Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is coming to streaming later this month.

Admittedly, it was not the film many wanted it to be. I’m sure when the DC Extended Universe started, Zack Snyder, DC executives, and fans envisioned an ending quite a lot different than the one in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — which barely referenced the larger DCEU and was basically a middling standalone sequel to the first Aquaman film starring Jason Momoa as the undersea king.

The Lost Kingdom, features nearly every star of the first film, including Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Diolph Lundgren, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Kidman, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as an even-more-powerful version of Aquaman’s arch-nemesis Black Manta. In the film, Manta finds an ancient “Black Trident” which he uses to take his revenge against Aquaman and the kingdom of Atlantis.

AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM
Warner Bros.
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It was a totally solid premise for a sequel; one that was definitely set up by the first film. But somewhere between concept and execution (which reportedly underwent significant reshoots), the project kind of became a mess. As I wrote in my very mixed ScreenCrush review...

As long as Momoa and Wilson keep bickering you can almost convince yourself that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a good movie. But their reunion doesn’t get as much screentime as it should, and there are a ton of scenes dedicated to Abdul-Mateen’s one-note villain and his relationship with a morally-conflicted scientist played by Randall Park, who somehow went from a cameo in Aquaman to maybe the third-biggest role in this sequel. Wan devotes a lot of time to Park’s Dr. Shin debating whether or not to help Black Manta; all of it is lifeless and exhausting, and it leaves less room for the visual imagination and freewheeling fun that made the first Aquaman a memorable superhero movie.

So it’s not a masterpiece. But hey, if you already pay for Max, you can watch it at not additional cost. All you’ll lose are 124 minutes.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom premieres on Max on February 27. That’s one week from today.

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