Aquaman review

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was a terrible movie

By Olivia Richman


Dec 27, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

It’s clear by now that the majority of moviegoers — even comic book nerds — are experiencing superhero fatigue at the hands of Disney and beyond. And it’s not only because there are too many films and television shows — it’s because most of them suck, including Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

I told friends earlier this year that I didn’t want to see any more superhero movies, especially Marvel, but they all knew that was a lie because I have the AMC Pass. I recently accepted an invite to see Aquaman in 3D, and it was predictably bad in all the ways I assumed before it began.

Aquaman was void of anything of substance. It had the same overdone and extravagant CGI atmosphere as previous superhero films without any creativity or meaning. It had all the bad dialogue and cheesy one-liners, with characters giving us excruciatingly obvious exposition and laugh-out-loud moments that were meant to be dramatic, but it was impossible to get past the cheesy, generic words I was hearing. And the CGI action was bland, uninspired, and had me falling asleep.

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom offers you nothing

Aquaman had everything you need to make a movie. It followed the superhero formula. But it offered nothing more and ultimately didn’t need to exist. It added nothing to my life, and I am forgetting about what I saw mere hours after watching it as I attempt to write this review.

The film centers are Aquaman, played by Jason Mamoa, as he attempts to figure out how to balance being an above-ground father with being the king of Atlantis after banishing his brother. Atlantis is sick of the pollution and destruction up above and wants to destroy humanity, but Aquaman is hoping to unite the two worlds together and create peace, harmony, and love.

Meanwhile, Manta is a one-note villain who wants to kill Aquaman because he killed his father in the first Aquaman film (which I couldn’t remember because it was so boring). He gains some corny power with glowing green eyes from the Black Trident and has all of his unwilling scientist henchmen search for Atlantis so he can kill Aquaman and then… Kill other people? I don’t know.

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In an attempt to free his brother and journey around a bunch of CGI landscapes, Aquaman makes a lot of snappy one-liners, beats up baddies, and escapes from giant plants. He also verbally abuses a really helpful and adorable octopus for some reason. I can barely remember what he did or why because it was all nonsense, including him knocking over a statue and saying, “Kings build bridges,” and having a very over-the-top moment with his brother that was supposed to be sentimental but had me laughing until I was in tears.

I also noticed there were basically no female characters of importance. I’m not one to usually care, but it was a bit blatant, especially since they took Amber Heard’s parts out. Despite being the queen of Atlantis, all we really saw was her run-in to save her baby one time, the old mother-protects-child trope. But even then, she was almost murdered and was told to run away so she could basically never appear in the movie again. Awesome.

There is no soul or depth to this film despite taking place in the ocean. It’s completely bland and relies on colorful, random worlds to keep mindless audiences staring at the screen. There are some pop culture references here and there, including the mention of Loki, to make fanboys clap. But even that is probably not enough to redeem this abysmal nothing of a film.

Save yourself the time and just don’t bother unless you just enjoy seeing Jason Mamoa smile a lot or want to be beaten over the head about global warming in an obvious way that will leave you wanting the world to burn, so no superhero movies can ever be made again.


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