Pacific Rim 2 was officially announced last week and I just have to start off by saying, I love this. Because I love Pacific Rim. I love the cartoonish fun of watching giant robots fight giant monsters. I love the colorfully simplistic characters. I love the world Guillermo Del Toro built with his distinct designs for the Kaiju, Jaegers, and sets. But most of importantly, I love the unflinching optimism it represents; humanity putting aside old rivalries and working together for the greater good. Even characters like Hannibal Chau, who would have been a pointlessly minor villain in a lesser movie, ends up helping to close the portal (Indirectly, but it’s Ron Perlman so he gets brownie points) and becoming a pretty fun character in the process. At it’s core, Pacific Rim is a story about discovering the best of humanity in the face of certain defeat. For all these reasons and more, Pacific Rim is one of the best summer blockbusters in recent memory (If The Avengers and Iron Man 3 didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be much competition).
It’s pretty obvious that I’m very excited to see Pacific Rim 2. The last time Guillermo Del Toro did a sequel, he gave us Hellboy II: The Golden Army aka a pretty beautiful love letter to the monster and superhero genre. In the same vein, I had a blast with Pacific Rim but there are so many possible avenues to explore in a sequel (and hopefully franchise?) that I can’t put type them down without geeking out. So I decided to make another list this week. Here are 5 things we want to see in Pacific Rim 2.
Old Humans with New Tricks:
There was just enough character work laid down to get invested in the first movie, now it’s time to build on it. What better way to do that than by continually exploring our surviving Jaeger pilots and scientists? I also want characters to mix and match. I want Newt to sit down with Mako and talk about why he is obsessed with Kaiju and have Mako stare him in the face and explain why she hates them so much (A Kaiju killing her family might have something to do with it).
One of the things that I was instantly captivated by Pacific Rim was the importance of the scientists just as much as the jaeger rangers. Newt’s side-story with Hannibal Chau and Hermann Gottlieb to get a Kaiju brain isn’t really a side-story at all. It’s just as important as dropping a nuclear weapon down into the portal. It’s not a pro-military message as much as a pro-teamwork message. Everyone is essential…
So let’s make some more people essential! This one is already a given but with a few of our characters sadly meeting untimely ends I’d happily welcome some new blood into the series. Del Toro has one distinct challenge ahead of him: how do you top the casting of Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost? The casting on that one was just so brilliant in every conceivable fashion. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get Tom Cruise as he was originally in talks to be Stacker Pentecost. Part of me wants more bankable stars to bring in the bigger box office numbers so we can continue the series. Then there’s another part of me that just wants the best person for the job. Then another third mysterious part that remembers the two aren’t mutually exclusive and remembers Bryan Cranston in Godzilla and I just think “Yes.” And there’s a final part that remembers Guillermo Del Toro is also going for wider casting to make the movie as multi-cultural as possible and I just think “Very yes.”
A Big Bad:
When the category 5 Kaiju rises out of the breach in the final fight, it was a classic villain moment without the central villain. Every good hero needs a good villain, and we do have good heroes. If we can’t get a central villain, then I hope to understand more about the species that are creating the Kaiju from the other side of the breach. Fill up the screen with more villains! Maybe even a Kaiju/Jaeger hybrid? KAIGER?
Bring Back the Soundtrack:
Something I didn’t mention about Pacific Rim in the opening was the soundtrack. Wow. Ramin Djawadi doesn’t get enough credit as is, but the Pacific Rim soundtrack might be his best work alongside his work in Game of Thrones. The main theme feels so grandiose but also is exciting and gets you ready for some giant fights. It sets the stage perfectly for a giant robot and giant monster to knock the ever-living-fuck out of each other. So basically please bring back Ramin Djawadi.
2 Pacific 2 Rim (More Everything):
The majority of the first movie took place during the potential last days of humanity amidst Hong Kong. The movie sort of lives and dies on the Hong Kong fight when you really think about it. It worked for that story and actually made the stakes feel surprisingly high for the first entry in a series. Now it’s time to see a global conflict. I want to see Gypsy Danger team up with Giant Robot 815 as they race from San Diego to Sydney and fight more kaiju than ever before.
Go full out epic here. Let’s see a category 7. No, category 10. No wait. A category X! Get crazy with it. Have Gypsy Danger fight another category 5 on the back of a category X as it rushes towards Honolulu (Unless we’re not allowed to have fights in the same place as the recent Godzilla).
While Del Toro might lose some of the intensity and of the first, you don’t have to lose the sense of fun or themes from the first. What better way to represent the themes of togetherness than a dozen Jaegers, all from different countries, standing on the miracle mile against an onslaught of forthcoming Kaiju?
Well these are all the things I’m hoping Guillermo Del Toro can bring next time to the blockbuster table, but now I ask you the same question: What do you want from Pacific Rim 2? Drop a comment and let me know how you’d want Guillermo Del Toro to cancel the apocalypse… again!