‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ Recap and Ending Explained: The Importance of Brotherhood

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ may be the last of the DCEU movies, but it was able to deliver a good experience that left fans with a lasting impression despite the uncertainty surrounding Aquaman’s character. Delivering a fun and action-packed movie, ‘The Lost Kingdom’ concluded not only the DCEU run but the Aquaman storyline, going full circle with its narrative without leaving any room for questions about what is in store for the characters.

The concluding DCEU movie was a standalone experience that doesn’t have anything to do with any other DCEU project, and that is one of the many reasons why this was an experience much more enjoyable than some of the more recent DCEU movies. So, with that out of the way, let’s look at our recap of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ and a short explanation of how it ended.

Aquaman finds leadership boring

The start of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ was a quick recap of the things that happened in the first movie. These scenes also introduced the latest in Arthur Curry’s life after becoming the king of Atlantis four years ago. This time, he has to juggle his different responsibilities, including his job as a king and his more important roles as a husband to Mera and a father to Arthur Jr. 

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Then again, while Arthur and Mera spend more of their time in the Curry lighthouse on the surface, they also have to go back to Atlantis because they still need to rule the kingdom. The problem was that the council of clans was seemingly always against Arthur’s decisions, making his life as a king problematic. Leadership was a big responsibility that he believed he wasn’t cut out for, and his visions for Atlantis always found objections from the council.

However, Arthur relished his life as a husband and a father because he preferred a simpler life with his family. Of course, Thomas Curry also knows the importance of family, and that was why he told Arthur that, despite his differences with Orm, he was still his brother. This conversation with his father was one of the reasons why Orm was always at the back of Arthur’s mind during the events of the movie.


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Black Manta is still the biggest threat

While Arthur was juggling responsibilities as a family man and as a king, David Kane, also known as Black Manta, was still a looming threat. His goal was to kill Aquaman so that he could take revenge for his father’s death. As such, he sought Atlantean technology so that he could fix his power suit and find a way to exact his revenge. 

Kane employed the services of Dr. Shin, a scientist and researcher who was fascinated with Atlantis. Shin went to Antarctica to try to find a lost Atlantean civilization there, only for him to end up losing his colleague to a monster after they discovered an underground cavern that led to the entrance to an ancient civilization. There were similarities between this lost civilization and Atlantis, and it seemed like this civilization used to be a darker version of what Atlantis is. 

Kane and his company scoured the waters to try to look for anything that could help him kill Aquaman, only for him to encounter the very same monster that killed Shin’s companion. However, Kane stumbled upon a broken black trident that spoke to him. He put the pieces back together and saw a vision of an ominous presence making a deal with him. 

This entity promised Black Manta the power to kill Aquaman and destroy Atlantis in exchange for freeing him from his prison. It was this vision that governed Kane’s next actions throughout the events of the movie.

The problem with Atlantis’ political scheme

Five months after Black Manta recovered the black trident in Antarctica, Arthur learned from the council that there was a plague that was killing countless people in the seas. It was the very same plague that killed his mentor, Vulko. The council told Arthur that the plague was caused by increasing pollution levels due to the activities of the surface world.

Aquaman wanted to reveal Atlantis to the entire world so that they could work together with the surface to try to repair the damage caused by their activities. However, the council disagreed because they would rather go to war with the surface instead of working together with him. This forced Arthur to actually think about whether or not this leadership position was right for him.

Back home, Arthur and Thomas discuss the political problems over at Atlantis and how being a king was something that Arthur probably wasn’t cut out for because he failed Vulko, who told him that he was supposed to be the bridge between the surface world and the seas. Thomas, however, reassured his son that not giving up is already one of the most heroic acts a person can do.

Manta, on the other hand, had already been planning for months on how to bring about the fall of Atlantis. Using an ancient tech that was built by the very same civilization they found in Antarctica, Kane and his crew infiltrated Atlantis to steal orichalcum, which was the very same substance that powered the tech that he was using. However, it was clear that he had bigger plans for the orichalcum that he stole.


The Atlanteans responded to Kane’s infiltration as Atlanna and Mera sprang into action to prevent them from taking off with the orichalcum. Mera’s fight with Black Manta left her injured, as an angry Arthur tried to get to Kane. But the sonic cannon that Kane’s submarine was equipped with was far too troublesome for the Atlanteans because it messed with their entire system, causing them to suffer from immense pain.


