Robots Punching Monsters: The Sequel
By Miguel Fermin, guest movie blogger
When the first Pacific Rim came out, it was ultimately a love letter to the cartoons that had fueled my childhood imagination like Voltes V. I was 9 years old at the time, and it was such a joy to see big robots punch big monsters in the face. The sequel has finally come out after a long 5 years, and I am in awe. I felt like a 9 year old again seeing these titans and behemoths duke it out on the big screen. Pacific Rim: Uprising is as action-filled as the last one, but is it better?
Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place in the year 2035, 10 years after the events of the first film. Although the war is over, many fear that the Kaiju will return, and so the PPDC (Pan-Pacific Defense Corps) remain vigilant and deal with a new threat: rogue Jaegers. Shao Industries also seeks to replace the Jaegers with drones, and because it’s a disaster flick, things go wrong quickly. I’m glad that they took creative liberties with the writing of this film so that they could shake it up a little. It has a brilliant plot twist that explains why the events happen, but I wish that they saved it for later in the movie where it would have more impact. I also wish that the movie explored the alien mythos more, as the previous one had meticulously set up this original sci-fi universe.
It is just so cool to see these larger-than-life giants turn huge cities into their playgrounds.
The film’s main character is Jake Pentecost, played by John Boyega. He is the son of the fearless Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba in the first film. In some Meta way, he represents what this film is trying to do, which is live up to the awesomeness that the previous one was. The charismatic rogue finds himself teaming up with his old partner, Nathan Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and teen genius, Amara ( Cailee Spaeny). Although this film suffers from the same character problems as the first, the three leads make up for a mostly lackluster cast. Jake is the rebellious hero; Nathan is the rigid leader; Amara is the young fighter. There are some returning characters, but for the most part the film chooses to focus on these three.
Let’s be honest. When people will go to see this film, they won’t go to watch it for compelling characters or a mind-bending sci-fi plot. They’re going to want to see Transformers and Power Rangers beat down on Godzilla. My fondest memory from the first one was Gipsy Danger using a freighter ship as a baseball bat. This time around it was Gipsy Avenger hurling cars at the Obsidian Fury. Although the new Jaegers are much more sleek, they still capture that same grandiose that was ever so present in the first installment. Although the action is faster, every blow dealt is spectacular. It is just so cool to see these larger-than-life giants turn huge cities into their playgrounds.
Whether or not this film is better than the last is up for you to decide. More than anything, this is a guilty pleasure. This is a movie that you can watch over and over again with chomping down on popcorn. As Honest Trailers puts it, these films can simply be described as one packed with “dumb awesome robot movie(s)”. If you’re looking for a good time at the theater, this flick has all the things your inner 9 year old will love.