‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ worth the wait

“Pacific Rim Uprising” is the long-awaited sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 smashing blockbuster “Pacific Rim.” This new release is directed by Steven S. DeKnight, and features a mostly new cast of John Boyega, Scott Eastwood and Jin Zhang. Returning cast members of “Pacific Rim” include Charlie Day, Burn Gorman and Rinko Kikuchi. Sadly, Charlie Hunnam did not return, but I felt that Boyega’s takeover as the lead for the series was done very well. While I did want to see Hunnam again, Boyega managed to provide a great charisma and likeability to his character that if we never see Hunnam again, I will not be too sad about it.

The effects are gorgeous to see on screen, making each fight scene feel epic in scale. These creatures and robots of gargantuan size devastate each other and the buildings around them. I felt like a kid again watching cartoons before and after school as events occurred on screen. If you like going to the movies to have fun, then you will not be disappointed.

The plot is quite ridiculous for the most part, with some twists that I actually did not see coming, some I saw from a mile away and some things that I am still trying to figure out how they made sense. There is a little more world-building done, but still not enough. This is a bit disappointing as I really wanted this world to be explored even more, but it does not take away from the film too much. For me, at least in this case, I don’t need a particularly deep or thematic plot; I am just happy to see monsters getting their faces punched in. I felt the same when the first came out, and I am not changing that stance here.

One gripe I have with the film is that the first couple of minutes does feel expositional. I understand that they needed to refresh the audience’s memories since the first film came out five years ago, but the first act feels a bit rushed in how the film needs to have certain characters in particular places for when the main plot actually kicks in. I also felt that the overall soundtrack, while not bad in any way, was just not as memorable as the first one. I only found myself getting amped up during the action when the old scores began to swell.

Lastly, going on what I said about how the story is not all that deep, it reflects that on its characters as well. I cannot say that I remember anyone’s name from the film, yet I can remember their arcs in the story, which is weird to say the least. Most of the side characters are literally just standing around when on screen, waiting for their time to actually be a part of the plot. Then, those who did get a lot of screen time never really get that much depth to them. It’s a bit unfortunate, but I can live with it.

This movie was definitely worth going to see in theaters, and if I ever get a chance to see it again I will highly consider paying IMAX prices. As I said before, if you’re looking for some fun shut-your-brain-off action, then this spectacle of a movie is for you. If you want something a little deeper, then you might as well pass.

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