First reviews for Aquaman 2 are here, and they're bad

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is getting rough reviews and on track to make less money than The Marvels domestically. Are superheroes over?
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Jason Momoa Patrick Wilson Aquaman 2
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Jason Momoa Patrick Wilson Aquaman 2 /

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the final film in what we've come to know as the DC Extended Universe, the collection of superhero movies that began with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel back in 2013. That burned itself out, and now James Gunn is coming to start from scatch. But we still have one last water-logged adventure left with the King of Atlantis. Does Aquaman's latest movie, once again starring Jason Momoa in the title role, ring out the DCEU in style?

According to critics, the answer is by and large no. The movie has a flimsy 34% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, with critics bemoaning that it feels tired and lazy. Let's start with some of the roughest critiques before moving on to the few positive comments, because it's the holidays and we want to end on a happy note:

  • New York Post: "You can tell from every second of the sequel just how disinterested DC Studios is in this film and in the future of this character."
  • Screen International: "At a moment when DC Films is pivoting to a new era, which will involve rethinking its iconic characters, this vestige of the previous regime cannot help but feel like an underwhelming afterthought."
  • The Film Verdict: "Rife with lazy one-liners that wouldn’t pass muster in a sitcom’s writers’ room, with gags like baby Arthur Jr. urinating in his dad’s face during a diaper change, a bit the movie loves so much it happens twice."

Other critics were in the same boat, but offered a little more constructive analysis:

  • Variety: "The movie, with all that combat, is staged on an impressively grand scale by the returning director, James Wan, but at the same time there’s something glumly standard about it."
  • BBC: "The trouble is that Momoa's selling point as an actor is how natural and physical he is, whereas nothing in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom seems real."

Even the positive reviews gave the movie only a passing grade:

  • USA Today: "The movie doesn’t sink nor swim: It’s aggressively fine, floating along as a breezy-enough outing – and a brotherly one, at that – without any particularly spectacular strokes."
  • "This is a fun movie, but not anywhere near a great one."

Although at least one person seemed to enjoy the film outright:

  • Inverse: "A Jules Verne pulp adventure juiced up on a cocktail of testosterone, adrenaline, and Guinness beer."

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom on track to open below The Marvels domestically

So the reviews are rough, but ultimately what matters to studios are ticket sales. The first Aquaman movie had a so-so Rotten Tomatoes score (albeit way better than this one), but it still made over a billion dollars at the box office, so what did the studios care?

But according to Deadline, Aquaman 2 is on track to make only $40 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend, which may mean it's take in less money in the U.S. than The Marvels, the recent bomb of the movie put out by Disney. Captain Marvel, the predecessor to The Marvels, also made over a billion dollars at the box office, but its sequel didn't even make back its budget. If you add on recent under-performing superhero movies like The Flash, Blue Beetle and Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and it's starting to look like the age of the cinematic superhero may really be over.

That said, we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. International projections for Aquaman 2 are much stronger, and have the movie earning up to $110 million overseas by Christmas Eve. Given that Aquaman 2 has a lower budget than The Marvels ($205 million vs 275 million), it has a good chance of at least making back its production costs. It's hard to see it soaring anywhere near the heights of the first movie, though.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom opens in theaters tomorrow. This will probably be Momoa's last turn as the character.

aquaman. Jason Momoa on the future of Aquaman: “It’s not looking too good”. dark. Next

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