Meg 2: The Trench
Updated: Sep 28
The sequel to the 2018 giant shark film is a sluggish disappointment
Monster films are becoming fewer and far between, as empathy to animals and unknown creatures rises with climate-forward movements. However, there are straggling films that continue to prod the feral feeling of: humanity-vs-other-animal, a recent example being: Meg 2: The Trench (2023).
Meg 2 follows the same hero from the previous film, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), as he once again is wrapped up between greedy executives and the unleashed prehistoric aquatic creatures: megalodons.
Ben Wheatley is brought on to direct Meg 2 after a string of unimpressive efforts, such as the inexplicable remake of Hitchcock’s Rebecca (2020), and the ambitious if flat High Rise (2015) and Free Fire (2016). In Meg 2, Wheatley is straddled with a script that once again misses the reason people go to see Meg movies in the first place: the giant sharks. An entire two thirds of runtime is devoted to corporate espionage and character drama that viewers simply couldn’t care about. Character bonds are laughably written, dialogue is contradictory, and the plot is so inconsistently tripping itself over, you want to bury your face in your hands.
Meg 2’s plot relies even more on the lazy excuse of stupid characters to bring about its action. Each character decision becomes increasingly infuriating as you witness the writers being incapable of thinking inventive ideas to get to their desired set-pieces. The reliance on mid-2000s blockbuster cliches is equally taxing, not just for the lack of originality and redundancy, but through more problematic uses as well, such as the stereotypical black side-character whose entire reason for being is commenting “dang” and “mhm.” In this time an age, you would forgive a first draft of including that, but to have a greenlight through every producer and executive is insulting.
The final third of Meg 2 delivers the bonkers shark and Statham action you buy a ticket for in the first place, but at that point it’s too little too late. Viewers are already stupored by the horrendous character drama and infuriated by the laziness of the plotting. Wheatley’s direction doesn’t salvage much, having poorly lit diving scenes that disorient viewers (and cheaply save on the visual effects budget), and choppy action scenes that waste the action experience of Statham.
In the end, Meg 2: The Trench doesn’t even cross the threshold of being so cheekily bad that it’s enjoyable, it’s simply a slog of a false promise of being a shark film. The flat characters, boring action, shameless pandering to the Chinese market, and astoundingly lazy script bog this into a must-skip flick.