After Guillermo Del Toro made a fun movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters, Pacific Rim now has a sequel called Pacific Rim: Uprising. In case you don’t know much about the film’s lore, large alien monsters called Kaijus have invaded the world, and humans decide to build giant robots called Jaegers to fight them. A Jaeger can only be controlled by two pilots as they ‘drift’ with each other, which allows them to connect their minds and become one with the machine. Taking place after the events of the first movie, former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s character Stacker Pentecost from the previous instalment, gets called back to assist the Pan-Pacific Defence Corps as an instructor to new cadets as they fear a new threat is coming back to attack Earth.
The moment you watch the trailer, you can totally tell it doesn’t feel like it’s directed by Guillermo Del Toro. This time, it’s directed by Steven S. DeKnight, who is best known for being the showrunner of the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil and the creator of Spartacus. It’s fun to compare their styles, because the tone for each movie is completely different. The first one has a much grittier feel than Pacific Rim: Uprising which is more campy, fun, and humorous. The tonal shift in the sequel will either please or disappoint you, as many moviegoers didn’t like that aspect at all. You can tell the director wants the audience to have fun with the movie, but some people will probably be irritated that Del Toro’s fingerprints are completely gone in this instalment.
John Boyega is absolutely charismatic as the main protagonist as he combines some characteristic aspects from his character Finn in the Star Wars universe and Idris Elba’s character General Pendecost from the first Pacific Rim. Whenever he shows up on screen, his presence really carries the film, and he becomes more interesting as the story goes on. Unfortunately, Boyega’s character is the only with the most development as other supporting characters are left behind in the background. You don’t know much about them, and sometimes you wish the movie would take its time to flesh them out. Also, if you’re expecting Charlie Hunnam’s character to appear in the movie, well, you’re going to be irritated.
But let’s talk about the real reason you might want to see Pacific Rim: Uprising, which is the action. Whenever Jaegers are on screen fighting with Kaijus, it’s really entertaining and you’re having fun with it! It’s dumb for sure, but the movie is self-aware that it’s supposed to be campy and fun. It’s not ideal to compare the fights from the Pacific Rim films with the Transformers series, as one does it right and the other just fails miserably at it. The cinematographer Dan Mindel does a good job focusing on the scale of the Jaegers, and you realize how big they are. You’re able to focus while watching the action scenes without getting a headache especially from Transformers’ mind-numbing shaky cams.
Pacific Rim: Uprising, while not as good as the previous instalment marvellously directed by Guillermo Del Toro, is still a fun time at the movie theatre if you want to see robots and monsters fighting each other. Regardless of its flaws, it’s still enjoyable, as long as you know the movie is not taking itself seriously and that it just wants to be an entertaining blockbuster.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is now playing in theatres.