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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

also known as “Akvamen 2,” “Akvamenas 2: Prarasta karalystė,” “Aquaman 2: O Reino Perdido,” “Aquaman a stratené kráľovstvo,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sci-fi violence and some language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi Action Adventure Fantasy Sequel IMAX
Length: 1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: December 22, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: March 12, 2024
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Companyclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

Evil man seeking revenge

Myth of Atlantis

A king trying to protect his family and kingdom from destruction

Mosasaur (great, short-necked marine “reptile”) — See: What is leviathan?

Learn about the amazing properties of WATER

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Featuring Jason MomoaArthur Curry / Aquaman
Patrick WilsonKing Orm / Ocean Master
Yahya Abdul-Mateen IIDavid Kane / Black Manta
Dolph LundgrenKing Nereus of Xebel, Mera’s father
Amber HeardMera
Temuera MorrisonTom Curry
Nicole KidmanAtlanna
Jani ZhaoStingray
Randall ParkDr. Stephen Shin
Martin ShortKingfish
Vincent ReganKing Atlan
Ben AffleckBruce Wayne / Batman
Indya MooreKarshon, an Atlantean
Amber HeardMera
John Rhys-DaviesBrine King (voice)
Pilou Asbæk (Pilou Asbaek) … Kordax
See all »
Director James Wan
Producer DC Entertainment
Atomic Monster
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

Prequel: “Aquaman” (2018)

It’s been four years since Aquaman (aka Arthur Curry) defeated Black Manta and stopped his Atlantean half-brother King Orm, the Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson), from declaring war on the surface world. Now Arthur’s world has completely changed. He’s become the King of Atlantis in addition to being married and becoming a father to the young Arthur Jr.

While being King of Atlantis hasn’t necessarily been peaches and cream, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Trouble has been brewing however.

According to the Atlantean Council members, plague after plague has been hitting seven kingdoms of the seas, causing great sickness and death. The Council fear this is on account of the rising toxicity levels in the water caused by the “land people,” but there is trouble on the land as well. Floods, tsunamis, and natural disasters are on the rise all across the world, and humans are absolutely baffled as to why. Arthur suspects there is something else going on.

Indeed, Black Manta (aka David Kane) has resurfaced (get it?), still seeking revenge against Aquaman for the death of his father all those years ago. David comes across something that may finally give him the edge in this fight with Aquaman… The Black Trident that contains dark magic—and dark magic always comes at a cost. For you see, The Black Trident is really just the legendary Kordax, the evil brother of King Atlan (the first King of Atlantis) trapped within the trident.

With the Black Trident in hand, Black Manta will be more powerful than ever. Will Aquaman be able to fight and defeat him all by himself? Of course not! It will take not just one Atlantean, but two Atlanteans. Well, perhaps one banished and imprisoned one… Orm.

After all, family is forever…

Context is everything when it comes to a superhero franchise. Whether you are a DC Comics or a Marvel Comics fan (I’m more of a Marvel fan, but there are heroes in the DC universe I like as well), it is important to understand why the DC Extended Universe is where it is.

The film executives at DC took a hard look at what Marvel was doing and said “Wow, we need to really step up our game to compete with Marvel.” It was a very tall task, but nonetheless DC Studios went to bat, well sort of (I’ll get to that in a minute).

So, “Man of Steel” (2013) was the first film in the DC Extended Universe (what they called their second go around of films after Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy). This was followed by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)”, “Suicide Squad” (2016), “Wonder Woman” (2017), “Justice League” (2017), “Aquaman” (2018), “Shazam!” (2019), “Birds of Prey” (2020), “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020), “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (2021), “The Suicide Squad” (2021), “Black Adam” (2022), “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (2023), “The Flash” (2023), and now “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (2023).

Within this universe, some of the films have been successes, some have been “meh” and some have been absolute “box office bombs” (“Black Adam,”“Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash”). After ten years, it seems we have reached the end of the DCEU with the final installment, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” So let’s dive right in (okay, I’ll stop).

I’m going to review “Aquaman…” as a standalone film, not compare it to its predecessor, well at least not too much. So let’s start with what people are coming to see an Aquaman film for and that is the overall quality of the action of the film. When it comes to action-adventure films there has to be a balancing act between the action and the adventure, and I’m not sure “Aquaman…” finds that balance, as there’s WAAAAY too much action and not enough time for the adventure. I felt like I was getting bashed in the head by action sequence after action sequence. Every time I thought I could take a breath and look up from my clipboard, another fight sequence would break out, and I would scream to myself quietly, “COME ON!”

The bigger problem isn’t even so much the violent scenes themselves but how MUCH and how OFTEN they occur.

However, the biggest problems of the film lay in the final half of the movie. First, without spoiling too much (though apologetically I have to a bit), there is some occultic content involved. There are discussions of dark magic, possessions, and we witness some demonic, cursed Atlanteans that attack characters.

Secondly, the wokeism in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is heavy. Global warming, environmentalist and climate change alarmist messages are heavily ingrained and preached throughout the entirety of the film. It seemed like every 15-20 minutes I heard a character either reference “the land people are to blame for our crisis” or “the land and sea can never work together” or there would be discussions about pollution of the sea or watch the destruction of the climate.

