top of page


Despite (very) fleeting moments of silly popcorn entertainment Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is mostly a muddled CGI mess, that fails at both world-building and emotional engagement.

With the dwindling success of superhero movies in general and DC films in particular, the second Aquaman always faced an uphill struggle. But even if the rumours of endless reshoots and constant executive meddling are true, there no excuse for The Lost Kingdom to be so disjointed and bland.

Part of this is due to an uninspired narrative that pillages freely from superhero sequel tropes and sees bad guy Black Manta seeking revenge on Aquaman with the help of yet another all-powerful artefact: a black trident.

The antagonist’s quest for revenge is actually decent popcorn fodder (it’s certainly a lot more interesting than the trite family storyline and awkward buddy movie moments Jason Momoa is saddled with) but the filmmakers’ insistence on adding a laughably obvious global warming metaphor undercuts actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen’s efforts considerably.

Another factor holding The Lost Kingdom back is director James Wan’s inability to coherently stage big action sequences. In his hands any sense of suspense and narrative propulsion gets lots amid the onslaught of CGI. This extends to the editing in general, which is some of the worst and perfunctory I’ve seen in a Hollywood blockbuster for a long time.

Every twenty minutes or so there is a scene that isn’t half-bad for a film of this ilk, but that’s not enough to generate any genuine interest in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which ends the DC Extended Universe on a fittingly underwhelming, easily forgettable note.

release: 2023

director: James Wan

starring: Jason Momoa, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman


bottom of page