Let’s be honest here, you’re not seeing this movie for the acting–and that’s great, because despite a pretty solid cast and a few surprisingly good performances, the story and the acting are … not great. I love Idris Elba and there was nothing he could do for this. I don’t like Charlie Hunnam, and although he wasn’t awful, he couldn’t stop himself from playing Jax Teller again (bleugh). This isn’t their fault, though, as there just wasn’t enough time to tell this story. One movie was clearly not enough.
You are seeing this movie because robots and monsters. And it’s awesome. The fighting sequences are incredible–balletic, almost. They’re intense and at times I found myself squeezing the armchair a little too hard. They hold your attention and make the boring dialogue palatable.
There isn’t much to say about this movie outside of that, except for one thing (which I’ll get to in a second). The story, the acting and most of the things that help a movie tell its story were lacking. Everything was crunched together, tightened so hard that a number of things were left out. You had to wonder how much was left on the cutting room floor–and how much was cut out of the first script.
There’s a much bigger issue here, though. In a movie era where everything is made to fit a trilogy or more, here comes a movie tailor-made for a trilogy and it gets one movie. Del Toro and Beachem packed in so goddamn much that an entire script’s worth of movie was explained in the first two or three minutes. They even laid out how this would’ve worked for a trilogy:
1. First kaiju attack + first jaegers and the first victory over kaiju.
2. Kaiju getting stronger and stronger (Empire Strikes Back kind of ending).
3. The majority of this movie.
And it could’ve been really, really good. Like, legendary good.
There was so much to unpack in this movie that the world of jaegers and kaiju came off as stunted. I honestly wanted more background here, and I don’t say that for a lot of movies.
Regardless of what you thought of the acting and the script and all that stuff, this movie promised robots and monsters fighting. And it was awesome. We’ll remember it for being fun and cool, but there’s a part of me that’s always going to wonder why this one didn’t get a multi-movie deal and a chance to spread its wings.