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Review: Meg 2 - The Trench
They're Back For Seconds
An exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean of a daring research team spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high-stakes battle for survival.
You can be the biggest cinephile on the planet who has seen all kinds of movies and understands the subjective tastes of cinema, and yet no matter how well you come to understand the medium and its industry, or attempt to know what a high quality film looks like, you will inevitably find yourself at odds with majority opinions on movies. And I’m not talking about a case like say last weekend’s Haunted Mansion where critics roughed that movie up but audiences seemed to like it well enough. I’m talking about when both critics and the public-at-large are at odds with your thoughts coming out of a screening.
That was what happened with me and 2018’s The Meg, a movie that made great money but bombed with critics and general audiences on the review front. And yet a movie that I personally thought was an enjoyable popcorn flick. Maybe it was the creature feature enthusiast in me, but I genuinely had a good time with the movie. I thought it was a fun shark film that knew what it was supposed to be. So when I saw the downright awful reviews for the new follow-up in Meg 2: The Trench, I wondered if it really could be all that bad. I even re-watched the original 2018 flick to see if I remembered wrong but no I didn’t. I still came away liking the movie. So you’d think I would come away at odds with the popular opinion on the sequel right? Well, yes and no. But overall I cannot defend this movie as much as I would the original.
Where as the first movie embraced what it was as a creature feature, this movie seemingly decides that since they got Jason Statham back they needed to add some action sequences and greedy money-hungry corporate-backed villains with mercenaries for the cast to fight. This includes some of the worst written and most stereotypical antagonists I’ve seen on film.
While the first movie had clunky dialogue, it was self-aware but this time the dialogue is so bad because you can tell it was written with no care in the script. There’s no weight to the deaths like the first one tried to have; this time in place of jokes at the expense of those eaten, in a way that clashes with the threat we’re supposed to see these sharks as. There’s also about two or three comedic scenes that are cringe-worthy attempts at having an audience moment. All of this goofiness is topped off with an absurd subplot involving a “trained” Meg.
And finally the film’s marketing has hidden away that much of this movie actually takes place in the trench with human characters playing off each other, and the sharks barely getting a spotlight until the finale. What you ultimately get is an even more inferior project than the previous entry, which again as much I personally liked it is generally not well-received.
That said I don’t think the film is AS BAD as its critics score show either. Is it a messy bland sequel to a “mindless entertainment” flick? Yes. Do I think its a downgrade from its predecessor? Also yes. But I have seen much more god-awful creature features much less much worse films in general. Hell I’ve seen much worse films from this year alone. So though I wouldn’t recommend this, I couldn’t say either that I would outright implore someone to avoid it either. It all leads to an initial “meh” C+ grade from me for Meg 2: The Trench. Barring this making a ton of money like the first one, I don’t see a need to try to make this into the next Jaws franchise.