Meg 2: The Trench is the sequel no one expected (or asked for)

by Ed Blackadder

Is this the highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 shark-centric thriller “The Meg?” Probably not. I don’t exactly recall anyone, anywhere clamoring for this sequel.

Regardless, director Jon Turteltaub returns with “Meg 2: The Trench,” promising another plunge into the terror of the deep. Unfortunately, while the film attempts to recapture the suspense and excitement of its predecessor, it ultimately falls short, delivering a formulaic and uninspired experience.

All that said, the first one was not a good movie. It was filled with plot holes and unrealistic nonsense, but it was throwaway fun. Everything likeable about “The Meg” is missing from this follow up.

“Meg 2: The Trench” resumes the story of marine biologist Dr. Jonas Taylor, portrayed once again by Jason Statham. This time, the threat is amplified as a new species of genetically enhanced predators is introduced, leading to a face-off in the treacherous underwater trench known as the Mariana Trench. The premise holds promise (in a “Deep Blue Sea” kind of way), but it quickly becomes evident that the film struggles to capitalize on its potential.

One of the most glaring issues with “Meg 2: The Trench” is its lack of originality. The storyline follows a predictable trajectory, often mirroring the beats of its predecessor, which would have been better to avoid than repeat. The characters find themselves in familiar situations, employing tried-and-true tactics to outsmart the colossal predators.

This lack of innovation is disappointing, especially given the opportunity to explore new depths and dimensions of the ocean’s mysteries. The absence of fresh ideas hinders the film’s ability to distinguish itself from the flood of creature-feature movies that have come before it.

While the original “The Meg” managed to strike a balance between action, suspense, and moments of levity, “Meg 2: The Trench” struggles to replicate this equilibrium. The film veers into excessive action sequences, relying heavily on CGI spectacle to maintain audience engagement. While these scenes are visually impressive, they often feel forced and superfluous, detracting from the film’s overall cohesion. The attempt to constantly up the ante results in a disjointed narrative that fails to capture the tension and gradual build-up that defined the original’s more effective moments.

Character development also suffers in “Meg 2: The Trench.” The ensemble cast, which includes returning faces, lacks the depth required to make viewers truly care about their fates. The emotional arcs feel rushed and underdeveloped, leaving the audience disconnected from the characters’ struggles and triumphs. Even Statham’s Jonas Taylor, despite his established history, fails to evolve beyond his initial archetype as the rugged hero.

On the technical front, the film showcases some commendable underwater cinematography, effectively capturing the vast and enigmatic beauty of the ocean. However, this visual achievement is undermined by inconsistent pacing and jarring transitions between scenes. The rapid shifts between action-packed sequences and moments of quieter introspection disrupt the film’s flow, making it difficult for audiences to become fully immersed in the story.

Despite sporadic moments of visual splendor and Jason Statham’s charismatic presence, the movie’s attempts to recreate the magic of the first installment are largely unsuccessful. Ultimately, “Meg 2: The Trench” treads water, unable to overcome the limitations of its formulaic approach and failing to capture the imagination of its audience.

Ed’s Grade: D