The reviews for James Wan’s “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” are in and the verdict is not good.
With 75 reviews counted, the film is sitting on a 39% (4.9/10) score on Rotten Tomatoes, a far cry from the 66% (6/10) of the first film.
Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down and this time is wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force.
To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm, the former King of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.
Here’s a sampling of review quotes which point to a range of problems with the film:
“The movie doesn’t sink nor swim: It’s aggressively fine, floating along as a breezy-enough outing – and a brotherly one, at that – without any particularly spectacular strokes.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today
“It’s the kind of film that wants to leave everything it has out on the field, and that produces a kinetic, often scattered, but nonetheless entertaining popcorn movie that truly gives us everything it has, and then some.” – Matthew Jackson, AV Club
“The movie, with all that combat, is staged on an impressively grand scale by the returning director, James Wan, but at the same time there’s something glumly standard about it.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“At the end of 124 long minutes, both film and audience are deeply immersed in something – but it isn’t seawater.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Not one part of this movie–the effects, the storyline, the emotional core–works. Everything is recycled from other superhero movies. It’s time to give the genre an at sea burial.” – J. Don Birnam, Above the Line
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom struggles with a juvenile tone, a pendulous script and a cast who can’t mount the shifting sands of those challenges. Another low point for the DCEU.” – Linda Marric, HeyUGuys
“At a moment when DC Films is pivoting to a new era, which will involve rethinking its iconic characters, this vestige of the previous regime cannot help but feel like an underwhelming afterthought.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“‘The Lost Kingdom’ becomes more and more formulaic as it digs into its mythos, as if the movie were caught between being its own thing and being nothing at all.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“The trouble is that Momoa’s selling point as an actor is how natural and physical he is, whereas nothing in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom seems real.” – Nicholas Barber, BBC
Returning to the roles they originated are Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Patrick Wilson as his half-brother Orm, Amber Heard as Mera, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus and Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin.
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is now opening in cinemas worldwide.