Review Aquaman 2: Pan ‘Excruciatingly awful’ describes Jason Momoa sequel Get the Most Out of Your Christmas Weekend Despite Hollywood’s Superhero Crisis

Aquaman 2
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“Migration,” an animated family film, “Anyone but You,” a romantic comedy, and “The Iron Claw,” a wrestling biographical drama, are just a few of the many films that will go on sale on Friday.

In its domestic debut over the four-day Christmas weekend, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom might only swim to $37 million to $43 million, if monitoring is accurate. That amount would be dwarfed by the prior installment’s $51 million debut and would also trail Marvel Studios’ recent $46.1 million disaster, The Marvels.

Meanwhile, Aquaman 2 is a near-certain winner of what is turning out to be a slow Christmas weekend. In a year where superhero films generally underperformed, the reuniting of director James Wan with star Jason Momoa for the sequel brings the genre to a close.

As we bid our goodbyes to the current DC Comics film slate, we are left with Jason Momoa getting soaked by a baby and an octopus astride a seahorse. Is that all?

In the sequel “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” Momoa’s giant lug who can communicate with fish has one more exciting mission left to complete. At a period of change, when superhero movies aren’t as exciting and a rebooted DC cinematic universe, led by James Gunn and Peter Safran, will debut in 2025, director James Wan’s new Atlantean adventure (★★½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters this Friday) is about to release. However, the film manages to stay afloat: It floats around as a light enough trip – and a brotherly one – without any really outstanding strokes, but it’s fiercely fine.

Arthur Curry (Momoa), king of Atlantis and Justice Leaguer, has expanded his repertoire to include roles as spouse and father since his 2018 solo feature. Still, he can’t seem to find his footing: He loves caring for little Arthur Jr., but juggling his roles as a parent and a monarch is a challenge for him. Having little interest in dealing with political councils and doubting his suitability for this prominent king role, Aquaman and his wife Mera (Amber Heard) are bored with their lives.

Aquaman, which came out in 2018, became the highest-grossing DC film ever with an enormous amount of money. Like the 2019 blockbuster Joker, Aquaman could theoretically continue as an independent series. However, it appears that moving Aquaman to “Elseworlds” is not going to happen, as there is no sign that Arthur Curry, played by Jason Momoa, will be a part of the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe.

Despite not really taking place at the end of the Snyderverse chronology, this film is considered the final installment in that timeline. If we consider Zack Snyder’s Justice League to be the official cinematic adaptation, then the most distant point in the current chronology would be the flash forwards in that film, whereby Batman and other heroes are shown in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Aquaman is the last film in chronological order after that (and certain episodes of The Flash).

When the trial involving Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp went viral, drawing criticism from fans of both celebrities’ camps, it cast doubt on her involvement in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. When asked whether her position was diminished and for what reasons, Heard and Warner Bros. executives gave contradictory statements.

We do know that Lost Kingdom underwent numerous rounds of editing, and that Heard’s small role in the film’s early trailers sparked widespread concern that she would have little screen time in the final cut. Surprisingly, this was not true.

As James Gunn and Peter Safran reimagine the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) as the DC Universe (DCU), Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom serves as the final gasp for Warner Bros.’ infamously unsuccessful DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Therefore, James Wan’s sequel to 2018’s marine hit doesn’t offer any serialized story elements that would pique the audience’s interest. Actually, there is absolutely no reason to pay attention to this wildly chaotic and noisy sequel, which has a ridiculous plot, ugly graphics, and performances that are the result of having skilled actors act like they’re underwater and interacting with fantastical creatures on green screen. No one will be saddened by the end of the franchise since it is so unimpressive.

Coming to theaters on December 22nd, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a violently busy and ridiculously overdesigned film. Even worse, it’s completely irrelevant. In this sequel, which takes place many years after the events of the first, we see Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. He is now married to Mera, played by Amber Heard, and they have a son together. In the beginning of the film, our hero is battling evil pirates; otherwise, his life on land and at sea could not be more idyllic. His only complaint is that he is really bored with his royal duties. His good fortune is that the plot, which was developed in collaboration with Wan, Momoa, and Thomas Pa’a Sibbett, and written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldnick, features governmental councils and political factions reminiscent of the Star Wars prequels. However, these elements are completely sidelined in favor of setting the stage for an impending confrontation between Aquaman and his longtime enemy David Kane, aka Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Although he has already lost to Aquaman, the giant-helmeted Black Manta is still hell-bent on getting even with the Justice League member he despises for murdering his father. In his quest to outdo the superhero, he seeks out Atlantean technology that can repair his power suit. He finds it with the help of Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park), a scientist, but it also brings him into possession of Necrus, the weapon’s creator—a man who looks like a demonic-skeleton King Triton and who previously ruled the oceans’ long-lost seventh realm. Black Manta becomes incredibly powerful and vicious when he wields the Black Trident. In addition, it forces him to break into hidden warehouses in search of Orichalcum, a magical substance that powers his ship and, when burned, accelerates the acceleration of global climate disasters (and looks great doing it!). Necrus wants this substance badly since he wants to be freed from his frozen prison.

In Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the underwater environment is reminiscent of a mashup of The Little Mermaid and Avatar, complete with a band of musicians with fish faces, and several elements borrowed from Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. The plot, meanwhile, takes a page out of Thor: The Dark World, arguably the worst MCU entry to date, by having Aquaman reluctantly join forces with his villainous brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), who has grown brawny after reconnecting with the water, in order to fight this environmental threat. Orm had grown skinny while imprisoned in a desert kingdom. Because his older half-sibling deposed him from his kingdom, Orm is still resentful of their alliance and complains frequently about it. However, Wilson ought to feel resentment toward the proceedings because they offer him copious amounts of boring exposition and absolutely zero comedic material, with the exception of a joke regarding his being fooled into eating bugs by Aquaman.

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