdom isn’t any better. Orm (Patrick Wilson) and Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) are the best parts of the film, but both are held back by a lackluster script. There’s a not so subtle global warming plot thread that’s not explored very well, and once again we get an Aquaman movie that spends a considerable amount of time on land.

Randall Park has been added to the franchise as Dr. Stephen Shin, a servant of Black Manta, but he’s wasted here as well. Park plays a somewhat similar role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Jimmy Woo, a character who doesn’t have super powers, and simply works with superheroes and other ancillary characters. However, in the MCU he’s written much better, and therefore becomes a worthwhile addition to the films and shows he’s featured in.

Park has much more screen time in Lost Kingdom compared to most of his MCU appearances, but his somewhat juvenile dialogue, and the limited scope of the script as a whole drastically limits his potential. At the very least Park can now be recast in a different role as James Gunn resets the DC Universe with Superman: Legacy in 2025.

If you enjoyed the first Aquaman, and most of the recent comic book films, you’ll probably enjoy Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom as well. However, if your bar has been raised, or you weren’t a fan of the first film, Lost Kingdom isn’t going to suddenly bring you around. There are some big set pieces that can be fun to experience in a theater, but otherwise wait until this one lands on Max if you even care enough to watch it at this point.

About Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Synopsis: Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all. This time Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force. To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm, the former King of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.

Director: James Wan

Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, James Wan, Jason Momoa

Stars: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Randall Park

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes

Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.

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