The first trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising, the sequel to the 2013 giant robots versus kaiju movie, didn’t inspire much confidence. Something about the new movie, a follow-up to Guillermo del Toro’s beloved monster mash, didn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s because the director was returning for round two, but the trailer made things feel kind of generic. A second trailer, one that hit the web on Wednesday, is a vast improvement on that first tease. And yet, something’s amiss.
The new trailer has more of everything, compared to the first one. The plot is more explicitly spelled out — somebody has reopened the rift that let the kaiju invade Earth, and they may have a rouge Jaeger of their own. It also has more action, including some cool energy whips that don’t always work out for the Jaegers. In addition to showcasing more of Star Wars: The Last Jedi star John Boyega, the trailer also lets some returning characters speak. Charlie Day reprises his role as the scientist Newton Geiszler, and Rinko Kikuchi’s back as Mako Mori, only she’s a badass administrator rather than a pilot, which is a shame.
There’s one interesting cut that suggests that Mako might be the person responsible for letting the kaiju back to Earth, but it’s probably just a little bit of trailer misdirection.
All in all, the trailer has most of what fans loved about the first Pacific Rim, but everything still feels a little too shiny. The genius of the first film was that it took the idea of giant robots versus giant monsters — something that could and should’ve been a cheap grab for Transformers-like toys — and elevated it into something weirder. Guillermo del Toro’s passion was there. Pacific Rim Uprising just looks like it’ll be a dumb, fun action movie. Not the worst thing in the world, but you have to hope that there will be some heart inside of those Jaegers.
Pacific Rim Uprising smashes its way into theaters on March 23.