I was expecting Aquaman 2 to be a complete disaster due to all the rumors, reshoots, and test screenings; however, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that is not the case and the flick is actually a fun superhero movie.
As I went over on TikTok, the movie is all Jason Momoa. He really brings himself to the film. He drinks Guinness with his dad, drives motorcycles, and is badass, cool, and funny all at the same time.
If you are a fan of Momoa, you’ll definitely like the movie.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom also shares a similar tone with the first Aquaman released in 2018. This isn’t Zack Snyder’s Aquaman. It’s James Wan and Jason Momoa’s version. Arthur jokes around a lot, he has fun with his brother, played by Patrick Wilson (there’s a Loki, joke lol), it’s a buddy comedy just like Walter Hamada said. It’s also more of a comedy than the first movie, I suppose something more along the lines of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok.
Wan does a good job of catching viewers up to speed, too, as it has been five years since the first one. Momoa starts off the movie with a narration and then scattered throughout are flackback scenes from the 2018 Aquaman. They don’t overdo it, and while watching you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I remember now.”
The story is decent enough. We’ve seen it all before, but again it’s at least fun. It’s your “typical bad guy gets powered up by another bad guy type of story who is the true villain. Good guys have to team up and overcome the odds to win.” Yeah, that’s what comic books and superheroes are all about and there’s nothing wrong with that.
How about the CGI? Similar to the first Aquaman, this one also has a lot of special effects. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really tell if they were good or bad. As I went over in my review video, I found the color palette of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom to be way too dark. It should have been a lot brighter to fit with the tone, again like what James Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and 3. As I said, I normally go see movies in Regal’s RPX theater, but Warner Bros. is holding those for Wonka. So instead of RPX, I had to go to a smaller local theater. I don’t know if that is the reason why the colors look so monotone or what (moreso the underwater scenes), but again, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom definitely should have had a brighter color scheme. I think I remember the first Aquaman from 2018 being a lot brighter, too. It’s possible the darkness could have been used to hide some wonky CGI in the sequel.
The music score was also pretty good. The hero music was pretty typical and sounded familiar. The music used for the villain-type scenes was pretty cool and I found myself humming it to myself whenever I knew it would be coming.
*Slight spoilers follow*
So while watching, due to the leaks and rumors, what I was particularly paying attention to were the claims surrounding Amber Heard and that she was either cut or the role of Mera had been reduced. I was also curious about the baby getting killed, the use of Batman, and the rumored cut scenes.
Regarding Amber Heard, yeah, she’s in it a lot, at least a lot more than rumored. She is in the first 25 minutes of the movie, then she gets injured and returns in a big way at the end of the film. That fits with various reports. I’ll also add if they ever considered completely cutting Amber Heard due to the Johnny Depp stuff, they didn’t do that at all here. Honestly, using her the way they do probably is the best cut of the movie. She was in the first film, she’s the wife and mother, so it wouldn’t make too much sense to completely remove her. That said, her showing at the end is pretty big: she saves Arthur and blasts the villain. Hey, she’s the mom, right? Amber Heard also wasn’t a part of the press for the movie and the Warner Bros. press site has no official images of Mera, so there is that.
Speaking of the villain, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays a great villain, Black Manta, and he will be missed, too. So as Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson are doing the buddy comedy thing, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is the opposite, playing the serious character. Much like the first movie, I also found myself routing for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in this film. He’s supposed to star in Marvel’s Wonder Man which is said to be rather goofy, so that will be quite different than his take on Black Manta.
Regarding the baby, I’m so happy they didn’t kill the baby. There’s a scene where it can happen and I’m like, “Don’t do it!” and they didn’t. Killing the baby would not have fit with the tone of this movie at all and would have completely ruined everything.
And for Batman, yeah, no Batman. With the DCEU ending, I wasn’t expecting Batman to make an appearance. Michael Keaton was said to be involved in a scene, then it was Ben Affleck, or vice versa, whatever. The original plan was to continue to have Affleck as Batman following The Flash as part of a Batman Multiverse adapting Final Crisis. Aquaman 2 was originally supposed to come out prior to The Flash. So Aquaman 2 would have first had a Batman scene then The Flash would have ended with Ben Affleck lost in the Multiverse leading to Affleck’s Batman movie. So with the DCEU all done for and Gunn rebooting things, of course, Batman wasn’t going to appear in Aquaman 2.
The rumored cut scenes? It was said they weren’t going to keep that United Nations scene in Aquaman 2 due to all the politics; however, it’s used at the end. Yeah, it’s super cringe climate change garbage but at least it’s only at the end (it’s sprinkled throughout, too, but they at least reveal who is really behind the climate-changing stuff). I think since it’s the last DCEU movie, they didn’t spend much on marketing and don’t expect it to make any money, they said ‘what the heck’ and included the United Nations scene as well as Amber Heard.
Aquaman 2 also has a post-credit scene, which is completely pointless. It’s a reference to an earlier scene involving Momoa and Wilson, but why even bother including it?
Final thought: If you’re looking for a fun superhero popcorn movie that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is worth a view. Looking forward to your Lobo in the DCU, Momoa!