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    How Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom Ends The DCEU As We Know It

    We should acknowledge that, by treating “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” as the swan song of the DCEU, we’re putting a lot of pressure on a blockbuster that was never conceived as anything more than a simple sequel to a smash hit. Having wrapped principal photography back in January of 2022, long before news broke on DC’s abrupt change in course, neither director James Wan nor anyone else involved could’ve ever anticipated the environment into which the movie would eventually be released. But with that caveat out of the way, it’s fair to wonder whether it somehow acts as a rewarding conclusion to a messy universe of movies and shows.

    For better or worse, however, “Lost Kingdom” largely ignores the chaos of the universe surrounding it — somewhat of a rarity within the DCEU overall — and focuses on telling a self-contained story about its titular hero. It’s actually a relief that the overall plot goes out of its way to avoid delivering another universe-ending conflict or timeline-shattering consequence should our protagonist fail, instead keeping things relatively low-stakes so that audiences never even find themselves idly wondering why the other members of the Justice League aren’t swooping in to help save the day. It might not feel like the most satisfying end to an entire franchise from that perspective, granted, but there’s something to be said for even a flawed movie (you can check out /Film’s review by Rafael Motamayor here) knowing its limits and not trying to be anything more than what it is.

    And what “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is, mind you, resembles our most lovable “himbo” superhero going out on his own terms. It’s not the DCEU ending we may have needed. But maybe it’s the one we deserved.

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