Waterlogged

Less Aquaman than Captain Planet, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom piles on climate change fears in a way that feels wholly ‘90s in its approach, albeit with more grandiose digital effects. Lots and lots of digital effects.

There’s digital hair when underwater. That looks weird. But then ask yourself, does a talking crab voiced by John Rhys-Davies look that much weirder? Or the seahorses, whales, and underwater kingdoms? Not really. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom at least goes all-in on absurdity without once apologizing for it.

Superhero fatigue is real, but that’s not inherently Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s problem

In some sense, this movie is fun. Jason Momoa does all that he can in breaking down the traditional political system of Atlantis as king, acting out like a frat boy but also getting everything right. That’s what superheroes do. Underneath the gloss and absurdity is a script that espouses forgiveness and family, blandly simplistic and familiar. Maybe Aquaman will someday meet Dominic Toretto from the Fast & Furious series and both can sit down to a beer while they discuss family.

During Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s action (of which it appears to have unending supply) lots of stuff happens. Much of it feels inessential – it’s there because audiences will otherwise find it boring, which is also a sign that just maybe the script is boring on its own. Look away from the screen, let the sound of rushing water, explosions, and crumbling ice surround you and the end result is the same. Scenes of consequence burn through in the opening act. After that, with the setup delivered, things fight. Some use lasers, some tridents, others fists or tentacles. Whatever the case, it’s long and tiring.

Superhero fatigue is real, but that’s not inherently Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s problem. Certainly, it wasn’t for the first enjoyable Aquaman; the introduction is far more interesting than the follow through. This sequel though is unevenly structured, and after waiting two hours for the real big bad to break free, he dies in under a minute, leaving the entire film feeling wasted. As the “kind of/sort of but not really official but it is end to the DC universe” movie, it’s a rightful send-off of jumbled drama and sci-fi fantasy that never seems to decide between the genres, and it’s so goofy, there’s no room for genuine emotion when it does happen.

Video

From a vivid 4K source, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is constant reference material. The amount of texture and definition in the frame is nothing short of magnificent. Sharpness doesn’t waver from an immediately established peak, even underwater. What that lacks in logic, it makes up for in pure clarity.

While not persistently colorful, the saturation and vividness do make a tremendous impact. Aquaman’s gold armor, green pants, glowing seahorse – all of it looks dazzling.

In addition, there’s a beefy Dolby Vision pass bringing intensity galore. Light cuts through dark water with vivid beam. Costumes, with bio-luminescent-like frills, look striking. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn’t the brightest disc, but it’s pleasing and satisfying. Perfect black is common, adding to the brightness’ bite.

Audio

In Atmos, the positional effects are top tier. Water bubbles and flows through the soundstage. Ice cracks overheads. Voices bounce between stereos and rears readily and accurately. During action scenes, characters thrown or swimming or flying jump about, hitting every channel with judicious overhead support too.

While the first Aquaman became an LFE reference disc, this sequel steps back, if only slightly. There’s plenty of depth here, and enough to show off, but the original disc is still the winner. On its own though, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is aural spectacle anyway, and bickering about a few decibels of LFE punch seems minor.

Extras

Seven generic featurettes focus on specific scenes and characters. They’re standard EPK fluff.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s noise factor is endless, and aside from a few moments of comic glee, it’s just a lot of technical fluff.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 48 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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