Five years after Jason Statham’s first encounter with a giant shark, “Meg 2: The Trench” arrives in theaters with promises of a bigger and more action-packed sequel. Set six years after the events of the first movie, the story follows the Oceanography Center of Hainan, which discovers megalodons beneath the ocean floor. The Mana One research center invests in advanced technology, including submarines and exoskeletons, to explore the mysterious trench and study these underwater monsters.
Statham’s character, Jonas Taylor, has now embraced his role as a father to Meiying Zhang, a rebellious 14-year-old eager to explore the trench. Meiying’s mother is absent from the sequel, and Jonas shares parental responsibilities with Meiying’s uncle, Jiuming, who leads the research center. The film introduces a group of mercenaries led by the villain Montes, who has connections to Jonas.
While the sequel expands the movie’s world and introduces new elements, it suffers from bloated storytelling, stretching the plot thin across multiple directions. Director Ben Wheatley does well with horror-focused sequences but falls short in delivering exciting action in the convoluted third act.
The first half of the movie, like its predecessor, focuses on undersea terrors and horror, tapping into the fear of unknown creatures lurking in the depths of the ocean. However, the lack of natural light in the trench sometimes hinders the audience’s visibility during attacks by new creatures, adding to the tension but also making some scenes challenging to follow.
The movie’s final act leans heavily into action, featuring fistfights and battles with the megalodons and human enemies. Unfortunately, the action scenes suffer from poor framing and over-editing, leading to a lackluster experience. The movie struggles to find a balance between the campiness of its concept and trying to be a serious action film.
As the movie nears its climax, it becomes burdened by numerous loose ends that result in an overly long and confusing action sequence. The poorly written human villains also detract from the overall experience, taking away from the thrilling man-versus-beast spectacle.
Despite its flaws, “Meg 2: The Trench” still manages to provide some entertaining and goofy moments, such as Statham jousting against megalodon sharks. These scenes raise the question of whether the franchise would have been better as a pure horror or horror comedy. In the end, the sequel doesn’t deviate much from the first installment, leaving audiences with a similar experience, albeit with a mix of both positive and negative aspects.