Pacific Rim Uprising is a movie full of action tropes, both entertaining and not, and too many characters that seem to be there just to fill a checklist of archetypes. Uprising does, however, have two shining stars in the cast that light up the screen, one being John Boyega, playing the titular character of Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s character from the original movie, Stacker. John Boyega truly embraces the world and succeeds at bringing self-aware humor to the movie that is much appreciated, even though not every attempt at comedy throughout the movie lands. The second stand out in the cast is Cailee Spaeny who makes her big-screen debut here as Amara, an orphan from the war that occurred in the first film. While the character she plays in the film is in a mentee role that has been out to screen many times before, Spaeny herself adds a lot in terms of personality for the character. Similar to the first, Pacific Rim Uprising’s human scenes are the weakest parts about it, especially with the emotional moments you would expect to see in the typical action movie appearing and failing to connect. The movie contains multiple trope-filled subplots that take up more time than necessary for what they end up being, though they made a bit more bearable by the charm that the aforementioned Boyega and Spaeny bring to the screen. For people who have not seen the original Pacific Rim, there will be moments in the movie where you will not understand things as much as the people that have. The first couple of minutes of this movie try to explain what occurred in the first movie and it is successful in some aspects, but it left out a couple of points of context that may be helpful, though nothing so large that Pacific Rim Uprising would be impossible to view without the first one. For fans of the original, this movie may not be completely satisfying because of how this sequel was directed by Steven S. DeKnight, who does do a good job especially for his first feature length film. However, the first Pacific Rim was a passion project of its director, Guillermo Del Toro, leading to multiple intriguing and ambitious elements that fans gravitated towards. This movie tries to world build in the way Del Toro did in the first, the attempts mostly fall flat and muddle some ideas to the point that both people who have and have not seen the first will be left with some questions. The action, however, is really where the movie shines with the special effects being just about on par with the first, even exceeding it in some aspects that it may be worth watching in IMAX, even though the action scenes do not take up the bulk of the runtime. Most of the fights within the movie occur during the day-time, making the action easier to follow than in the original. There is also a wider range of Jaegers, the name of the mechs in the Pacific Rim Universe, that add an extra layer to the action with their unique abilities. Overall, Pacific Rim Uprising has a majority of scenes that will feel familiar with how many times the same things have occurred in other films, but if you are willing to look past that to see giant robots fighting you will most likely end up enjoying yourself.
By Maria Aliberti