Reviewed by Cliff Homewood
The Lost Kingdom is obviously where DC got their good films from, they just can’t seem to get back there. This is possibly their worst. My Uncle has a phrase for big budget action movies, ‘they are just a bunch of fireworks’. A friend reviewed this film as ‘Bright colours and loud noises’.
It has a good rock soundtrack, however when you have Aquaman spouting neutered unnatural sounding dialogue, as he’s not allowed to swear, and follow this with ‘Born to be Wild’ …
It starts promisingly enough, with a domesticated Aquaman, albeit similar to the potbellied Thor, which did it better. Aquaman’s baby son weeing is funny and the film highlight. It goes on to rip off Star Wars as he enters a Pirate’s Den, complete with a band containing a creature with a trunk and that’s before we meet the Jabba the Hutt-esque Pirate King. For the finale we find ourselves entering Mordor complete with treacherous passage. It’s like the plot has been written by a 12-year-old using story ideas like stickle bricks. When Amber Heard appears can’t help but think her life is more interesting. Bored for most of it, dragging myself through for sake of review (we all must suffer for our art!) You know the acting standard isn’t great when it includes Dolph Lundgren, perhaps a bit harsh but his character felt just a bit off to me. Jason Mamoa overacts, although fine previously, I think he felt the loss of a good script to imbue emotion. Brian Blessed gives voice to a comedy sidekick that isn’t funny. The film sets up sniping banter between Jason Mamoa and Patrick Wilson that falls flat. Each character seems to be too much in his world for it to work, the shared warmth isn’t there. Jason Mamoa is funny getting chucked out of a pub. Is Patrick Wilson too serious an actor or can Director James Wan not do comedy? The fact that Brian Blessed is normally funny indicates the latter. This is the film series where you can tell they are underwater because the actors look like they are in Timotei commercials. This film has a lot of continuity, so if you don’t know what happened previously, it feels like you are watching half a film.
Think of Aquaman as his proper English name, Wetman, and you get more of a feel. When Marvel Head Honcho realised the upcoming Daredevil series wasn’t to scratch, he scrapped it and reshot. James Gunn should have done this. The first time DC have released four films in a year (Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash & Blue Beetle being the others) they need to take a note from Marvel’s aspirations and move to quality over quantity.
I enjoyed the first Aquaman movie, although not particularly memorable. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom looks pretty and has the usual story beats as they travel through exotic locales but lacks something, a couple of scenes even look like matte paintings. There’s a reason why it’s not being shown in 3D much, it’s two dimensional.