+ Recommended – PG-13, Action, Adventure
I suppose I had fun? This was the first “blockbuster” type movie I had seen this year; and I got to say, I wanted more. But there is something here for everyone to like: giant robots fighting giant monsters from the sea.
The plot is pretty straight forward. Monsters (or Kaijus) from another dimension have entered our own and in order to stop them, humans have created enormous mechanical suits (or mech suits) to defeat these enemies. That was the plot of the first movie and is pretty much the same here with a newer cast and the loss of former director, Guillermo del Toro.
Visually, it differs from its predecessor in its ability to utilize the sun. I imagine for some, this will take away the dark and dreary charm of the first. It appears to look the same in the beginning of the movie and that makes sense given Steven DeKnight’s (director) background in TV, with shows like Daredevil (2015) under his belt. However, if this flick was trying to cater to a wider audience (it is) then this approach will fare better for the box office. Compared to a franchise like Transformers, Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim: Uprising excel in “show not tell” by positioning and blocking the action sequences for audiences to follow along easily.
The portions of the film I enjoyed the most, heavily included John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) from the first movie. Pacific Rim: Uprising proves that John Boyega could be, and is, successful outside of the Star Wars franchise. It’s clear that very few have the acting chops to match him; especially Scott Eastwood, who I’m still not sure has any real acting abilities. Scott’s performance often misses the mark as his line delivery and overall screen presence is flat. And to be clear: I don’t think it was the writing or the intent of the director because there are pseudo-serious action movies that nail cheesy dialogue (a la Marvel).
Another aspect audiences might appreciate is the pacing; it does get right to the point, and fast. It didn’t seem like I had a moment to breathe. A few instances left me wanting more mech-Kaiju action and, unfortunately, I didn’t think we got enough of that here. While I generally try to immerse myself into any theatrical experience, I felt that it was okay to just observe for once. No need to think too hard or feel pressured into researching everything about the history of the Pacific Rim franchise. In fact, this film briefly covers the events of the first in the opening scenes so you won’t necessarily need to see the first installment before heading to the theatre.
Overall, I believe Pacific Rim: Uprising is fun and worth the price of admission if you are a fan of monsters rising from the sea and mechanical robots. Maybe stick to a matinee showtime, though. What did you think? Sound off in the comments below.