In an era flooded with superhero movies, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” dives into the murky waters of predictability, dampening expectations and gasping for relevance. Directed by James Wan and boasting a reported $205 million budget, this cinematic spectacle aspires to be the DCEU’s final act before the promised facelift orchestrated by James Gunn and Peter Safran. However, as the DCEU braces for a much-needed reboot, this aquatic escapade serves as a poignant reminder that even the mythical realm of Atlantis can’t escape the undertow of creative fatigue.
Jason Momoa, reprising his role as the oceanic Adonis, Arthur Curry, finds himself pitted against an ancient power threatening to unleash havoc on Atlantis. While the stakes are high and the budget even higher, the sequel struggles to rise above the sea of superhero mediocrity, failing to replicate the success of its 2018 predecessor. Despite Momoa’s charismatic presence, akin to a tidal wave, not even his considerable biceps can lift this sinking ship.
The returning cast, including Amber Heard as Mera, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, valiantly attempt to salvage the wreckage. Yet, their efforts feel like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, unable to rescue the film from the clutches of a soggy sequel desperately clinging to past glory.
Even Dolph Lundgren, reprising his role as King Nereus, and Randall Park, swapping his comedic hat for a more serious one as Dr. Shin, can’t inject enough life into the narrative. The film seems to drown in its own ambitions, weighed down by a convoluted plot and the burden of living up to its predecessor’s success.
As the DCEU faces an imminent reboot, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” serves as a symbolic conclusion to an era marked by highs and lows. While the underwater kingdom of Atlantis may be visually stunning, the film itself struggles to stay afloat, ultimately succumbing to the currents of superhero fatigue. As James Wan’s directorial swan song for the DCEU, it leaves audiences wondering if the impending facelift will be enough to breathe new life into a franchise that, like Atlantis, must navigate treacherous waters to stay relevant in an oversaturated genre.