After five years of waiting, Pacific Rim Uprising is finally hitting theaters. The sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi action extravaganza brings Star Wars lead John Boyega into the mix as Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s deceased character from the first film. This time, the humans are prepared for the return of the giant, city-demolishing monsters known as kaiju, but are critics prepared for a sequel that is out of the hands of monster master Guillermo del Toro?

The first Pacific Rim Uprising reviews are in, and it sounds like the sequel from director Steven S. DeKnight may not be as good as its predecessor, but fans will still have a good time in the end. However, they apparently have to suffer through a boring first half before they get there. Get the full scoop with the Pacific Rim Uprising early buzz below.

First up, here are some of the brief Twitter reactions from critics who caught the movie early:

As you can see, there are a few here who really love what Pacific Rim Uprising is doing. However, even some of those favorable reactions seem to have a little caveat of the sequel bringing some bad along with it. So it seems your mileage may vary, even if you’re a fan of the original Pacific Rim.

Pacific Rim Uprising Reviews

Pacific Rim Uprising Reviews

We’ve seen the brief reactions above, but they can only go so far. The full Pacific Rim Uprising reviews offer a little more insight into this blockbuster sequel. There are some colorful, negative words to say about the movie, but others seem to have enjoyed the ride Pacific Rim Uprising took them on, for better or worse.

Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly made an unfavorable comparison to another city-smashing franchise:

“I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that Pacific Rim Uprising is drastically worse than the last two Transformers sequels. But the fact that it’s even a contest certainly isn’t a recommendation. To be honest, the best way to see this one is probably a year from now on late-night cable.”

Nick Schager at Variety says there’s plenty of big action to wow audiences, but it’s lacking something specific:

“Pacific Rim Uprising delivers plentiful CG mayhem, first between rival Jaegers (thanks to a mysterious rogue sentinel), and then between Jaegers and a trio of kaijus with transformative skills of their own. What it lacks, though, is both del Toro’s trademark Lovecraftian imagery (all slick tentacles and dank subterranean locales) and the sense of thunderous heft that the Mexican auteur bestowed upon his titans.”

Frank Scheck at The Hollywood Reporter is a little harsher, but has similar sentiments:

“Lacking the stylistic flair provided by del Toro in the original, this sequel directed by Steven S. DeKnight (TV’s Daredevil and Spartacus) becomes increasingly tiresome in its cliched plotting and characterizations, hackneyed dialogue and numbingly repetitive, visually incoherent action sequences. There were no less than three editors on the project, and you get the feeling that they weren’t on speaking terms. The sequel is an improvement on its predecessor in at least one respect: Its running time is twenty minutes shorter. Not that you feel it.”

Our buddy Mike Ryan at Uproxx had a good time, though acknowledges that this movie is dumb through and through:

Pacific Rim Uprising is a dumb movie that knows it’s a dumb movie and just tries to show you a good time and doesn’t needlessly bog us down with too much character development or exposition because it knows we don’t really care. We don’t buy a ticket to Pacific Rim Uprising to know the backstory of any of these characters. We just want to see robots punching monsters — and Pacific Rim Uprising has plenty of that.”

Glenn Kenny at The New York Times seems fairly satisfied with the movie:

“Directed by the television veteran Steven S. DeKnight (“Angel,” “Smallville”), the movie balances amiable humor and standard believe-in-yourself bromides with better than average action sequences. I grew up on “Godzilla” movies and retain some vestigial fondness for them — and, incidentally, I can’t stand “Transformers” movies. That “Pacific Rim Uprising” managed to hit me in my “Godzilla” sweet spot is the best recommendation I can give it.”

Lucy O’Brien at IGN thinks the sequel doesn’t quite measure up to the original:

“Pacific Rim Uprising is a loyal, if unremarkable, successor to the giddy original. There’s still a lot of fun to be had in the pleasure of watching Kaijus clash with Jaegers in spectacular, bone-rattling battles, and that’s reason enough to see it for a certain crowd. But beyond that, Uprising leaves a lot on the table in respects to developing this potentially interesting post-apocalyptic universe and adding more than that single note. A disjointed script shortchanges at least half the cast in favor of letting John Boyega’s star shine as brightly as possible, and that left me wishing a simpler, cleaner story had been told around the action.”

Benjamin Lee at The Guardian echoes other sentiments about this movie being one you shut your brain off for:

“It might drift out of the memory just as easily as it drifted in, but there’s a goofy likability to Pacific Rim: Uprising, a primal thrill to be had, and a confident slickness behind it that means, despite a nearly two-hour running time, it doesn’t outstay its welcome.”

David Ehrlich at IndieWire calls the movie a “generic and diverting sequel that corrects some of the original’s biggest mistakes,” but he also notes:

“Depressingly, “Uprising” is never better than when it’s setting up another sequel. By the time that movie crashes into theaters, our expectations for it might actually be low enough for it to surpass them.”

Finally, Matt Goldberg at Collider came away mostly disappointed:

“The new sequel, directed by Steven S. DeKnight, has no problem putting a charismatic lead front-and-center, but all the energy and design has been excised from the picture. More concerned with cool robot fights than a world overrun by monsters, Pacific Rim Uprising is serviceable enough on its own terms, but can’t help but feel like a pale imitation of the first movie.”

***

Even for Pacific Rim fans, it sounds like the movie misses the mark a bit, even if it brings some big, bright, blockbuster action along with it. John Boyega may help elevate the sequel, but otherwise, the movie doesn’t seem to shake a stick at what director Guillermo del Toro did the first time around. Even so, maybe there’s some fun to be had in theaters as these sci-fi giants destroy cities while fighting each other. That’s what the big screen was made for, right?

Pacific Rim Uprising is in theaters everywhere on March 23, 2018. Watch the most recent trailer right here.

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