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Meg 2: The Trench (2023)

'Meg 2: The Trench' is a follow up sequel to the surprisingly entertaining 2018 movie 'The Meg', a movie that came out of nowhere and became one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer, raking in a total of £530 million, it was enviable a sequel would surface eventually. Given the simple enough premise of the first movie and its mindless popcorn entertainment value, it wouldn't say I was excited for its sequel announcement but I certainly wasn't apposed to it. More giant sharks... what's not to love, right?

It's probably best to start with what I found to be one of the biggest disappointments that comes from 'Meg 2: The Trench'. And that is, considering this is a sequel, the set up is already pre-established in the first movie, so why this felt the need to spend the first two thirds of its run time focusing on an espionage subplot is beyond me. And that's not to say this stuff isn't enjoyable enough in its own right, but we came into this movie wanting to see big sharks cause destruction in real world locations, as the trailer insinuated and it only really deliverers on that in the closing 15 minutes. Considering the focused direction the first movie had, this unusual change in narrative feel quite jarring.

A big percentage this movie takes place under water deep with the trench (as the title would suggest). One thing that I found particularly engrossing about this is the design of the sea bed and the creatures that inhabit it. Using vivid colours and a beautiful neon spectrum, it's hard not to be in awe of the creativity gone into bring these scenes to life. As to be expected, these are obviously created on a green scene and the CGI isn't perfect and the same can be said for the majority of the the sharks and other creatures that make appearances throughout. However, for the most part it's good enough to not cause distraction or pull you out of the experience.

The casting is without question the strongest element of the 'Meg 2: The Trench'. That's not necessarily to say anyone delivers an Oscar worthy performances, in fact you could say a few of them are in some instances 'Razzie' worthy. But, collectively as a team the chemistry between them on screen and their character relationships makes for some enjoyable and more often than not chuckle worthy back and forth. Jonas played by Jason Statham and Mac played by Cliff Curtis are the best example of this. One of the more improved returning characters from the first, is DJ played by Page Kennedy. His overall growth and development since his bit part in the original is a very welcomed addition and I think Kennedy plays this role brilliantly.

The 'Megs' themselves are briefly scattered in and out of scenes throughout, but they are certainly not the main focus of this movie up until the closing act. Now, one thing I found particularly underwhelming is the inclusion of more sharks. Let me clarify, having more sharks instantly made 'The Meg 2: The Trench' very predictable, having a sense of awareness that the overall mass threat level of multiple was rather minimal to the core cast, because at some point, these sharks were going to be pretty easily dispensed making way for one big final boss shark battle. Something that enviably became the case here. Don't get me wrong, it did indeed make for some for some rather entertaining action set pieces at times, I just think once again, this is a case of sometimes less is more. I always find with creature feature movies such as this that a single antagonist predator always makes for a more impactful story.

Whilst having many enjoyable elements throughout, overall, 'Meg 2: The Trench' felt very misguided and rather poorly paced. At its core this is an entertaining mindless popcorn flick that I would be lying if I said I didn't have fun with. However, if you were really to focus on the fact that this is a sequel, so much time is spent wasted on unnecessary subplots and convoluted characters that hold no weight to the overall narrative of the story. I would certainly like to see this franchise continue and spawn more sequels, but I think a more R rated tone and a more focus sense of direction is required in order to keep fans returning to see these movies.



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