HOLLYWOOD—It truly sucks when a ton of critics pan a movie because they’ve heard early buzz from others. For almost a year I have heard nothing but bad things about the much-anticipated sequel to Warner Bros. blockbuster for “Aquaman.” Well, it is here “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and I had one hell of a fun ride. Would I say it was better than the original? No, but it was a damn satisfying sequel in my opinion.

Jason Momoa is back to portray the fish man of the sea, whose comedy has been upped just a bit for this sequel. The laughs in the first flick landed a lot better than some of the jokes in this second go-around. They just felt a bit forced and that didn’t work for me as a viewer. Those scenes with Momoa and his baby boy were just a tinge cringe for me, but once you get past the here’s what has been happening in my life portion of the film things take off and never look back.

There was so much discussion about Amber Heard’s appearance in this sequel and people need to chill. Is Mera as potent as she was in the first flick? Absolutely not, and I will admit Heard was one of the reasons I enjoyed the first film so much to be honest. Her presence here is felt and she does solid work as the supporting wife and character as she is needed to push the narrative in the direction that it heads. However, the big standout is Patrick Wilson, as Orm. Yes, you may remember him as the villain in the 2018 flick, and his character just works so well in this sequel.

He is a scene stealer and drives so much of the narrative it would have been a treat if the reveal that Arthur aka Aquaman (Momoa) had to work with his half-brother this time around wasn’t spilled or kept more of a secret because it brings an element of surprise to the movie that keeps the audience tuned in. I hate to say it I found myself rooting a bit more for Orm compared to Aquaman himself. Now the villain, Black Manta aka David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) isn’t as captivating as Orm was in the first flick. He works, but I want my villains to feel like a threat to my hero and I felt a wink of it, but the narrative never pushed beyond that slight wink in my opinion.

Black Manta wants to punish Aquaman for killing his father in the first flick and while the revenge tale is a common motif in superhero flicks, I’ve just seen in done better before. It is not dismal, it just isn’t spectacular. Randall Park also shines as Dr. Stephen Shin, a scientist who works for Black Manta who delivers some serious laughs in the movie and is a character that is quite fun to witness on the screen. I actually enjoyed Kordax, who is the evil spirit of the Black Trident that Black Manta gets his hands on. That villain posed a serious threat to our hero and his friends and he should have been explored just a bit more to deliver that punch to the viewer.

Director James Wan who helmed the first flick, helms the sequel and does a wonderful job with the visuals that place the audience in an underwater palace that is captivating to watch. The action sequences are stunning and potent throughout the entire movie, so the film earns major points for not disappointing there and the fight scenes are just as detailed and visually awesome to witness on the big screen. Fans of the comic book character will love what they see, as will the adults who are taking the kids to see the movie.

Could I see a third installment in the franchise? Without a doubt and I think people need to dismiss the box-office performance and consider that the movie might have potential legs without too much hitting cinemas in the next few weeks as we truly gear up for awards season. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” was a delightful treat where I thought I was going to be super disappointed, but I enjoyed the two hour plus movie that had something to entertain all ages.