One of the major themes of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ is related to Aquaman’s struggles with his position as the leader of an entire kingdom. It seemed like a heavy and mundane task to him, especially when he knew that not everyone was on board with his brand of leadership and his vision for Atlantis. In the end, however, Aquaman pushed through with his plan of allowing Atlantis to work with the rest of the world. So, why did Aquaman want to reveal Atlantis to the surface?
Aquaman was meant to be the bridge between two worlds
In the first ‘Aquaman’ movie, we were introduced to Arthur Curry’s background and origin story. He was born the son of Thomas Curry and Queen Atlanna of Atlantis when the two fell in love years ago. Thomas was a simple lighthouse keeper living on the surface. Meanwhile, Atlanna fled from Atlantis in the hopes of escaping a loveless marriage. The union resulted in Arthur’s birth, making him the son of a surface dweller and of Atlantean royalty.
Eventually, Vulko, one of the top advisors of Atlantis, found Arthur when he was just a young boy and trained him. He taught him everything there was to know about Atlantis and his heritage so that he could eventually go there and take his place as a prince or even as the king of the entire Atlantean kingdom.
Years later, Aquaman was placed in a position that required him to take the throne away from his warmongering brother Orm to avert a war between Atlantis and the surface.
In doing so, Arthur ascended to the throne of Atlantis, as his mentor envisioned him to become the bridge between the surface and the seas due to his connection to the two worlds. While that may be true, things didn’t work out well in the four years he spent on the throne.
During the events of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,’ it was revealed that Arthur struggled with the political side of being a king because there were plenty of politicians who were looking to undermine his leadership position. The council of clans almost always tried to veto all of his decisions as king, paving the way for a mundane and boring leadership role. Arthur seemingly didn’t enjoy being king due to the political aspect of the job.
Nevertheless, Aquaman accepted his responsibility as the protector of Atlantis. It may have been true that being king had its own internal problems, but he still needed to protect his people. During the events of the sequel movie, it became apparent that one of the best ways for him to protect both Atlantis and the surface was to try to allow the two worlds to meet and work in harmony.
Still, the council members were more willing to go to war with the surface instead of working with humans. This made life troublesome for Arthur, who was struggling to find the perfect balance between the different roles that he needed to play in his life.
Then again, as pointed out in the movie, a great king builds bridges. Arthur knew that he needed to be the bridge between two different worlds because he was the only one who could unite both of them, being a son of both the surface and Atlantis. Near the end of the movie, he finds the strength and motivation to bridge both worlds when Orm, his younger brother, gives him his blessing to be king, believing that Aquaman is a true leader in every sense of the word.
The two worlds need to work together
Of course, it also goes without saying that the events of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ warranted the unity of both the surface and the seas. During the events of the movie, Black Manta caused damage to the planet’s atmosphere when he burned immense amounts of orichalcum to melt the ice caps of Antarctica, which encased the entire Lost Kingdom of Necrus in ice.
Manta’s actions harmed both the surface and the seas because the greenhouse gasses emitted by the orichalcum damaged the planet’s atmosphere and poisoned the waters, causing a plague to break out in the different sea kingdoms. This very same plague even killed Vulko off-screen. But the problem was that the council didn’t know that Manta was responsible for the rising temperatures of the atmosphere, opting to blame the activities of the surface dwellers for this disaster
Aquaman and his allies were successful in preventing the orichalcum from further damaging the planet’s atmosphere. They also defeated Black Manta and the evil king of Necrus, Kordax. However, the damage done by the orichalcum was already too great for either the surface or Atlantis to handle.
Knowing that a concerted effort was required to fix the damage caused by Black Manta, Aquaman stepped up as a leader and unilaterally decided to reveal Atlantis to the surface world and set up a meeting with the United Nations.
At the same time, he proposed a joint partnership between the two worlds because he knew that the resources of the surface and the technology of Atlantis could help reverse the effects of the greenhouse gasses that damaged the planet’s atmosphere. In doing so, he was able to build the foundations of a possible bridge between the two worlds, thus living up to Vulko’s vision for him.
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