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The Meg 2: The Trench A Review

The Meg 2: The Trench A Review

Megnificent Escape(ism)

The film begins during the time of the Jurassic Age, where dinosaurs are introduced in the opening sequence. The audience is treated to a hilariously entertaining point-of-view shot from inside a Meg’s mouth as it devours unsuspecting victims, establishing that the Meg is seemingly top of the food chain in the water. One must be careful around them, unlike the T-Rex, who was devoured. In The Meg 2: The Trench, directed by Ben Wheatley, the film is attempting to channel an atmosphere comparable to other thrillers of similar themes, such as Jaws and Predator. Fortunately, it takes a much lighter approach instead of the dark mood and sense of immediate danger in their prospective situations, giving a fun summer vibe as well as heartwarming one, with Jonas with his team on Mana One (with some new additions to the team). 


In the sequel, Jonas now works as an eco-vigilante with his friends, such as Mac (Cliff Curtis). In Meg 2: The Trench, the action escalates grander. Instead of a single massive shark, the audience has more razor-toothed sharks than in the previous one, a gigantic octopus, and a large pack of tiny and aggressive dinosaur-like creatures that seem like they have not eaten in a while. Many other characters join Jonas, including his brother-in-law Jiuming Zhang (played by Wu Jing), the goofy yet skillful engineer DJ (played by Page Kennedy), security officer Rigas (played by Melissanthi Mahu), and stepdaughter Meiying Zhang (played by Shuya Sophia Cai). The cast together dramatically expands on the relationships of returning Mana One teammates, introduces new ones as part of the team, and establishes the despicable human villains in the film.

The cast is led by a duo of Jason Statham and Chinese film star Jing Wu, who bring a charismatic presence to the screen. Alongside them, a group of environmentally evil villains armed with automatic weaponry adds to the chaos and mayhem. 

However, the film turns unexpectedly when Jonas is informed that he can inhale water to survive the deep-sea pressure and swim safely. This moment (seemingly) dramatically shifts the film’s tone for the rest of its duration. 

In Meg 2: the Trench, Jonas miraculously survives his impossible ordeal. As he and his team emerge from the ocean depths, Jonas transforms from a mortal sea diver into an action hero seemingly as skilled as Jason Bourne. 

 The movie delights in scenes where Statham is in complete action-hero mode, like when he stabs a Meg with a fallen-off helicopter wing and hurls exploding spears at another of the Megs while riding a jet ski while the Megs are in pursuit. Even DJ, who couldn’t swim in the first film, gets a chance to shine as an action hero, showcasing his action skills and newfound bravery. Jason Statham is the centerpiece of this film. He can shift from seriousness in the presence of dire threats to a light-hearted stepfather and team member, which helps to follow the overall tone the film is going for. In contrast, Wu brings a calm and cheery approach as Jonas’s brother-in-law, who is shown to be about as brave as Jonas himself, helping to balance each other out as two of the three main characters.

The Meg 2: The Trench A Review

Writing and Direction

Some moments in the film could benefit from a faster pace. Some scenes that are aimed at establishing Wu Jing as a co-lead (deuteragonist) and are slowed down to show the importance of their characters, but they do not propel the plot as much as one might have hoped and could have been better integrated within the rest of the pace of the film. On the positive side, there appears some positive undertones to navigate, emphasizing the importance of protecting the ocean for China and humanity as a whole, which follows in line with the themes. The audience is shown this in the first scene Jonas appears as character, with him after dealing with freight shipmen who were dumping waste into the ocean. It follows the themes of the novels written by Steve Alten (the book series The Meg franchise is built upon). The film is a Chinese co-production with Warner Bros, which may explain the appearance of some of these elements.

Some otherwise expected twists are executed well, and the unexpected ones are eye-catching. One example of an unexpected twist is when Jonas is informed that he can inhale water to survive the deep-sea pressure and swim safely. This moment (seemingly) dramatically shifts the film’s tone for the rest of its duration, showcasing Jonas’s focus and determination to save his family and everyone around him. As Jonas Taylor tried to teach his stepdaughter throughout the film, concentrate on the one, then move to the next thing. 

Cinematography and Tone

Once the story descends into the depths of the ocean trench, the atmospheric moodiness captivates, with the ocean floor bathed in a haunting red light that makes it harder to see fish (from the point of view of the human characters). The shots of danger do an excellent job of making the audience feel the sense of emergency the cast is in. Later in the film, the audience is shown clearer visuals  of tropical islands and water at a resort, such as when the action shifts to Fun Island within the last 30 minutes. Things are less murky and seemingly stable (until the sea monsters arrive). 

As the action shifts to the (an aptly named) Fun Island, resembling a high-end resort in what could be near the Galapagos, it becomes evident that Meg 2 has fully embraced vacation from ordinary life. 

In conclusion, The Meg 2: the Trench is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the apparent absurdity of the situation that Jonas Taylor is in as he saves his crew and other civilians from a whole slew of aquatic threats. Plus Jonas and his team going head to head with organized crime hoping to take advantage of the upcoming shark tragedy if Jonas and his crew can’t stop it from happening. Embracing the fun side of cinema, where it’s easy to lose yourself in what otherwise are incredible feats, maybe even impossible during the 1 hours and 56 minute run time, what unfolds is a relentless onslaught of over-the-top death and destruction interspersed with moments of heroism and family. The film fully embraces what it is and satisfies fans of the original The Meg.

The Meg 2: The Trench A Review

Meg 2: The Trench (2023) Official Warner Bros. Trailer

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TV/Film Writing Intern at Dead Talk News and graduate from the Ohio State University.
Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.