Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising

Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Writers: Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin
Starring: John Boyega

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Pacific Rim: Uprising is a fun ride, but one that never quite lives up to the legacy of the first film.

The original Pacific Rim was always an odd one. It was one of those films that you either loved or hated, with very few people seeming to fall in the middle. It was an anime turned live action movie, with over the top characters and classical tropes such as giant robots fighting giant monsters. But Uprising seems to tone down aspects of the story that are grounded in anime and I think it falls short of the original because of it.

John Boyega as the lead character is certainly more enjoyable as a lead than Charlie Hunnam in the original, but at the same time I feel as though his character still lacks any depth. A very vague backstory of conflict with his father does not make a character and it’s that tired and told storyline that the film leans too heavily on for emotional context. Similarly for Cailee Spaeny’s character who has a one scene backstory that barely serves any purpose in the film.

What the film does well is try to add further depth and context to the original. Trying to answer the question of what exactly were the goals of the Kaiju during the first movie. Unfortunately, these are questions that nobody was asking. Rather than giving us backstory or further expansion of the alien race who sent the giant monsters to Earth in the first place, we are instead teased that reveal for a 3rd film and in its place offered a half-hearted attempt to give the Kaiju direction and meaning which creates as many plot holes and it tries to answer.

Everything about the story feels like grand concepts with poor execution, there are multiple story-threads which happen with no real explanation and even more which the writers try to give an explanation for but it falls completely flat and makes little sense.

Perhaps it was because the film opted to go for the Stargate Universe route of a sequel, bringing in a much younger cast than the original, but it just didn’t resonate with me as much as the first film did. The directing felt off-par, particularly the fight scenes which were far less memorable than the first film.

With that being said, the music was still great and there were still some moments that managed to get my blood pumping. The series will always be a good time if you just want to turn your brain off for a while and enjoy some robots and giant monsters, without worrying too much about a cohesive story.

Final Score: 6/10 Porgs

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