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Arthur and Orm work together

Due to Arthur’s failure to address the concerns related to the surface, the council pushed forward the idea of taking executive powers from the king to make him nothing more than just a figurehead. But Arthur met up with King Nereus and Atlanna to discuss what they needed to do next before the council could strip him of executive powers. 

It was mentioned that the orichalcum that Kane stole was actually a power source that released a lot of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, prompting the Atlanteans to keep it hidden. Kane had been using the orichalcum for his nefarious schemes as he was burning immense amounts of this substance to heat the planet’s surface and eventually kill off the Atlanteans. But there was a deeper reasoning behind Kane’s actions, and that was what Arthur wanted to learn more about.

The problem was that Arthur didn’t know how to find Black Manta. He knew that the only person who could help him find Kane was his brother, Orm, because they worked together in the past. While Nereus was unsure of this decision, he decided to help Arthur by allowing him to use a stealth suit to infiltrate the Fishermen Kingdom and break Orm out of prison. Meanwhile, Atlanna allowed Topo, a modified cephalopod, to accompany him as his means of communicating with Atlantis. Atlanna also tells Arthur to tell Orm that she still loves him. 

Orm was weakened by the Fishermen, who limited his water supply just enough to keep him alive so that they could torture him. Arthur broke his brother out using the stealth suit and was able to convince Orm to come with him because the younger brother didn’t have a choice in the matter. After fighting off the Fishermen, Arthur and Orm are able to get to the sea, where Orm is able to regain his strength after rehydrating his body. 

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While on their way to the Sunken Citadel, which is a pirate haven run by King Fish, Orm was convinced that he needed to help his brother because, at the end of the day, he still cared about Atlantis and its people. But Orm thought that Arthur was doing a bad job at being king and that he should have just allowed him to stay on the throne years ago.

Still, the more important matter at hand was to get information regarding Kane’s whereabouts. Orm wanted to take the diplomatic approach to try to learn from King Fish where Kane was. However, it became apparent that aggressive negotiations were required. Arthur’s physical approach allowed him to learn from King Fish that Manta was over in the South Pacific in a dormant volcano called the Devil’s Deep.

Over at the Devil’s Deep, Manta was talking to the voice within the trident as it was urging him that he needed to press on with their plans. The orichalcum, it turned out, was being burned in a refinery that was releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to heat it up. This also affected the wildlife on the island, causing animals and insects to become monsters.

Believing that the trident was causing Kane to go crazy, Dr. Shin touched it to learn the truth behind Kane’s actions. However, he was afraid of going against Black Manta out of fear for his life. 


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The brothers were able to get to learn more about one another while they were making their way to Manta’s base. Orm learned that Arthur never wanted the throne at all and that the only reason he forced Orm to relinquish it was to save the surface world from Atlantis’ army. In turn, Arthur also got to learn more about his brother as it turned out that Orm’s father was the one who told him that Arthur was going to challenge him for the throne one day.

They start to realize that they aren’t supposed to be rivals at all. Arthur even told Orm to try living in the surface world and to eat normal surface-world food, such as cheeseburgers, while tricking him into eating a cockroach as well.

Eventually, the two were able to infiltrate the base, where they saw Dr. Shin, who tried to switch sides by telling them that the black trident was what was powering Kane and causing him to go crazy. But before he could reveal more about Kane’s plans, Stingray and the rest of Black Manta’s men arrived. The brothers were able to defeat the henchmen but struggled against Black Manta.

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In the fight against Kane, Orm accidentally touches the black trident and sees the very same vision that Black Manta and Shin saw. Manta attacked and injured Orm and was able to escape in time before King Nereus completely destroyed the base. Arthur tried to go after Kane but ended up getting stopped by the sonic cannon once more.

The Lost Kingdom finally revealed

The Atlanteans met up to talk about what they needed to do next. Orm revealed to them that he had a vision when he touched the black trident as he learned the truth behind the Lost Kingdom and the events that had transpired centuries ago.


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It turned out that Necrus, one of the kingdoms of the sea, was a powerful nation that thrived due to its use of orichalcum. Led by Kordax, Necrus was becoming the most powerful kingdom in the sea until Atlan intervened to tell his brother that the orichalcum was destroying the planet. Kordax, however, thought that his brother was jealous of his power, and that was what prompted him to forge the black trident, which turned him and the people of his kingdom into powerful monsters.

