Meg 2: The Trench Review

Reviews Films




Meg 2: The Trench sinks its teeth into cinemas this week from Warner Bros. Pictures. After what feels like forever since 2018’s The Meg, fans of the creature feature are hoping for another fin-tastic entry in the franchise. 

In this mega second instalment, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) spearheads the Mana One team’s venture into the uncharted depths of the Mariana Trench. They discover a mysterious mining operation that threatens their mission, sending them on a perilous detour. Deep within the trench, they encounter new threats that put their survival skills to the ultimate test. With time ticking, they rely on their resourcefulness and unwavering determination to outsmart the merciless apex predators and protect the fragile marine ecosystem. In the pitch-black depths, they grapple not only with physical challenges, but also profound ethical dilemmas that will chart their fate.

My girlfriend and I were pretty late to The Meg fandom as we’d never watched the original in cinemas. We’ve made up for lost time, though, as we’ve both become big advocates of the first film. The over-the-top action, cheesy dialogue, Jason Statham shirtless and gory dismemberment were what we loved most about the film. I was more than ready to dive into the sequel for what I hoped would be another B-grade monster masterpiece. 

For a majority of my viewing experience something felt off about The Meg 2: The Trench. The first two thirds were so different in tone from the first Meg film and it didn’t quite work for me. The new director, Ben Wheatley (High Rise) takes over from original director, Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) and takes the franchise in a different direction, which I believe ultimately hurts the final product. Rather than go for what worked well in the original, the film leans more into a true horror/thriller more closely resembling an Alien (1979) remake. The corny characters, cheesy dialogue and logic-defying action were what made me enjoy The Meg so much, and it’s a shame I didn’t get to experience that until it’s brought back in the final act.  

I appreciate the film trying to develop more of a plot and evolve the franchise past it’s B-grade roots, but there’s far too much exposition and uninteresting subplots to justify the more tedious sections. The film feels bloated in large chunks with lacklustre characters and bland dialogue. The film’s villains unfortunately also fall victim to cookie-cutter stereotypes and uninspired motives. They end up coming across as rejected Bond villains. The main event, and what most of the advertisement centres around, is the final act where the fat is trimmed back and the B-grade action is let loose. There’s some interesting camera work on display and impressive action choreography as the megalodon chomps its way through anything that gets in its path. The Jurassic Park style finale is classic popcorn-flick fun and I found myself becoming a lot more invested. The noticeable increase in special effects quality is also welcomed as the exploration scenes of the ‘trench’ are visually pleasing.

The returning cast are excellent, including Jason Statham, who’s as you’d expect. His character – Jonas Taylor – is the tough-as-nails cockney with a disdain for the rules (a character type he has managed to make an entire career of). The limited members of the original cast include DJ (Page Kennedy), Mac (Cliff Curtis), and Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai), who all get significant upgrades to their characters. The lack of returning characters from the original film is noticeable, as the film either doesn’t acknowledge them or briefly mentions their offscreen death between films, which comes across as cheap. Trying to make up for the lack of original cast members, the Mana One crew does get a few new additions which are mainly made up of forgettable, one-note characters only used for shark bait in the action scenes. I will give a shoutout to Chinese actor Jing Wu (The Wandering Earth), who fits in as the semi-action star and wingman to Statham’s Jonas. The two share the screen well together, and work as an epic action duo. 

Meg 2: The Trench’s final third is everything I’d hoped for out of the sequel, but the road to get there is a little bumpy. The lack of interesting new characters and the bloated subplots left me feeling underwhelmed. I hope this is just a minor setback in The Meg franchise and not what ends up making it extinct.   

Rating 6/10