Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the sequel to DC’s 2018 Aquaman movie, landed on Philippine cinema shores today, December 20–just in time to spread a wave of astounding tidal cheer for the upcoming holidays. Directed by James Wan, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a gratifying 2-hour and 4-minute movie that brings an exciting array of developments, conflict, and enjoyable slapstick humor which makes this one of the few movies I highly recommend for a rewatch.
Since this is a sequel, it is best to have watched the 2018 Aquaman movie first since this closely ties with the lore and reprising characters from the former. While there is a short recap of the plot from the previous film, certain terminologies from the world-building of Aquaman are present and it might be a bit confusing to first time watchers and fans. Nonetheless, the plot and buildup of events are pretty straightforward and easy to grasp, albeit simple and not much eye-popping twists. But this movie proves that simple may be better–and paired with the heartfelt characterization of our hero protagonist and cast, the overall movie flavor just became even more delightful.
A Tale of Two Brothers and Two Tridents
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom continues the story of Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, trying to juggle his new life as a father of a newborn son and as the reigning king of Atlantis. Conflict comes in the form of Black Manta, who is still hellbent on taking revenge for the death of his father under the hands of Aquaman from the previous film.
Manta discovers a cursed Black Trident from his expeditions in search of the elusive city of Atlantis. He acquires unfathomable ancient malicious power from the Black Trident that enables him to wreak havoc throughout the globe. With the growing threat of Black Manta, Aquaman enlists the help of his imprisoned half brother prince, Orm. They would set aside their differences (and sibling rivalry) to save their home and peoples, as well as saving the world.
While this rival-siblings-working-together-to-fight-evil plot recipe is quite common in most films, it has been thoroughly shaped to delight and to tickle every moviegoers’ fancy for a lighthearted, yet action-packed, movie. There is just the right amount of action, conversation, and a handful of carefully referenced humor that will surely make viewers giggle. Surely a pleasant holiday movie.
The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom special preview has been shown via IMAX cinemas, bringing with it impressive visual effects and graphics which will certainly make your deep-sea explorations in the movie even more engaging. Aquaman’s subjects pop up against the background and the fluid graphics are even more pronounced for a better and realistic feel.
For eyeglass-wearing folks such as myself, it may feel a bit uncomfortable wearing two pairs while watching the film, so better make sure that the lenses of the IMAX glasses (and yours) are neat and clean. These can dampen the overall quality experience and I had to adjust my pairs a few times throughout the preview. Nonetheless, the underwater fights and CG are well done throughout the film.
My one gripe about the general aesthetic and production design may be the character costumes of some of the casts and the weirdly retro font and theme that the antagonists use in their fighting gear and equipment. They may be using ancient paraphernalia lost in the deep sea, but personally I think they just clashed horribly with the others. When you’re so used to the floaty, ethereal Atlantian aesthetics, seeing certain equipment and suits may feel unusual, but then again, it can be considered appropriate as polar opposites since villains usually are the mirror halves of the heroes.
It’s pleasantly fun. It’s wholesome and sweet. I would watch it again if I could. It’s fitting for a good holiday movie to watch with your folks and fellow superhero fans before Christmas. I am always in the market for a good humorous sibling dynamic and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom ticks all my good boxes for it! Unfortunately, there are no after-credits scenes, but be sure to stay a short while before the credits fully roll. It’s definitely worth it!
Catch Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in local cinemas starting today, December 20 as well as the immersive Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Tunnel Experience situated on the 3rd Floor Game Park, Entertainment Hall at the SM Mall of Asia.