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The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reviews are in: what the critics are saying

Critics have their say on the new Aquaman flick...

The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reviews are in: what the critics are saying
Andrew Williams
22 December 2023

Aquaman has returned to cinemas in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

It sees Jason Momoa’s underwater superhero team up with Patrick Wilson’s King Orm to take down Black Manta and save Atlantis. Classic DC nonsense.

How’s it going down with the critics? Not great, mostly. It currently sits at a fairly fishy 36% fresh over at RottenTomatoes, compared to the 66% score achieved by the previous Aquaman movie.

However, we think the Metacritic scores tell the real tale here. The first Aquaman scored 55%, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom 45%.

This new film may be a bit worse than the previous one, but if you liked 2018’s Aquaman, you may well enjoy this one.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom reviews

It’s a sentiment echoed by the biggest Aquaman stan of them all, Matt Zoller Seitz of

“This is a fun ride. Like its hero, it succeeds in spite of itself. And there's something to be said for a big-budget fantasy that knows what not to do, and when to stop,” he says.

He also notes that the action doesn’t hit the heights of the 2018 film, but the general conclusion is you are in for a decent time.

Matthew Jackson of the AV Club’s review is roundly positive too, despite highlighting the film’s “scattershot, often frustrating plotting.”

“Above all else, Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom is fun. It does not dwell on its status as a finale for a certain comic book movie era… Instead, this is a film that takes big swing after big swing, and leaves us filled up with spectacle, warmth, and a sense that the wait was probably worth it.”

Reviewers less willing to give Aquaman the benefit of the doubt basically call it an uninspiring mush of superhero stodge. And there are quite a lot of these reviewers.

“The bottom line is while the first “Aquaman” delivered lots of fun, much of that resting on Momoa’s brawny shoulders, this one doesn’t nearly as consistently,” says Brian Lowry of “The film and its stewards have done themselves few favors by coming back this late in the game with something so uninspired,” he says.

Empire gave the film a “bleh” 2-star review. “Despite a charismatic turn from Momoa and some fun frenemy banter, this is a disappointing send-off that sees the DCEU go out with a squelch rather than a splash. Fin,” reads James Dyer’s conclusion.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times 2-star reviews says it’s “basically a buddy comedy that features two of the least interesting villains in modern superhero movie history, lots of CGI creepy-crawly and/or slimy creatures and some underwhelming 3D visuals.”

While The Guardian really isn't a fan, noting in its one-star review: "Are we witnessing a Götterdämmerung of the superhero movie, as a bunch of B- to A-listers, dressed sheepishly in their tattered spandex, crouch on the green screen sound stage, furtively making calls to their agents between takes and wondering if they shouldn’t have held out against superhero films."

But you know what? Even the largely negative reviews mostly don’t suggest Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom is entirely bereft of fun. Come into the cinema with the right (lowered) expectations and you may still have a blast.