It seems like critics and audiences were genuinely surprised when 2013’s Pacific Rim was as good as it wound up being. But really, what did we expect from a movie about giant machines fighting giant monsters that was directed by Guillermo del Toro? It’s on us that we didn’t see a movie that combined large-scale action with lots of heart and impressive character development. At a time when “visionary” is tossed around all-too-often, del Toro deserves it more than most others.
That the first movie was a financial success made it inevitable a sequel would happen. After a few false starts and commitments to other projects, del Toro bowed out of directing but stays on as a producer for this week’s Pacific Rim Uprising. Set 10 years after the events of the first movie, John Boyega stars as Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Alba’s Stacker Pentecost in the original. Jake is reluctant to follow in his father’s military footsteps but when a new threat arises he, along with Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and a batch of new recruits to the Jaeger program have to once more fight to cancel the apocalypse.