Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

Black Manta seeks revenge on Aquaman for his father's death. Wielding the Black Trident's power, he becomes a formidable foe. To defend Atlantis, Aquaman forges an alliance with his imprisoned brother. They must protect the kingdom.

March 18, 2024 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

In the past few years since the release of Aquaman, a lot has happened to the DCEU. Starting off with 2013’s Man of Steel (think of it as DC’s Iron Man) there have been several new entries in the series.  And not all of them good. Though we all know the tale of Superman, it was told once again to kick things off…again. We’ve had enough Batman and Superman movies for a few lifetimes, so in 2019 we were treated to Aquaman. I enjoyed it. But since then we’ve had some other films that left a lot to the imagination. I’m looking at Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam just to name a few. While the DCEU never really (or hasn’t yet) taken off, its success has always paled in comparison to those of the MCU. I’m sure DC is aware of this and means to change it. However it’s been half a decade since we last saw our long-haired “man who can talk to fish”, so what’s new? And what’s he up to?

Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has vowed to destroy Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) for killing his father (events from the first film, apologies if this was spoiled). In order to do this, he harnesses an element – Orichalcum. It, obviously, has great power along with a link to a fabled lost kingdom (get it, it’s the of the movie!). The down side to this is that it speeds up global warming. To combat Black Manta from doing this Aquaman enlists the help of his brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson) to help the cause. Along the way we’re also given some history about the creation of a trident as well as the history of Necrus, which has become frozen in time. These are all quickly forgotten as we know what’s coming.

Having enjoyed Aquaman, I was somewhat looking forward to this, but you can usually tell in the first act if it’s going to be worth your time or not. For me, this wasn’t. And while it’s true that all the elements are there, they just didn’t seem to work well and play nicely with one another. It was more like a series of events that somehow made the final cut and is now a movie sequel. And this is one of the downfalls of the DCEU (and in more recent years, the MCU). The overarching storylines seemed to have given way to one shot action movies that “feature your favorite heroes from the DC Universe.” While not a total waste of time, I found myself looking at my watch way more than I’d anticipated. This one should have been left on the shelf.

Video: How’s it look?

It goes without saying that this film looks simply fabulous on the 4K format. As did its predecessor.  This is the kind of movie that was meant for home theater demo material and it delivers. Unlike the first film, this one doesn’t have multiple aspect ratios. We stick with the 1.78:1 HEVC 4K image throughout. The film really excels underwater where, obviously, the lion’s share of the film takes place. The bioluminescent shown in the Atlantean culture really takes advantage of the HDR, offering up deep, dark blacks while showcasing the digital effects. Detail is second to none as well, showcasing Aquaman’s tribal tattoos, the detail in the faces as well as some of the sea creatures that are featured. It’s a stunning image.

Audio: How’s it sound?

A stunning Atmos track is included which really makes use of every and all channels in your system. But, as is the case with the video, this is a film that’s made for reference-quality technical levels and it excels on the audio front. The storm that opens the film showcases the depth and range of your setup and given that most of the scenes have a low hum to them, the LFE are almost always constantly churning. Vocals are pure and crisp, as we’d expect and the atmospheric orchestra fills the room with a sonic “goodness” that’s sure to please. Again, this is the epitome of what an action/adventure film should sound like.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There are no supplements to be found on the 4K disc, rather they’re all relegated to its Blu-ray counterpart. So with that said, let’s begin.

  • Finding the Lost Kingdom ​- Go behind the scenes as director James Wan reveals how he​ and the cast and crew pulled off their biggest endeavor yet, an epic sequel to​ the largest grossing film in the history of DC​.
  • Aquaman: Worlds Above and Below​ – When the filmmakers set out to create a sequel that eclipsed​ the original in scale and scope, they knew they would have to send Arthur and​ the rest of the cast to all kinds of new wild and wonderful worlds both above and​ below the sea.
  • It’s a Manta World ​- Black Manta is more powerful than ever now that he has discovered the Lost Kingdom of Necrus and taken possession of the Black Trident. From inspiration to execution, filmmakers reveal how they leveled Black Manta up to the realm of supervillains​.
  • Necrus, The Lost Black City​ – Ages ago the great battle for the earth took place here, in this legendary lost Atlantean city. Discover how the filmmakers created the Black City from its “surface city” concept and its inhabitants: Undead Necrusians (Zombies), to its execution​.
  • Escape from the Deserter World ​- From idea to execution, explore how the filmmakers created this​ barren desert landscape and the Deserter Prison, how its creatures and​ inhabitants were brought to life, and how they planned and executed the daring Orm “breakout” sequence.
  • Brawling at Kingfish’s Lair ​- The Citadel is the last frontier of the ocean, a deep trench filled​ with sunken old ships, stacked high like a rusty city. From concept to​ completion, discover Kingfish’s Lair, a bar within, where the worst of the worst​ hang out​.
  • Oh TOPO!​ – The Tactical Observation and Pursuit Operative Octopus is a​ living legend and all-time fan favorite. Director James Wan and the filmmakers discuss​ the decision behind bringing TOPO back to the sequel and its promotion to​ Arthur’s on-screen sidekick.
  • Aquaman Through Fire and Water – Original motion comic from DC – Arthur Curry is constantly being pulled between two worlds – his responsibility as King of Atlantis and his mantle as Aquaman, defender of the surface. So, what happens when a nefarious attack puts those worlds on a collision course?
  • Atlantean Blood Is Thicker Than Water ​- At its core, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is a movie about​ brotherhood. Explore how Patrick and Jason bonded over the new unexpected​ alliance between Arthur and Orm and came together both as characters and as​ friends on and off set​.

The Bottom Line

I have to give the DC Universe credit as they are trying to make something happen. To their credit, the MCU set the bar pretty high. The film is disjointed with an overly complicated (yet utterly simplistic) plot. The 4K disc offers reference-quality audio and video, so it’s one for your home theater as well.

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