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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom                   review by Bobby Blakey

DC has been really struggling to get their cinematic universe off the ground. While I haven’t had the issues some people have there is no denying that of the few that worked all around Aquaman was one of them. Now director James Wan is back at the helm with Jason Mamoa taking on the title role once again for the long-awaited follow-up Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The film stars Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus and Randall Park. Could this latest chapter offer up as much fun as the first or will it sink to the bottom of the ocean?


Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom follows Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death who will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all after failed to defeat him the first time. 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.


I have always loved Aquaman in all his forms. I know he was kind of made into a joke early on, but the savage aquaman era stepped him out of that and Mamoa’s take on the character made him all the cooler. Sure, the first film had its issues, but overall, I loved and the world building it did to create Atlantis and the underwater realm. The biggest issue heading into this new film for me is the knowledge that this is the end of the Mamoa era of Aquaman. It lessons the possibilities of the future and stakes depending on how it was handled. I headed into it with this knowledge but instead of 


uncaring, just hoped for some fun for the likely last outing to this version of the king of Atlantis and I was not disappointed.


This sequel brings the fun of the first film back for more while limping along at times getting silly. I loved that they spent almost the entire film under water or in some sort of fantastical location, giving it almost a space vibe like something out of Guardians of the Galaxy. This makes the film a visual treat and cool, but also gives it an element that sometimes is laughable. It worked fine for me as this it what I was hoping for this character, but others may get tired of it quickly. The story is a bit all over the place and while does further some of the Atlantean history it is kind of generic with stakes not all that dire.


Whereas Black Manta was kind of a side villain in the first film he is front and center this time around as the big bad. I love this character and was hoping for more depth to him in his rage and mission, but still kind of plays as a one note character despite being cool. Sadly, when it is all said and done, he is once again kind of sidelined, but at least gets his arc this time around. Wan went the smart direction and included lots of the iconic visuals of his arsenal as well as other elements and characters of the Aquaman stories.


I know there were a lot of discussions about Mera’s role being diminished, but I thought it worked perfectly for this story. She is in quite a bit of the film and gets in on the action, just not the main focal point with Arthur. This time around it plays more like an action buddy comedy putting Aquaman and Ocean Master on this journey and being the highlight of the entire thing. Their dysfunctional relationship is fun to watch and further evolves the stories set up in the previous film. These guys have great chemistry, and both carry the action to perfection. They get to take on all sorts of wacky adventures and creatures making for a fun ride.


The rest of the cast get to get to get in on the fun as well with Dolph Lundgren getting more than a short cameo this time around and even Martin Short showing up to voice a fun character. The effects are well done with bright and vibrant visuals throughout that really enhance this universe. They even slapped Aquaman on his trademark seahorse and took some jabs at himself while fully embracing the character. Though the film is a spectacle on a massive sci-fi level I can see it not working for some wanting something more grounded and less fantastical. For me if I am getting Atlantis and the King of the seas then I want to go all in and they did just that.


The ending of the film is a missed opportunity to offer one more connection to things of the past. I believe something was shot, but sadly it isn’t here. I know they are likely just trying to put the nail in the coffin of the first outing of the DCU, but it would have been a lot more fun way to cap it off. We may be saying goodbye to Mamoa as Aquaman, but crossing my fingers he steps into the role of Lobo as he clearly has been wanting. Either way I appreciate the strength and fun he brought to the character that it deserves.


This film got mixed results from fans as they do, but I had fun with it. It’s far from perfect and not as good as the first one in my opinion, but it is a hell of a lot of fun and a good cap to the Snyderverse as we move into the new era of the DC Universe.

In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including numerous featurettes on bringing this latest chapter of the king of Atlantis to the big screen. Grab your copy of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom available now on premium digital and rental and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on March 12th from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

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