Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom (2023)
When the first Aquaman came out in 2018, I was one of the few who really enjoyed that movie. It was silly, but it knew it; it was over the top, but it embraced it completely, and Momoa was just perfect for that role. Yes, he had a comedic side to him, but he also had a deep emotional connection to the pain of the character and that dark side of him, and the movie, in general, completely fitted James Wan‘s style, which this new one does not.
Fast forward 5 years, and it’s like everyone completely forgot what they did in the movie before. The movie tries so hard to be something that it’s not. It attempts to be more like a buddy cop comedy, but even with Jason Momoa (who has appeared in multiple films this year including Fast X) and Patrick Wilson being very talented, it never really works. It’s an uphill battle, and you probably get more laughs from the octopus.
The movie falters on multiple fronts, notably in its visual execution, which appears notably less polished than its predecessor. In particular, the underwater scenes lack the clarity and refinement of the first film, descending into a chaotic murkiness reminiscent of a bewildering action sequence from “Taken 3.”
A curious departure in visual aesthetics raises questions about potential experimentation with technology or a new creative team. Unfortunately, this experimentation has unintended consequences, notably evident in Patrick Wilson’s character. His underwater scenes are marred by a distracting and perplexing transformation of his hair, diminishing the seriousness of the performance.To fully comprehend the visual missteps, firsthand observation is recommended. The film’s struggle to maintain the visual coherence and narrative engagement established by its predecessor is evident in these peculiar choices, leaving viewers with a sense of disappointment and visual dissonance.
The rest of the cast is just as forgettable. Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, and sadly, even the Portuguese actress who was in the same room as me watching the movie, Jani Zhao, just feel like they are filling space, and there is no point or arc that is interesting for any of them. I know many people will be angry that Amber Heard still has kind of good screentime, but to be honest, my issue is not that she is there but instead that she just has no chemistry with Momoa and even her child in the movie. She is just a void of any kind of presence, and that is very much down to her lack of talent. Yes, she looks the part, but that is not enough.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II emerges as a singular, shining beacon of positivity amidst the cinematic landscape of this particular film. In a sea of performances, his portrayal stands out as a testament to his astute understanding of character dynamics and a nuanced approach to his craft. His discerning grasp of the intricacies inherent to his role is not only evident but masterfully executed, creating a compelling and authentic representation that resonates with viewers.
This is the last DCU movie, and honestly, it’s like everyone knew it wouldn’t really matter and didn’t care, which is sad because Momoa’s Aquaman was one of the best things of the DCU.⠀
And one last thing, after-credit scenes are for something important to tease, not for what this movie did.
Do you want to keep Momoa as Aquaman, or have him in a new role?