Just watched this movie, after dismissing it on release as another silly blockbuster. Well, it is a silly blockbuster, but it's damned enjoyable and exciting.
Somehow, Del Toro manages to make giant robots fighting giant lizards interesting, exciting and thrilling, whereas Michael Bay's giant robots fighting each other was pure snoozeville. I think it has something to do with weight. The effects in this movie convinced me completely that the Jaeger's were huge, metal monsters that weighed tons, that could hit with the power of... well, with the power of a huge metal fist. And the Kaiju's had an organic density and weight to them too. I forgot I was watching CGI, and genuinely bought into the idea of these gigantic things pounding and tearing each other to pieces. There's something about ships wallowing in rough seas that always connects with me in a sort of 'nature is scary, but cool' way, so most of the fight scenes obviously worked for me.
And, unlike most action movies, I was actually invested in those big CGI scenes. The Kaiju were genuinely intimidating and the damage they did visceral, whether it was to the Jaegers or to the cities that they seemed to enjoy stomping so much. There were times when I was actually concerned that characters were going to die and Jaegers were going to be destroyed. And generally, they were destroyed.
Loved the designs of the different Jaegers too. Especially the Russian one. I know they were intended to evoke the cultures they came from, and Cherno Alpha did look like a huge, Soviet era war machine. I just wish there had been more of them, because I do like futuristic military tech/porn, when it's done right. Still, I do have to question one thing; why on earth did it take them so long to give these things swords? That one on Gipsy Alpha sliced through two Kaiju with barely any effort, yet they spend most of their time fighting with big metal fists. Silly. They have the tech to build these things, but their primary armament still appears to be those fists, with some guns as backup weapons. Why not build them just bristling with big sharp blades? Ah, I'm getting into Robot Wars territory now.
I couldn't help but laugh at the absurd earnestness of those synchronised 'we're making the Jaeger walk now' scenes. Goofy as hell.
The acting wasn't great, but it didn't need to be. I'll never understand what anyone sees in Idris Elba, who has been nothing but a block of wood in everything I've seen him in. And I don't know why they cast Charlie Hunnam and Rob Krazinsky, given that they look so bloody similar. Took me the first twenty minutes to figure out they were different people. Max Martini was good, though. And Rinko Kikuchi too. She was actually the heart of the human side of the movie, in my view. A nicely restrained but pathos-loaded performance. It didn't hurt that she looked very fetching in that armour suit, either.