The only complaints I’ve heard from any geek critics–we need not ever concern ourselves with commoner critics when speaking of genre motion pictures–are in regards to things I completely agree with. It’s just that, unlike those disgruntled few, I don’t see those things as detrimental. I don’t see them as negatives. Yes, the first film was darker in tone. The fact that this one isn’t possessed of the same apocalyptic grimness, in spite of its maintaining as its central theme the saving of the world from impending doom, isn’t a bad thing. Kaiju movies work really well when there’s a little levity mixed in. PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING is a different movie than its predecessor. Different feel, different vibe, different approach. I don’t see that as problematic. Judge this film on its own merits, I say, and judging it on its own merits, it stands tall. Rock solid. In fact, if I’m honest about it–and I kinda hate to say this, considering I’m such a huge mark for Guillermo Del Toro and his work–I enjoyed this one more.
Part of the credit for that goes to John Boyega. The guy just oozes charisma. As for the prominence in the film of the youngster characters, one critic reviewer likened this film to SPY KIDS. I disagree. If anything, it reminded me more of SPACECAMP. (Anybody remember that one?) A situation where the kids have to step up and shoulder the responsibility that should belong to adults, and end up shining like diamonds: thematically it’s something we’ve seen before, but so what? The characters are overall more engaging this time around (excepting Idris Elba’s from the former) and the movie hits on all the right points.
The set-up is there for a third movie. I hope we get it. And I hope it’s more in tune with PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING which, if not a technically superior sequel, is at least a worthy one, and one more accessible.
The big disappointment, for me, was that there wasn’t an after-credits scene referencing Godzilla or King Kong, considering all the properties belong to the same company, if not the same universe. Maybe next time.