Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures
Derek Lawrence
March 20, 2018 at 05:51 PM EDT

Forget giant monsters — Pacific Rim Uprising’s toughest foes might be movie critics.

Reviews are rolling in for the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 action flick Pacific Rim, and the verdict is far from Oscar-worthy. Del Toro is still aboard as a producer, but Steven S. Knight steps in as director, delivering what critics are calling an “unremarkable,” ‘tedious,” and “dumb” film.

In his C-minus review, EW’s Chris Nashawaty wrote, “Now, under the limp reins of director Steven S. DeKnight (TV’s Daredevil), the follow-up feels like a flat cocktail of tedious mayhem, amateur-hour Starship Troopers-level acting (minus the tongue-in-cheek irony), and plot holes so gaping that a 20-story radioactive iguana could rampage right through them.” Read more from Nashawaty and other critics below.

Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)

“I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that Pacific Rim Uprising is drastically worse than the last two Transformers sequels. But the fact that it’s even a contest certainly isn’t a recommendation. To be honest, the best way to see this one is probably a year from now on late-night cable.”

Frank Scheck (The Hollywood Reporter)

“Lacking the stylistic flair provided by del Toro in the original, this sequel directed by Steven S. DeKnight (TV’s Daredevil and Spartacus) becomes increasingly tiresome in its cliched plotting and characterizations, hackneyed dialogue and numbingly repetitive, visually incoherent action sequences. There were no less than three editors on the project, and you get the feeling that they weren’t on speaking terms. The sequel is an improvement on its predecessor in at least one respect: Its running time is twenty minutes shorter. Not that you feel it.”

Nick Shager (Variety)

“This second entry in the franchise ditches, or downgrades, many of the elements that made del Toro’s original unique, while reconfiguring its style and attitude to more closely align with that of the Transformers films — a makeover that not only renders this follow-up unremarkable, but suggests (given the underwhelming box-office performance of Michael Bay’s last Hasbro-based effort) diminished long-term prospects with robot-fatigued audiences.”

Mike Ryan (Uproxx)

Pacific Rim Uprising is a dumb movie that knows it’s a dumb movie and just tries to show you a good time and doesn’t needlessly bog us down with too much character development or exposition because it knows we don’t really care. We don’t buy a ticket to Pacific Rim Uprising to know the backstory of any of these characters. We just want to see robots punching monsters — and Pacific Rim Uprising has plenty of that.”

David Ehrlich (IndieWire)

“It’s par for the course in a movie that has nothing on its mind but getting from start to finish in one piece — a movie that want to plug the hole in a sinking ship in order to strengthen the Pacific Rim brand and set it sailing towards a climactic final chapter. Depressingly, Uprising is never better than when it’s setting up another sequel. By the time that movie crashes into theaters, our expectations for it might actually be low enough for it to surpass them.”

Benjamin Lee (The Guardian)

“It might drift out of the memory just as easily as it drifted in, but there’s a goofy likability to Pacific Rim: Uprising, a primal thrill to be had, and a confident slickness behind it that means, despite a nearly two-hour running time, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. DeKnight has already hinted that a cinematic universe could be on the way and given the wafer-thin structure of the plot, that seems like a mistake, so before the waters get muddied once again, switch off and enjoy.”

Jennifer Bissett (CNET)

“Once you orient yourself to the breakneck breeziness of Pacific Rim Uprising and the one-liners start to draw a smile, there’s some fun to be had. But it’s a huge step down.”

Pacific Rim Uprising, which stars John Boyega and Scott Eastwood, crashes into theaters Friday.

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