Movie Review: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom excels in action, falters in narrative

The plot centred on a power struggle for the Atlantean throne feels like a retread of familiar beats

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Published: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 5:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Jan 2024, 4:27 PM

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will start plunging into theatres with the weight of its twin “Atlantis” on its shoulders. The sequel to the 2018 box office behemoth carries the trident of expectation, tasked with replicating the vibrant spectacle and emotional depth that captivated audiences. Warner Bros Abu Dhabi were the first to premiere the movie globally.

While it did not quite reach the lofty heights of its predecessor, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom offers a watchable, if uneven, underwater adventure with flashes of brilliance buried beneath its somewhat reasonable depths.

James Wan returns to the director's helm and crafts a visually stunning world that pushes the boundaries of CGI. The aquatic realm is rendered in breathtaking detail, surpassing the sequel's quality. The bioluminescent coral forests sway in the ocean's current while monstrous trench creatures lurk in the shadows. The crystalline city of Atlantis gleams like an underwater utopia. Wan's camera moves with balletic grace through this watery canvas, capturing the awe-inspiring scale and alien beauty of the underwater world.

However, where The Lost Kingdom falters is in its narrative. The plot centred on a power struggle for the Atlantean throne, feels like a retread of familiar beats. Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry once again caught between the land and sea, grapples with family obligations and geopolitical tensions. While Momoa's charisma remains undeniable, the script fails to give him much to work with, relying on tired tropes and predictable twists.

Despite the narrative shortcomings, the film is peppered with genuine delight. Patrick Wilson chews the scenery as the villainous Orm, his vengeful half-brother, relishes every over-the-top monologue and menacing sneer. Amber Heard shines as Mera, Arthur's fiery love interest, delivers her action sequences with fierce grace and injects much-needed humour into the proceedings. Dolph Lundgren's King Nereus, Arthur's gruff Atlantean mentor, also adds to the gravitas of the movie.

The Lost Kingdom excels in its action sequences, particularly in the underwater battles crafted by director Wan, who is a master of aquatic action. These thrilling sequences blur the line between fiction and non-fiction, from a terrifying Kraken attack to a CGI-heavy showdown in the Atlantean palace. The director's showcasing of the underwater world is truly exceptional.

Ultimately, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a mixed bag. While the story stumbles and recycles, the film's visual splendour, engaging performances, and thrilling action sequences keep it afloat. It may not be the crown jewel of the DC Extended Universe. Still, it's a watchable, popcorn-munching adventure that offers enough glimmers to satisfy fans waiting to return to Atlantis.

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