I really enjoyed the first entry in this series, it was dark while still being fun and had some awesome action scenes. It was a great monster movie and this sequel strays quite far from that original vision. A good portion of the core cast returns, but they're rather strange now. It also has this odd desire to focus on kids as opposed to regular adult pilots and that really hurts the material. They should have went with older individuals, but it looks like they were attempting to capture a younger audience and that's completely disappointing as it doesn't feel right.
The plot is something you've probably seen in many other recent movies and that comes across as generic. I didn't like the setup, but once combat does get going it's more enjoyable. The robots were neat with lots of different designs, but they're sleeker and they don't quite feel as weighted during destruction. This might have been an interesting release as distinctly neat elements and surprises are hidden throughout yet it's rough to watch. It has some of the spark that made the first so enjoyable, yet not enough to make this an entertaining sequel.
The CGI in Pacific Rim Uprising is great, it all looks real with some epic large scale battles. You really get a sense of the scale, but bigger doesn't always mean it's as impactful. The things they've done with the Kaiju are cool, and gruesome to some degree. The Jaegers are also great in style, yet they don't carry that heavy robot feeling that made the first feel so intense. They're so flexible and sleek, that gives off some other type of robot film as opposed to the heavy style of the first movie.
The acting was fine, Boyega was hit or miss with his main co-pilot not carrying the same style as the lead character from the first despite being strangely similar. From there I didn't like the involvement of any of the kids, the rest of the cast was fine and the scientists were great yet weird once more. The humor didn't really land in this one and I didn't feel too into the action like the first. In the original you were always having a good time and greatly engaged, that wasn't the case here.
I didn't like Pacific Rim Uprising, it took elements that made the previous movie so good and then removed the fun spots. It threw away a serious cast for some young kids to jump into the action while still retaining some of the darker death elements and the pairing didn't feel right. The massive robots against massive monsters was fun again, just not used enough and it didn't seem as deadly of a situation as the original did.
There were moments where they're in the middle of a war and they're still looking after their apparently serious young pilots, it should be all out during that type of situation and the restraint didn't make sense. There were some parts that were fine, the comedy didn't land and the action was alright at times. It was hard to sit through and again, I did really love the Pacific Rim whereas Uprising changes too much.
Pacific Rim Uprising Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by NBC Universal