Pacific Rim was a proper big-screen big-action smash and so while Pacific Rim: Uprising wasn’t the biggest surprise in terms of a sequel, whether it would be able to get near the hype and excitement of Guillermo del Toro’s first monster/human mash-up was a contentious point from the moment it was announced.
The second time around, del Toro moves to the back of the room and stepping into his shoes is Steven DeKnight as director and co-writer (with 3 others) for the return of the creatures from the depths but, quite disappointingly, it never hits the fun heights that we came to know and love. While del Toro’s film held more cohesion and progression, DeKnight’s is all about the big fight and while it’s definitely chaotic entertainment in places, they’ve somehow lost its soul despite an epic performance from John Boyega as Jake Pentecost.
Straight up from the start, you start to feel the wobbles of uncertainty, the first 20 minutes is quite tedious as they setup obvious plot points by explaining to newcomers what happened last time out, and then literally point out the new Jaegers and what they’re called. There’s no time for story development because it’s thrown straight at you and while you can tell a story in this manner, it’s really ham-fisted.
But what about the positives? Well, our boy Boyega proves that he can throw his hand to any style, he not only brings a natural charm, humour and character but he occasionally channels Idris Elba, which is of course his Father within the film series, by far he’s the stand-out and I wonder if they let him improv the role as well because he nails all of it.
I’m also not too worried about over-complication in this type of film, if you want big stupid monsters, it’s got them, and do they look awesome? God damn right they do. Is the mega Kaiju epic? Yes, he bloody is. Will they destroy more buildings in one hit than any recent Marvel film? Absolutely as Tokyo is flattened… but does anyone seem to care? Nope, because Kaiju hates on cities.
While the monsters don’t have the love that del Toro gave them, they’re still fun to watch and, in some respect that side works. In truth, this film is aimed at a much younger audience and Pacific Rim Uprising is your classic big-action, obvious script, huge monster-robot film. I mean, come on, what else did you expect? Saying all this, I’m still looking forward to the next Godzilla a lot more…