Mecha Fridays: So let’s talk about Pacific Rim 2

Believe me, we have to.

The summer of 2018 welcomed us to a new Western mecha guilty pleasure, Pacific Rim 2, which was the sequel to 2013’s own Western mecha guilty pleasure, Pacific Rim.

Called Pacific Rim Uprising, I initially had Pacific Rim 2 as one of the new catalysts that will hopefully ignite the audience interest in Mecha shows, not just for the Western audience but even for the fans in the east as the franchise itself draws a lot of inspiration from mecha and monster works that came out of Japan.

There was both hope and skepticism about Pacific Rim 2 especially after its “big reveal”, when the first trailer came out, as to how the story is taking a new direction, going for a more super sentai-esque approach where you have a team of mecha warriors take on one huge monster. At best Pacific Rim Uprising is a showcase of special effects prowess, with multiple Jager on Kaiju and Jager on Jager violence happening all throughout the film which was intertwined in a story of redemption and realization for lead characters, Jake Pentecost and Amara Namani.

John Boyega as Jake Pentecost.

Together with Jake and Amara, we also get other mecha pilots, mostly kids, who are forced to pilot Jagers after things went downhill as the Kaijus somehow found a way to still break into the human world and try to re-open the portal for their creators, which was called the Precursors, to continue on their quest to rid Earth of human life and take it for their own.

As we said, at best the Pacific Rim franchise is all about large robots punching large monsters in the face so they can save the world, although, in contrast to the first movie, Pacific Rim Uprising had a huge lack in terms of developing their characters and character relationships, much bigger than what the first one had. Instead of introducing us to human beings who commit mistakes and experience the lowest of lows which gives more meaning to their redemption stories, we get 2 main characters who are knowledgeable enough to create their own Jagers and worst, even have a mini Jager made of scrap go toe to toe against a full-size Robot, and what’s worse it was even implied that with the right amount of equipment, anyone can build their own Jager which kind of makes fun of the idea of how the world, even when they pooled all their resources took years to even have someone properly pilot the damn things.

Now let’s go on and talk about the Mechas, of course the Jagers have a much more advanced design now capable of doing tremendous leaps, like literal leaps and pull off sick moves like trying to whip a Kaiju’s head clean off, although with their supposed advancements in design, Pacific Rim 2’s Jager had a weird interaction with gravity and mass as they seem to lack any weight at some points in the movie.

I honestly didn’t know that you could do that.

But hey, the action is nice so I guess we can let that pass but one thing that really ticked me off is how the whole movie tried to force this weird plot point wherein every Jager that attacked Earth even before the events of the first movie was actually heading towards Japan. Yes, Japan, the birthplace of Kaijus and Mecha, why? Because Mount Fuji can destroy the world apparently, that’s why.

Although it did setup some good Gundam easter egg, which was nice.

In its totality, Pacific Rim Uprising is still a guilty pleasure of a movie for mecha fans albeit, in contrast to the first one, Uprising felt more lackluster in terms of plot progression and character development to the point that the story felt insignificant, like you’re only made to pay attention to what is going on once the fights happen. Maybe I’m just plainly ranting because I have my hopes that Pacific Rim Uprising will help rekindle the interest of the Western Audience towards mecha shows, whether through Film, Series, Anime or any other medium, or maybe my points resonate with everyone else, but nevertheless, Pacific Rim Uprising, in contrast to the “so bad it’s good” appeal of Pacific Rim, was just plainly bad.

I’m still gonna look forward to part 3 though that’s for sure.

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