No changes in the DCEU. The farewell party organized by comic book artists from Warner reflects the memories of all previous superhero house parties. The suspicion of a bad party no longer goes away on the way to the party. Internal quarrels, three rounds of tightening and a difficult atmosphere on the set are only the tip of the iceberg – the controversy lies deeper. The organizers debated Amber Heard‘s invitation for a long time. Some were persuaded to do so out of politeness calculated in Excel, others stood their ground, citing a petition signed by several million guests asking literally anyone else to come in her place. Ultimately, a strange compromise was reached – the actress playing Mera will sometimes float silently across the filming floor, but no one really wants to talk to her. Aquaman and Orm have buried the war trident and are making brews in the kitchen, Atlanna and Nereus are hard to see at all – they have locked themselves in a room and only come out for more corks. No one knows where Vulko, remembered from the first part, has gone , but there are rumors that he and the announced but absent Batman stayed at home for fear of a moral hangover. After two hours of backbreaking participation in this crony crap, it’s hard not to envy them.
Despite what comes next, the party in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is off to a great start. Aquaman, with a can of Guinness in his hand, gives guests a quick update on what’s been going on with him lately. And there was a lot going on. After taking the throne of the underwater land, the hero painfully collided with the surface of reality. There is little of the exciting imagination in kingship; his everyday life is dictated by the boredom of mundane (or maybe water-related?) parliamentary sessions and his helplessness in the confrontation with the Council of the Seven Kingdoms, which blocks his reform ideas. The raging fights and battles are only a melancholic memory, and shaping the country’s politics brings less joy than spending time with his newborn son; After several hours of monotonous work, the sight of a crawling baby is the only real reason to smile.
However, the idyllic repetition cannot last long. Black Manta is still alive, and with him a haunting need for revenge. The Black Trident he finds, a powerful ancient artifact, turns out to be not only a means to an end, but also a tool of communication with Kordax, enchanted in the ice of Antarctica, the demonic ruler of the Lost Kingdom. On the one hand, there is a threat to the embers of the home, and on the other hand, there is apocalyptic acceleration of the global warming process, thawing the evil king from the glacier’s embrace. For the ruler of Atlantis, this is at least two steps too far.
However, it is quickly revealed that the positive reception of Aquaman’s opening monologue is mainly due to Jason Momoy’s laid-back charisma. The promise made in the film’s announcement is inconsistent with the disappointing performance of the show itself. The only weatherman aboard the sinking ship resembles the string quartet from James Cameron’s Titanic, desperately distracting from the absolute catastrophe. Brave tactics sometimes work, but most of the time it’s hard to applaud them when only a critically thinking head sticks out from the sea of implementation problems. The sequel to “Aquaman” is like a game that was released too quickly and whose developers didn’t have time to properly and thoroughly test it. Both because the equivalent of “bugs” here are broken threads and strangely drawn, variable plot solutions, and because the spectacle worth over 200 million dollars is looked at with a grimace of physical pain.
The visual side shamefully refers directly to George Lucas’s “Star Wars” prequels. The plot, in turn, tries to strike an unhealthy balance between crude pathos, forced comedic ease and boring political intrigue. The multitude of hundreds of events and dozens of individual motivations turns out to be an unbearable burden for James Wan, resulting in regular resolution of key events outside the frame. Why is the mighty Mera barely involved in the conflict? Why can the mutant octopus Topo survive his journey through the Saharan desert unscathed? Why, when it becomes plot convenient, isn’t global warming the only way to resurrect Kordax? The audience of comic book artists can certainly accept a lot, but they simply do not deserve such a festival of speculations and throwing water.
By the way, we won’t see much water in the latest “Aquaman“. The decision, which could be compared to setting the entire “Guardians of the Galaxy” in New York, not only causes deep disappointment, but also raises further questions about the creators’ intentions. The risky idea could perhaps be repaid by playing with a “fish out of the water” perspective – Aquaman , a man of two worlds, and Orm , who despises the reality “on the surface”, create on paper an ideal duo for a comedic portrayal of cultural differences, breaking the spell of the fear of the unknown and taming otherness that is reluctantly treated. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the post-credits scene to fully realize this potential, because during the film itself, the land viewed through Wan’s lens is primarily unpopulated wasteland, undergrounds and a generic military base. Everything was staged so as not to accidentally bring out any interesting dynamics from the characters.
Perhaps in the context of the general form of superhero productions in recent years, the quality of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” should not be particularly surprising. The most loyal fans are increasingly leaving cinema buildings with a disappointing shrug, realizing that the profit-oriented repetition of plots is not compensated by the scale, weight, or even childlike joy of subsequent spectacles. Despite this, however, it was different with “Aquaman” – the jewel in the DCEU crown proved that despite a worse starting position, it is still possible to compete with Marvel. James Wan’s original had it all fiendishly engaging action scenes, unique, over-the-top conventions and the majesty of world exploration. The copyright trademark has been completely washed out. A balm for the wounded hearts of fans is the hope that the upcoming reboot of the universe will be closer to the quality of side projects such as “Batman“, “Joker” or “Suicide Squad“. Memories of the agonies of the DCEU era should be left alone.
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