We follow the story of Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Idris Elba’s character from the first film. Jake struggled to follow in his father’s footsteps, winding up as somewhat of a criminal, but his past catches up to him. When arrested, he’s offered a get out of jail free card. He returns to the Jaegar academy to help train the new recruits and wipe his sentence clean. But not too long after returning to the world he hoped to leave behind, a new threat arises. It’s a threat unlike any before it. To take it down and save the world, Jake’s going to need to team up with former friend turned rival Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and a new recruit whose path continues to intertwine with Jake, Amara (Cailee Spaeny).
The action sequences are big, but even they feel lifeless. Some of them are a lot of fun, most notably an attack on their base and elements of the third act finale, but most is dull, weightless and generic. You just don’t care about anything that’s happening on screen. This isn’t a Transformers 5 situation where the action’s boring, I don’t recall ever being straight up bored, but it’s all just mindless CGI brutality with far too few giant monster battles. The main threat of the movie doesn’t really enter the picture until the third act, leaving us behind to watch robot on robot battles that aren’t nearly as cool or logically interwoven into the plot. As exciting as it was to see Sydney destroyed on the big screen (I’m from Sydney), its necessity to the plot is questionable.
On top of the new additions, a few characters from the first film find themselves returning. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman reprise their roles as wacky scientists with a neurological connection to these alien invaders, but holy shit, it takes a turn for the worst. Charlie Day is clearly having so much fun in this role, which is totally fair given what he has to do, but it doesn’t work for the film at all. I wouldn’t dare spoil what happens, but I physically felt my eyes rolling all the way back inside my head. It goes beyond the word awful. And as for Rinko Kikuchi... well... fans of the first film shouldn’t go in with high hopes. Her presence is pointless. She easily could’ve replaced Tian Jing’s character and made her tedious subplot at least somewhat more interesting.
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