When it comes to live-action anime, there are more flops than hits. Studios in Japan and Hollywood have struggled to nail the genre, but the latter did pull out a win with Pacific Rim. The series debuted several years back under Guillermo del Toro's hand, and its long-awaited sequel will hit theaters this weekend.
However, if the critics are right, the Pacific Rim 2 may be lackluster for new fans.
As you can see in the slides below, ComicBook has rounded up a slew of reviews for Pacific Rim Uprising. The film's embargo went up not too long ago, giving media the freedom to share their thoughts on the title. The big-budget movie sounds like it is the most anime live-action adaptation from Hollywood, but its gaping plot holes are not easy to hurdle if you're not a fan of Pacific Rim.
Right now, insiders are waiting to see how successful the sequel will be at the box office. Critics may be split about its landing, but fans have given Pacific Rim 2 solid praise on social media. However, Warner Bros. is less interested in that word-of-mouth as it is profits, and the sequel will need a strong overseas turnout to bring in money.
Current reports indicate that Pacific Rim Uprising may be the film that dethrones Marvel Studios' latest flick from the box office's top spot. Black Panther has held the position since its February debut, but the new kaiju flick could take it down with its anticipated $25 million opening.
Looking long-term, Pacific Rim Uprising will need to make a splash overseas to live up to its first films $411 million worldwide gross. When the original movie opened, it pulled in $37.2 million and earned just over $101 million domestically. However, its overseas run pulled it ahead the rest of the way. If the film's sequel can pull that international magic again, then Pacific Rim Uprising will prove how profitable mecha can be (via The Wrap).
Pacific Rim Uprising currently enjoys a 3.58 out of 5 on ComicBook.com's anticipation rankings, which you can vote in here. Pacific Rim Uprising will storm into theaters on March 23.
Will you be seeing the sequel this weekend? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!
"The first half of Pacific Rim Uprising is about as fun as a trip to the dentist. The second half, however, is a dizzying and delightful foray into enjoyable pandemonium. It's like the laughing gas really kicks in.
You don't need to have seen 2013's Pacific Rim, directed by newly minted Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro, to get what's going on in this one. Steven S. DeKnight, directing his first feature after executive producing Spartacus and Daredevil, and his three additional credited screenwriters have inelegantly crammed the necessary backstory into an artless opening montage. Essentially, it's now 10 years after the last film, when Idris Elba sacrificed himself to close a suboceanic conduit between our universe and one filled with Toho Studios–esque giant monsters called Kaiju." - Vanity Fairprevnext
"Shortly before I headed to a screening of Pacific Rim Uprising, a Vulture colleague wondered aloud in a meeting, "What's the difference between the robots in Transformers and Pacific Rim?" to which I emphatically responded, "They're not robots! They have people inside!" It's true that the giant Jaegers are not robots, but is that really all it takes? Is the narrative suggestion that there are little humans inside those otherwise generically hulking, dusky CGI carapaces enough to imbue Guillermo del Toro's mecha with sufficient soul to carry us through two hours without a crushing, alienated headache? Weirdly, I would say the answer is yes. Even more surprisingly, it's even enough to carry us through some — but certainly not all — of director Steven S. DeKnight's dumb, formulaic, but still ineffably zesty follow-up." - Vultureprevnext
"Pacific Rim: Uprising is an unnecessary sequel to a film that wasn't that big of a success in the first place. If anything, it plays like The Incredible Hulk to Ang Lee's Hulk, operating as a mass-market, rejiggered for maximum commercial impact sequel compared to the more idiosyncratic predecessor. But Incredible Hulk was not an MCU high point, and even the more overtly commercial Man of Steel (after Superman Returns) got its franchise off to a shakey start, so it's unlikely that this second Pacific Rim will flourish beyond what the first film did, if not noticeably less. Still, it's a glorified B-movie with a $150 million budget, a Saturday afternoon matinee piece of kid-friendly pulp fiction that is (barely) justified by Boyega's lead turn and some warm character chemistry that makes the climactic blow-outs matter just a little. Pacific Rim: Uprisingisn't quite "good," but I had a good time." - Forbesprevnext
"Let's get this out of the way: If you didn't like Pacific Rim, you're not going to like Pacific Rim Uprising. And if you do like Pacific Rim, you're reading this review because you're wondering if the jankily constructed confluence of design choices and sci-fi themes that made up the first film can stand up on its own without the guiding hand of now-Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro. The answer is no — Uprising does even less work justifying its own internal logic than Pacific Rim, and even less work than that exploring its cast of characters.
