Meg 2: The Trench (Christian Movie Review)
About The Movie
Sharks are Hollywood’s most versatile actors. Their movies range from the peaks of cinematic greatness (JAWS) to the deepest gutters of comedy (Sharknado). Meg 2: The Trench swims closer to the latter variety. Unlike JAWS (this reviewer’s favorite movie of all time), Meg 2 doesn’t aspire to be great cinema. The creators are fully aware that audiences don’t watch Meg 2 for complex, nuanced storytelling. They want to see Jason Statham roundhouse kick a giant shark. Unfortunately, even when setting expectations in the deep ocean trenches alongside those prehistoric sharks, Meg 2 is a dud.
For a movie filled with sharp teeth and big mouths, perhaps a food metaphor is fitting. We know a sugary chocolate cake isn’t nutritious, but we eat it anyway because it’s tasty. There is nothing worse than consuming an obscene number of calories for a dessert that isn’t even satisfying. Meg 2 is a dry, overbaked cake, lacking the guilty pleasure enjoyment needed to mask its lack of meaningful qualities.
Part of the problem is that Meg 2 never fully commits to being the movie it seems to want to be. The climactic third act showcases the tone the filmmakers likely desired to achieve: an action-packed comedy bursting with ridiculous, spoofy fun. It’s no surprise that every piece of marketing focused primarily on scenes from those final 30 minutes. Unfortunately, everything leading up to that climax is a slog that tries to play it too straight, with dark lighting, half-hearted attempts at horror, and too much cringeworthy dialogue.
Another issue is the Megs themselves. Due to the unconvincing CGI, they never feel menacing. The supersized sharks are also left in a waiting pattern for most of the film, making only sporadic appearances until finally being unleashed for that third act. In fact, for most of the first hour, audiences might forget they’re watching a shark movie at all. The action focuses on human vs. human conflicts. When the sharks finally get their big moment, they share the action with a giant squid, and even dinosaur lizards for some reason. It quickly becomes apparent that beyond the novelty of giant sharks, the filmmakers don’t have any clever ideas.
There are some occasional flashes of a silly, over-the-top B-movie. But in the end, Meg 2 fails to provide anything beyond mildly diverting entertainment. Sharks are resilient, and even Sharknado spawned five sequels. But after giving the Megs a second chance in the cinematic spotlight, it may be better if we let them stay in the deepest ocean trench from now on.
Engage The Film
Don’t Be Eaten by Sharks…Maybe?
When it comes to Meg 2, the giant sharks are the only things lurking beneath the surface. This movie isn’t interested in exploring themes or raising questions. One loose thematic thread that does make several appearances is the importance of “finding one’s own way in the world.” In an early scene, an adult tells a younger character that his father, despite their strained relationship, encouraged him to chart his own path in the world.
That younger character takes that lesson to heart by repeatedly disobeying her guardian figures’ instructions and behaving in a manner that she deems best. At the end of the film, she is commended for her actions. This message itself is fine, if somewhat individualistic. Yet the paths the characters choose repeatedly lead to disaster and dire consequences in ways that seem to undercut that message.
On a more meta level, the existence of Meg 2 is noteworthy. Some Christians are uncomfortable with “monster movies” due to the high volume of death. But in the best of these films, despite the death toll, the focus is on elevating life—courageous human survival against the forces of nature. Aspects of that positive focus are evident in Meg 2. But by the time the third act arrives, death has largely been used for spectacle and comedic gags. It is not Cocaine Bear levels of desensitization, but Christians might find themselves questioning the value of entertainment in which the loss of human life is treated so flippantly.