I mean, I get that this is a movie that has oceanic themes surrounding it, but really, we don’t need leftist-climate change “we are the world” messaging in films ad nauseum.

Cinematic quality wise, the performances are about average. Jason Momoa gives the audience a few laughs, as per usual, but nothing to really write home about. Patrick Wilson also gives a good performance.

However, the film is saturated with large amounts of CGI. I mean it’s incredibly noticeable, even in moments where CGI didn’t really need to be used (such as the Atlantean or Queen Mera’s attire).

Content of Concern

VIOLENCE: (Note: I didn’t list every violent scene. The list would be about 3 pages long. This just covers most of the content.)…

There are scenes involving gunfire, kicking, fistfights, etc. Someone is severely attacked and receives third degree burns. An Island is scene being destroyed with people on it. Characters are stabbed. A house is burned. A baby is kidnapped. A sub explodes with people in it. Monsters are impaled, and there are two more intense prolonged fight sequences. Another character is killed. Buildings crumble around people. A prisoner is abused and electrocuted.

We see a dream sequence with Aquaman’s family in peril and his house burning. Pirates violently throw people against crates. Aquaman fights pirates. People are tossed around by a monster. An earthquake causes several people to fall into a deep ravine. A squid-like monster grabs a character (we hear him scream as he is dragged away). This same monster is later seen attacking and throwing around other individuals.

A trident electrifies and possesses someone. A sonic weapon causes an Atlantean weapon to turn around and attack Atlanteans. A barge crashes through an Atlantean city. Someone is severely wounded by a character. Prison guards are shot at during an escape. Guards are knocked out and some are speared through and killed. There is a brief brawl underwater. A couple explosions blast characters backwards.

VULGARITY: F*ck (1) (cut off), D*ck bag (1), Sh*t (3), H*ly Sh*t (1), B*ll-Sh*t (1), s*ck (1), Sh*thole (1), A** (4), A**es (2), A**-hole (1), SOB (1), Cr*p (1), “tongue out of his butthole”

PROFANITY: G*d-d*mn (1), D*mn (1), H*ll (8).

SEX: None, but a newborn urinates on someone twice (nothing graphic) and an octopus urinates on someone.

NUDITY: Mera’s outfit shows some cleavage. A baby is seen being born in the ocean (we see him naked with his umbilical cord).

ALCOHOL: There are a few scenes involving alcohol

DRUGS: Someone is seen taking prescription drugs

OCCULT: Two people are possessed by Orphex who lives within the Black Trident. *SPOILER* There is talk of Orphex using dark magic to create creatures to obey him. King Atlan later uses his own blood to cast a spell to freeze Orphex and the creatures in the water.” Blood magic is used a second time in the film. The Necreus creatures (creatures created by Orphex) come to life briefly.

OTHER: Someone says they are good at breaking heads. We see a skeleton frozen in ice. Someone bites the head off a cockroach.

Lessons

Black Manta throughout the entirety of the film only desires one purpose, to destroy Aquaman and everything he stands for. “I will kill Aquaman, his family and burn his kingdom to the ground to avenge my father, even if I have to make a deal with the Devil to do it.”

Revenge stems from anger, hatred and, sometimes, a need for justice or a need for swift relief. When all that hate and anger festers and festers, and when we seek vengeance, we allow an opening for the Evil One to try and deceive and make us forget about who is the real Judge and who is truly in control, the Almighty God.

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” —Deuteronomy 32:35

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” —Leviticus 19:18

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” —1 Thessalonians 5:15

Final Thoughts

In a recent interview, when asked about whether Jason Momoa would be interested in reprising Aquaman should the Aquaman series continue with the new DC Universe (the next chapter in the DC Cinematic Universe), Mr. Momoa was quoted as saying “I will always be Aquaman.”

When he said that I thought, I honestly can’t think of anyone better to play Aquaman. After Mamoa having served in the role in four films now, it would be like trying to recast someone to play Thor other than Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Yet, if the Aquaman series truly is concluded, then for all intents and purposes I guess all good things truly do come to an end. I’m not sure, though, if this is the end everyone is hoping for. When the finish came I said, “So that’s it? That’s how it ends. Anticlimactically?” Maybe that’s for the best. I mean the violence is incredibly frequent and sometimes graphic, the profanity and vulgarity is moderate, but the film has very “woke” and occultic themes throughout.

In short, This film is NOT for children, maybe teens. It’s definitely not for Christians. With the plethora of films that are coming out this Christmas, there are much better films to go see. “Aquaman…” isn’t it.

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Wokeism: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Occult: Moderately Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderate
  • Nudity: Mild
  • Sex: Mild
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I’ll say up front that DC is not equal to Marvel. However, Aquaman 2 was a great film, and I actually liked it better than the first one! It has all the usual offensive stuff that superhero movies have, so I won’t go into that, but otherwise—thumbs up! Go see it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Chrystal, age 47 (USA)

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