But if you can buy into Pacific Rim, you can buy into Pacific Rim Uprising. And if you can buy into Pacific Rim Uprising despite its flaws, you'll find it to be a fun, if not exactly filling, film." - Polygonprevnext
"There was a monstrous amount of undeniable glee to be had while watching 2013's Pacific Rim, a film that played out like a big-budget re-enactment of a seven-year-old smashing his toys together. A procession of scenes featuring giant robots fighting giant creatures proved gloriously fun to behold, recklessly destructive and fantastically silly. But the rest of the film was hopelessly inert, the humans so staggeringly dull that I'd have been content to see them destroyed underneath a public park-sized slimy claw.
Such B-movie mayhem proved a difficult sell for audiences. It underperformed stateside with just $101m in the bank, a problematic result given the $190m budget, but it was easily translatable overseas and a worldwide total of $411m (helped mainly by Chinese audiences) meant that a sequel was deemed a worthy pursuit. The second time around, director Guillermo del Toro has taken a step back with just a producer credit (he's too busy winning Oscars to be involved in such frippery) and a retooled cast is in place, with John Boyega's effortless charisma taking over from Charlie Hunnam's total lack of it." - The Guardianprevnext
"Symbolically, the "Pacific Rim" franchise is important for casting black leads in both of its films, and Boyega clearly made a prescient move by signing on as a producer (even before "Black Panther" became a billion-dollar success). Thematically, though, these movies feel a lot like their giant robots: big, cool-looking and empty." - Newsdayprevnext
New York Times
"As sequels to sci-fi action thrillers showcasing giant metallic fighters go, "Pacific Rim Uprising" is adroit and enjoyable. John Boyega, who's also a regular in the new "Star Wars" pictures, stars as Jake Pentecost, the decidedly more roguish son of Idris Elba's character from 2013's "Pacific Rim." He steals parts from scrapped Jaegers — the gigantic human-piloted machines that battled hordes of Kaiju (giant monsters, that is) in the first film. Early in the movie he meets a whiz-kid Jaeger bootlegger named Amara (Cailee Spaeny) and they both end up back in pilot school.
With the world supposedly free from Kaiju threat, the movie spends its first hour toggling between "Top Gun"-style cadet rivalries and a corporate espionage plot that's not unfamiliar, except that you almost never see it done well in this kind of movie. But you know that the scaly, slimy creatures are going to turn up eventually, and when they do, they spend a good amount of time in Tokyo." - New York Timesprevnext
"If you enjoyed 2013's Pacific Rim but secretly wished it was more like a vapid Transformers sequel, then you'll love Pacific Rim Uprising. Everyone else can give this heavy-metal howler a hard pass. Thanks to the freaky vision of Guillermo del Toro, the first installment in the giant robots-vs.-giant sea monsters battle royal at least had a blast of old-school Godzilla-on-Monster Island nostalgia. Now, under the limp reins of director Steven S. DeKnight (TV's Daredevil), the follow-up feels like a flat cocktail of tedious mayhem, amateur-hour Starship Troopers-level acting (minus the tongue-in-cheek irony), and plot holes so gaping that a 20-story radioactive iguana could rampage right through them." - Entertainment Weeklyprevnext
""Pacific Rim Uprising" has zero emotional pull. The musical score by Lorne Balfe ("The Hurricane Heist") keeps telling us that something exciting is happening when the images beg otherwise. There are no stakes here, just lots of robots and then dinosaurs who rise up out of the sea and place their large feet down onto pavement that rises up as random people run away and try to escape. The main imagery in this movie is of large office buildings falling down neatly or getting clawed or scooped from the middle by these ugly and uninteresting monsters. If that's your thing, step right up." - The Wrapprevnext
"It would have been a pleasant surprise if Pacific Rim Uprising had used the opportunity of a sequel to scratch under the surface of the pulpy universe set up in the original. Done well, it might have revealed deeper reasons to care whether humans in giant robot suits could again defeat invading interdimensional monsters, beyond satisfying an appetite for its breathlessly fun fight scenes. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Instead, it leans heavily on the charming shoulders of Star Wars star John Boyega at the expense of developing the rest of a youthful, spirited new cast." - IGNprev