Pacific Rim 2 (PR2) is the distilled essence of action movie. I watched it on the opening night in IMAX with 12 friends in my Movie Club. We went in with no expectations at all, and came out pretty pleased. The film delivered exactly what it promised: giant robots, plasma swords, monsters, and John Boyega. It bums me out that PR2 isn’t doing better domestically, cause I’d love it if more films just did what they say they’re going to do. Here’s a totally-not-biased-at-all spoiler-free review 🙂
Freshman director Steven DeKnight delivers exactly what you would want and expect. There’s some set up time at the beginning (admittedly a bit slow), but there’s barely fluff to waste your time with once the action starts. Sure, there’s a jump in plot logic here and there, but who cares–you’re obviously not expecting the Shape of Water here =P.
There’s punchy dialogue and the right amount of silly comedic moments strewn throughout the movie. Mandarin speakers can get a bit more out of the dialogue… Our giant group of mostly Asians laughed much louder than the rest of the theater at certain points. It’s pretty clear the studio is gunning for $$$ in the Chinese market.
Pacific Rim 2 shines with the most important stuff: giant robot vs. monster smackdowns. The action scenes varied in participant design, fighting styles, and environments. I’ll admit the scene selection and framing didn’t seem as painstakingly chosen as they did in the original Pacific Rim (but who beats Guillermo del Toro at that), I found the rehash of assorted elements between each fight kept them all really fresh and visually interesting.
Sometimes you can get away with skipping action movie prequels without missing a beat at all (see: Transformers), but PR2 assumes you’re a bit familiar with the basic rules of their universe. While you could proooobably get away without watching the first movie, if you’re like me and like things to fall into place in your mind, I think you’d enjoy PR2 more with a quick rewatch of PR1. I didn’t really remember any of the repeat characters from the first movie and some of the major plot points which had implications for the second, so I wasted energy trying to rack my brain instead of being fully immersed at times.
Overall, I thought the movie was super fun, and pretty well paced once the action got going. The 1h50min runtime felt just about right, and I’ve got no regrets at all. As long as you aren’t expecting a mindblowing plot, or deep character arcs, I think you’ll have a good time.