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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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‘Aquaman 2:’ the pitiful end of the DC Extended Universe

‘Aquaman 2:’ the pitiful end of the DC Extended Universe
Courtesy of Warner Bros

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” slated as the end of the DC Extended Universe and the sequel to the 2018 hit film “Aquaman” starring Jason Momoa as the titular character, finally released to a collective sigh. Nobody seemed to talk about the movie, and for good reason. It feels as bare bones and as bland as a superhero movie gets.

“Aquaman 2” follows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), Aquaman, as he takes on his new role as king of Atlantis (which he stole from his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson)) and balances his duties under the sea with his on-land duties to his wife, Mera (Amber Heard) and son Arthur Jr. All of this takes a turn when an ancient evil takes control of David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), also known as Black Manta, and threatens to bring back an ancient evil capable of destroying the ocean and the world.

The movie stands as the closing chapter of the DCEU, which spanned from 2013 to 2023. Audiences might think it would wrap up any loose ends and leave characters on satisfying conclusions, but it only succeeds in replicating the mistakes the DCEU made throughout its disastrous decade. The characters felt stale, the writing came off as nonsensical and the editing and choreography proved mediocre at best.


While the characters themselves leave a lot to desire, the performances given by all the actors make for a slightly less agonizing watch. All actors deliver the dry lines and ridiculous jokes in a witty manner authentic to their characters. Patrick Wilson gives the best performance as his arrogance constantly gets him into trouble and his gullibility makes for some of the funniest moments in the movie. On top of that, the brotherly bond between Momoa and Wilson works as the sibling rivalry permeates every interaction between the characters while maintaining a touch of familial love. It serves as a light in the dull darkness of this movie’s 124-minute runtime.

Warner Bros. peered over James Wan’s shoulder the entirety of this movie’s production. It feels generic and manufactured compared to Wan’s previous films. The moments that work best in “Aquaman 2,” like the nighttime kidnapping scene during a thunderstorm or the opening monster attack on Black Manta’s crew, are clearly under the full control of Wan while the rest of the story suggests severe interference from executives. 

Editing typically presents smoothly in superhero movies, but not in “Aquaman 2.” Many scenes felt robbed of key moments. Rather than delivering a thrilling film, the editing took the audience out of the movie and left them confused.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” not only stands out as a lackluster sequel, but a pitiful whimper for one of the most horrendous franchises in the last decade. Given that audiences are now entering an era of superhero fatigue, this movie does nothing new or unique to excite; rather, it does what DCEU films do best: fail to deliver. 

1 disappointing splash out of 5.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Ranc, Life & Arts Reporter