War between Atlantis and Necrus was inevitable. In the end, it boiled down to a fight between brothers. Atlan defeated Kordax and sealed Necrus in ice. Meanwhile, he used his blood on a magical seal that imprisoned Kordax for centuries.

Orm revealed that Manta was now looking to release Kordax from his seal using the blood of Atlan. The most vulnerable descendant of Atlan was Arthur Jr., who was over at the lighthouse when Kane arrived and took him after he wounded Thomas. 

Shin, however, thought that it was already the lowest of the low for Black Manta to use a child to accomplish his goals. He betrayed Kane and transmitted their coordinates to the Atlanteans. As Arthur and Orm were about to go save the day once more, Atlanna told her sons that they needed to trust and protect one another in what was a special moment between three family members who all shared the blood of Atlan.

Everything goes full circle

Manta approached Necrus and used his weapons to destroy the remaining ice that kept the Lost Kingdom sealed for centuries. The melted ice also allowed him to unleash the same army of monsters that Kordax unleashed against Atlantis centuries ago when Necrus went to war against them.

The sonic cannon, however, was still a big problem. Aquaman thought that the very same sonar frequency that marine animals used could be used to disrupt the frequency of the sonic cannon. The plan worked, and Aquaman’s marine friends were able to successfully destroy the sonic cannon and Kane’s ancient submarine.

Only Kane and Shin remained, and they were on their way to Kordax’s throne room to unseal him. But Shin refused to give Black Manta the baby and decided to betray his boss because he believed that Kane had become unhinged. Black Manta was able to get his hands on Arthur Jr. and was about to kill him before Arthur arrived to rescue his son.

aquaman vs manta

The fight was initially in favor of Black Manta, but Mera’s timely arrival allowed Aquaman to regain the advantage. But as Mera was making her escape with Arthur Jr., Kane launched the black trident right at her. Orm caught the trident before it could harm Mera and Arthur Jr. But he ended up getting possessed by Kordax, who had now switched from Kane over to Orm.

Kordax used Orm’s negative feelings toward Arthur against him so that he could force him to kill Aquaman. Orm successfully wounded Arthur, and the blood that was spilled was more than enough to break Kordax’s seal.

But before Kordax could escape his shackles, Arthur grabbed the black trident to connect his thoughts with Orm. He used his thoughts and feelings to convince his younger brother that they could work together to stop this evil entity from escaping and wreaking havoc.

Orm was reluctant at first but eventually released the trident so that he could free himself from Kordax’s manipulation. Arthur threw the black trident at Kordax, who caught it. Orm, however, gave Arthur Atlan’s trident as he launched it at Kordax, destroying the black trident and the villain in the process.


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Kordax’s death caused the entire Lost Kingdom to crumble. Manta was about to fall before Arthur offered to help. But Kane refused his rival’s help and decided that he would rather fall to his death before accepting pity from Aquaman.

The heroes were able to escape the destruction of Necrus. Arthur decided to allow Orm to have his freedom because his brother had redeemed himself in that final battle. However, because Arthur wants to convince the sea that Orm is already dead, he tells his brother to lie low. Orm, in turn, realized that Arthur was a good leader and told him that it was now up to him to lead in the best way he could so that the rest of Atlantis would follow his leadership.

After the defeat of Kordax, Arthur decided to have a discussion with the UN after revealing Atlantis to the entire world. His goal was to find a way to coexist with the surface world so that they could work together to fix the damage caused by the orichalcum emissions. Meanwhile, Orm was living a simple life and was trying out a cheeseburger for the very first time, as previously recommended by his brother.

The movie ends with Arthur delivering a message to the entire world that they could coexist with one another because he himself, as a son of both the surface of the sea, was the very proof of the fact that the surface and Atlantis could live in harmony.

This conclusion didn’t leave anything up to the imagination of the audience, as it was a fitting end to the DCEU’s final movie. There were no questions left unanswered or holes that needed to be filled by any movie in the future. It was a true ending to a great standalone DCEU franchise that never tried to tie things up with other DCEU franchises or tease audiences about what could happen next in the future.

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