The release of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ marked the ending of the DCEU, which started ten years ago with the release of ‘Man of Steel.’ It is already public knowledge that the DC live-action universe will see a reboot in 2025 with the release of James Gunn’s new DCU film, ‘Superman: Legacy.’ Then again, while ‘Aquaman 2’ may be the end of an era, it was the perfect movie to end the DCEU’s ten-year run, and here’s why we believe it to be so.
‘The Lost Kingdom’ was a complete standalone sequel
The events of the original ‘Aquaman’ film may not have introduced Aquaman as a character. That happened in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.’ Eventually, Arthur Curry became a member of the Justice League in the ‘Justice League’ movie, which allowed us to get to know more about the character. But it was in the first ‘Aquaman’ movie where his story was given more attention.
‘Aquaman’ was the perfect origin story for the character despite the fact that the previous DCEU films had already introduced Jason Momoa’s character to fans. It was in that film that we got to know his background while also getting to know his character at a deeper level. Of course, it goes without saying that ‘Aquaman’ allowed Arthur Curry to rise to the throne of Atlantis after confronting his warmongering brother.
The sequel, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,’ continued Arthur Curry’s story. But while the first movie made references to Aquaman’s previous appearances, the sequel exclusively referenced the previous movie instead of actually making references to Aquaman’s other appearances in previous DCEU projects, namely ‘Peacemaker’ and the post-credit scene of the recent ‘The Flash’ movie.
In many ways, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ completely kept the storyline restricted to the ‘Aquaman’ movie franchise instead of making references to other films. The characters, events, and other related elements of the movie kept themselves boxed in the entire ‘Aquaman’ storyline.
Plainly speaking, the movie didn’t try to become more than anything that it actually was, allowing it to advance a storyline that focused entirely on Arthur Curry and the people involved in his character’s narrative. In doing so, audiences were able to enjoy the movie on its own without having to think about the other DCEU movies. Of course, it goes without saying that one must have seen the original ‘Aquaman’ movie to understand the themes and narratives of this film. But the important part is that the film restricted its characters and events to the ‘Aquaman’ franchise instead of branching itself out to the other DCEU projects and characters.
There were no cliffhangers or future speculations
The ending of ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ was satisfying in the sense that it left no room for doubts and questions. Its narrative focused on Arthur’s internal problems regarding his fitness as the king of Atlantis. Of course, he also had to contend with the fact that he needed to save Atlantis and the surface world from disaster while trying to work things out with his brother Orm, who played the role of the main villain in the first movie.
Arthur, Orm, and the rest of the leaders of Atlantis all had to work together in the end to avert a major crisis launched by Black Manta, who was possessed by the spirit of the corrupted Kordax, in an attempt to take revenge on Aquaman. Arthur and Orm bonded like true brothers so that they could work together to defeat Black Manta and Kordax.
In the end, Orm is able to get his redemption story and is allowed to have a second chance at life. Meanwhile, Arthur was finally able to find the strength he needed to become a true leader and fulfill the vision he had for Atlantis by revealing it to the entire world in the hopes that he could find a way for the surface and the seas to work together in harmony.
The film ended with a hopeful tone that allowed fans to believe that things were going to get better for Aquaman and his efforts at uniting two different worlds. At the same time, this hopeful tone didn’t do too much to allow fans to speculate about the future of the franchise. There was no room left for anyone to think about what could come next for Aquaman and the other characters of the franchise. Even Orm was allowed to have a happy ending.
Unlike the previous DCEU films, there were no cliffhangers in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.’ It ended the right way by concluding the character’s story arc and making sure that fans were left satisfied with how things worked out for Aquaman and the other characters in the franchise. The ending was satisfying and heartwarming, making it a great conclusion to both the franchise and the DCEU.
The DCEU ends with a splash
It goes without saying that the DCEU has struggled with its previous releases due largely to the fact that fans weren’t invested in this fictional movie universe anymore ever since the announcement that it was going to get a reboot. While the previous movies weren’t entirely bad productions, they failed to live up to expectations, especially at the box office.
On the other hand, while it is too early to tell whether or not ‘The Lost Kingdom’ is going to become profitable at the box office, it concluded with a big splash in the sense that the film was actually a lot better than its other DCEU predecessors. It wasn’t the best production in a general sense, but it was satisfying and enjoyable to watch.
‘The Lost Kingdom’ also ends in a manner that makes fans hopeful about the upcoming DCU because this film proves that Warner Bros. can actually do well with a superhero movie as long as the right assets are there.
So, in a way, the conclusion of ‘Aquaman 2’ and the entire DCEU marks the end of a short-lived superhero universe while also paving the way for a hopeful future for the reboot. We can’t ask anything more from a DCEU film that was supposed to put a period on an entire fictional universe.
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