New York Comic Con is going on right now—not quite San Diego Comic Con, but getting close—which means there are some new trailers dropping, including the first trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s “robots fight kaiju” movie, Pacific Rim. You remember Pacific Rim, it’s the movie where Idris Elba cancelled the apocalypse. But now we’re un-cancelling the apocalypse so that we can have a sequel to a movie nerds refuse to admit isn’t that good. Come on, nerds, you know Pacific Rim isn’t great, with all the interesting characters sidelined so that Charlie Hunnam’s totally generic Hero McMaverick can save the day. The best part of Pacific Rim was the marketing ploy that let you name your own robot. (I know they’re called “Jaegers”, and I don’t care.)
Charlie Hunnam did not return for the sequel, so it stars John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost. I’m into Boyega playing Elba’s son, but I am not into the name downgrade. One of the fun things about Pacific Rim is that the characters have insane names like “Stacker Pentecost”. But Uprising’s new characters have names like “Jake” and “Nate” and “Joseph”. DOWNGRADE. Also, “Nate” is played by Scott Eastwood, who is, going on the trailer, Jake Pentecost’s partner inside the monster-fighting robot. (Scott Eastwood is the human “fetch”—he isn’t going to happen.) Boyega is at least a lateral move from Hunnam, but Scott Eastwood is a massive downgrade. There are dust motes in Pacific Rim more interesting to watch than Scott Eastwood.
At least there are some holdovers from the original returning. Rinko Kikuchi is back as Mako Mori, one of the last “Jaeger pilots” who survived the apocalypse’s cancellation. And Charlie Day and Burn Gorman are back as the nutty kaiju scientists, which is fun. But the movie itself looks like a rinse and repeat. Turns out, the apocalypse isn’t so cancelled, the kaiju come back, and now there’s a huge super-kaiju the new generation robots have to fight. Jake Pentecost has return to the fight he gave up on, living in the shadow of a heroic relative—same setup as Hunnam’s character in the first movie. Robots punching monsters in the face is cool, but it wasn’t enough to save the first Pacific Rim. Nothing about this trailer makes me think it’s enough to save the sequel, either. But at least they can bring back the robot name generator.