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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom


Stars: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Randall Park, Jani Zhao, Temuera Morrison. Voice: Martin Short

Director: James Wan

Mostly vilified by US critics, this sequel is in fact a jolly good 'Boys' Own' adventure, absolutely crammed with spectacular action and enough special affects to fuel an entire series of Star Wars films - and the Martin Short-voiced Kingfish looks like a nod to Jabba the Hut.

Forget the plot, and certainly forget the acting, some of the most primitive heard even in a Superhero film, and concentrate on the action, the amazing variety of settings, stupendous production design and a cornucopia of vividly-imagined creatures, most of which are aiming to kick Aquaman's butt.

A Polar earthquake which sees two scientists tumble down a crevasse, one soon to be devoured by a giant fan-mouth snake, leads an expedition headed by David Kane (Abdul-Mateen II) to discover untold undersea kingdoms. Kane finds the two halves of a black trident and when joined together, their power slowly possesses him, turning him into Black Manta, tasked with freeing the evil King Necrus, long imprisoned in ice, by obtaining the blood of one of the ruling family of Atlantis. And guess who (and his earthbound toddler son) is in the firing line.

Aquaman (Momoa) decides the only thing to do is enlist his long-imprisoned brother Orm (Wilson), although, when the latter keeps saying 'Stop calling me brother', we just know he'll address Momoa as that by the end. Together, they embark on a quest to defeat Manta and rescue Aquaman's son before Necrus is released.

Momoa and Lundgren in particular have too much dialogue, while Kidman and Heard have too little to do. The film's PC messages are rather cringeworthy and the tailpiece is an embarrassing mistake. No, just sit back and enjoy the action.

David Quinlan

USA/UK/Australia 2023. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by FotoKem.
124 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 21 Dec 2023