Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

12 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD

This instalment of the DCEU sees a number of endings; the first is with the DC Extended Universe itself, which began in 2013 with Man of Steel, and bookended with this, the sixteenth and final entry.

Also saying his goodbyes is Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, who is hanging up his groovy one-piece swimsuit for the last time. But does he go out with more of a splash or a drip?

boom reviews Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Should I tell him he has hair growing out of his ears?

Although reigning over Atlantis is important, Arthur (Momoa) is finding the role all rather dull. Thankfully, he has his young son to occupy him, who is proving to be more challenging than governing Atlantis is.

But this is the calm before the storm brewing, with an old foe, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-mateen II) hell bent on revenge, after Aquaman killed his father. He’s not strong enough to take him on as he is, but when he discovers the Black Trident, and the awesome evil power it possesses, it puts not only Arthur and his family in danger, but the whole world.

boom reviews  Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
What the hell are these bugs eating?!

This probably wasn’t the end of the DCEU that DC was hoping for, but their universe as a whole has been struggling for some time. Which is why they recruited the Marvel-lous James Gunn to take the reins on the next chapter of the now-called DCU, which will kick off with Superman next year.

That’s not to say that this film is bad per se, but it is remarkably safe.

James Wan, who’s primarily known for his work in horror (Saw, Insidious etc), returns having helmed the first Aquaman, which clearly saw the director struggling to find his sea legs in his first superhero flick.

To be fair, he does better here, but it’s such a generic narrative, it’s all too familiar. Its focus is on family, with Aquaman now a dad, with him relating to his own father on how difficult parenting can be, as well as a reunion with his brother Orm (Patrick Wilson). And then you have the revenge plot of Black Manta still upset by the death of his father by Aquaman’s fishy mitts.

But to break up the whole family thing, a generic plot involving climate change and the environment is thrown in just for good measure.

It’s also a CGI-fest, which of course you expect with this genre, but it does feel like overkill, with seemingly every frame tampered with. The result is a garish spectacle visually, that feels more related to Avatar than anything else.

All in all, it’s all pretty standard stuff, and does end the current DCEU with a definite soggy whimper.

The thing is, it’s probably just what the character deserves, who is yet another example of a fairly low-key superhero character being plucked from obscurity, in an attempt, specifically driven by commerce, to create a tent pole film and franchise, and failing. Not spectacularly, but enough for the studios behind them to lick their wounds behind the scenes.

The truth is, no one will care if there will ever be another Aquaman film or not. Ok maybe ten people might, but that will be the extent of it.

And as far as this one is concerned, it’s distinctly average, passes the time well enough, but if you missed it, as so many did, you really aren’t missing anything, with a kingdom that could have happily remained lost.

No doubt Gunn has his fingers crossed that his Superman will not only save the world, which we kinda know he will, but more importantly, save the DC Universe, which at the moment, most definitely needs saving.

we give this three out of five