Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom 4K UHD Review: Inventive Action Sequences Keep the Story Alive

James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is funny, action-packed, filled with strong performances, and it is one of the most entertaining entries in the DC Extended Universe. At the opening, the jokes can sometimes be a bit puerile. In the first scenes, we see Aquaman (Jason Momoa) changing his baby’s diaper when an arc of yellow pee lands directly in Aquaman’s mouth. A few minutes later, he is almost hit by the waterworks again, but Aquaman leans to the side just in time; however, his wife, Mera (Amber Heard) uses her powers of water manipulation to turn the stream of urine right back into Aquaman’s mouth. It is a silly joke, but luckily, once the action gets started, the humor grows up a notch or two. This is a buddy flick with two brothers, Aquaman and Orm – the previous King of Atlantis (Patrick Wilson). Aquaman has that big bro noogie vibe while Orm is the constantly oppressed little bro.

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David Kane / Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) from Aquaman is back and stronger than ever now that he has found a green trident that is for some reason called the Black Trident, and is transformed into Black Manta. The trident will lead him to the Lost Kingdom of Necrus where he can find orichalcum. Black Manta blames Aquaman for his father’s death, and wants to take revenge on Aquaman’s entire family. Black Manta’s method for revenge is a bit roundabout. He wants to burn orichalcum because it leads to a greater greenhouse crisis, and the greenhouse crisis hurts the world in which Aquaman lives. In other words, it is an eco-terrorism plot that has a long way to go to accomplish its goals. That’s okay, though, this plan leads to the several scenes where Aquaman and Black Manta fight. These fights are exciting because of excellent choreography, strong visual effects, and just the pure physicality of the actors.

Aquaman needs help on this journey and his first stop is to rescue his brother Orm from the prison where he put him at the end of the first movie. Aquaman is always in a playful mood which grates on the contemplative, and quite reasonably angry, Orm. Aquaman’s wife, Mera, is hurt early on and spends most of the movie recuperating. In fact, all sorts of characters that one would assume should always fight alongside Aquaman conveniently disappear (Dolph Lundgren as Nereus and Nicole Kidman as Atlanna come to mind) so that Aquaman and Orm can bicker, and bond, alone. There are several scenes that do nothing but push the plot forward and the fists flying. Aquaman and Orm send TOPO (Tactical Observation and Pursuit Operative Octopus), obviously their best weapon, away to give Atlantis their coordinates. The point of Atlantis is its technological advancement, but apparently they don’t have GPS. 

All of this is to say that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is silly all the way through. It is that good silly that we felt during many early Marvel movies. Aquaman has always held the silly spot on the pantheon of great DC superheroes. He talks to fish; he has an octopus for a friend. He is silly, but he can fight, and is a family man, and has a heart of gold. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom knows what kind of story it is and who the audience is; and it all just works.

Special Features (Premium Digital Ownership, Blu-ray and 4K UHD):

  • Finding the Lost Kingdom – Behind the scenes with director James Wan.
  • Aquaman: Worlds Above and Below – Discussions with filmmakers concerning set design and location scouting.
  • Atlantean Blood Is Thicker Than Water (Blu-ray and 4K UHD only) – How Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson went from enemies to reluctant allies.
  • It’s a Manta World – Information on how Black Manta is made into a supervillain.
  • Necrus, the Lost Black City – How the filmmakers created the Lost Black City.
  • Escape from the Deserter World – How the Deserter World and Deserter Prison were created and used for Orm’s breakout.
  • Brawling at Kingfish’s Lair – From concept to completion, discover Kingfish’s Lair.
  • Oh, TOPO! – How the Tactical Observation and Pursuit Operative Octopus returns to the sequel.  
  • Aquaman Through Fire and Water (Premium Digital Ownership only) – Original motion comic from DC.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn’t perfect, but it is an above par superhero / buddy comedy with tons of extras. There is one mid-credits scene to watch for.

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Greg Hammond

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