How badly did people want a Pacific Rim sequel? Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 film was objectively awesome on a primal level—giant robots fighting Kaijus with stellar CGI and city-destroying action sequences—but the movie’s cultural resonance skewed more toward James Cameron’s Avatar than Blade Runner. Pacific Rim looked amazing, and it was a fun moviegoing experience. Still, it wasn’t the kind of movie that insists you think about it much once you leave the theater. It’s easy to wonder if a Pacific Rim sequel—which comes after switching studios from Warner Bros. to Universal Pictures, not to mention sustaining the loss of star Charlie Hunnam over “non-creative” decisions—would be worth the five-year wait.
But with the first trailer of Pacific Rim: Uprising dropping at New York Comic-Con on Friday, it took only one ridiculous shot of four missiles (from Kaiju … robots?) blowing up a human base to get me on board come March 2018.
The franchise’s new star is John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Detroit), whose character Jake is the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost. Elba’s character memorably died in the first film, though not before delivering one of the best motivational movie speeches since Independence Day (“Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!”). Jake, like his father, is a Jaeger—a.k.a. giant robot—pilot who’ll have to stop new, somehow more ferocious Kaijus from destroying mankind.
Boyega will be trying to un-cancel the apocalypse once again alongside Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) and Rinko Kikuchi, who’s reprising her role from the first film. Kikuchi’s return is particularly interesting, since Pentecost was a father figure to her character, Mako Mori, but we don’t know what Mori’s dynamic will be like with Pentecost’s son.
Of course, the human drama is the least essential piece of Uprising. What matters most is that there are more robots, more Kaijus, and more robots punching Kaijus. I’m on board for opening night tickets, and then subsequently forgetting about the film a few days after.