Movie Reviews
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023).

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Review: DCEU’s Final Nail in Coffin

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, despite being heavily steeped in undersea grandeur, left much to be desired in its delivery. As the final instalment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), the film failed to ride the high waves set by its predecessor. Instead, it found itself tangled in seaweed-like plot complexity and struggled with pacing issues that hampered an otherwise spectacular underwater setting.

Aquaman And The Lost KingdomJames Wan‘s direction provided a visually striking journey. Wan is undeniably skillful in setting the scene. Every underwater frame in Atlantis shone with cinematic detail and vibrant colours. However, a movie cannot thrive on stunning cinematography alone. As such, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom crumbled under the weight of its overcomplicated storyline.

The convoluted plot, drafted by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, presented too many layers that resulted in uneven pacing and blurred character motivations. From Atlantis to Necrus to an eerie volcanic island in the South Pacific, it seemed as if the narrative couldn’t decide on its focal point. Meanwhile, a myriad of subplots served to muddle rather than enrich the narrative. Instead of a powerful finale for the DCEU, the film ended up a confused patchwork of loose threads.

Jason Momoa’s return as Aquaman, Arthur Curry, demonstrated his abilities as an action star, but lacked in emotive range. His chemistry with Amber Heard, reprising her role as Mera, was an underlying hiccup. Although the two navigated tumultuous adventures, their performances remained impassive, hindering the portrayal of a believable bond between the characters.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023).Patrick Wilson‘s Orm provided the one truly layered performance in the film. His shifting allegiance, and struggles with his half-brother and monstrous possessed alter-ego, Kordax, made his arc more compelling to watch. It’s regrettable, however, that his character’s pivotal turning points and alliances felt forced due to plot convenience, not because of genuine development.

Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the revengeful David Kane (Black Manta) had the potential to breathe fresh air into the film, but their roles were undermined by subpar character development. David Kane’s transformation into Black Manta promised depth and tragedy, but unfortunately fell flat due to unsatisfactory character depth.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, though technically impressive, buckled under an overburdened plot, mismatched pacing and underdeveloped characters. It regrettably failed to provide the solid conclusion to the DCEU series that audiences deserved. Rather than creating a satisfying wave of closure, the film left us adrift in the confusing waters of its narrative. For a superhero movie, this sequel was all bark, no bite, resulting in an underwhelming and lukewarm experience. For the 15th and final DCEU installment, it was an unfortunately tepid farewell.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Review: DCEU's Final Nail in Coffin
  • Acting - 6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 4/10
  • Watchability - 5/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
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