This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
"Meg 2: The Trench is overstuffed with chum and flounders around its first half before it finds its prey and sinks its teeth into the goofy B-movie thrills that people want."
BY JACK RANSOM AUGUST 4, 2023
“That’s the biggest meg I’ve ever seen.”
”Biggest meg anyone’s ever seen.”
Meg 2: The Trench sees Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) lead a research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. Their voyage spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high-stakes battle for survival.
At time of writing this toothy sequel is currently beached at an abysmally low Rotten Tomatoes rating and being harpooned by critics left, right and centre. Firstly, I have to believe that anyone going into a sequel to The Meg should know what they are in for and I feel like the critical lashing is quite harsh. That being said, this is certainly not without its problems.
Swimming in at just under two hours, Meg 2: The Trench is just the right length to cram in its novel adaptation material, though it does splash around its first two acts in an undeniably messy fashion. Jumping between Jonas’ eco war (a great character reintroduction), the ongoing scientific research from the first film and a shady, barely present shady billionaire with greedy motivations (pointless), leads you to think, “where are the megalodon's?”. Things kick off in the second half and the final third at Fun Island, where all hell breaks loose and you very much get what you came for.
Firstly, it’s still utterly baffling to me that Ben Wheatley (who is mostly known for his smaller, obscure indie flicks) is behind the camera, as there is no stylistic distinction from any other blockbuster. Having seen visual eyesores like The Flash and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania some of the ropey CGI and green screen on display here can be forgiven (the murky and chaotic trench walk aside). For the majority though, the giant shark mayhem is convincingly presented: Statham charging head first into the jaws of death on a jet ski, tentacled terror at the beach, a meg mouth camera POV and we get a far superior blast of a mega shark vs a giant octopus than the Asylum film.
There is a layer of welcome self-awareness to the screenplay that was missing in the first film. Statham does what he does best. Po-faced sincerity whilst dropping a great one-liner and still kicking ass at 56. Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy and Shuya Sophia Cai are clearly having fun reprising their roles from the The Meg and new team members, the enthusiastic Jing Wu (whose character is on a mission to make the most risky decisions in a movie) and the hard edged yet good spirited Melissanthi Mahut are welcome additions.
Meg 2: The Trench is overstuffed with chum and flounders around its first half before it finds its prey and sinks its teeth into the goofy B-movie thrills that people want. Chuckle worthy lines, bombastic dorsal finned, tentacled spectacle in the finale and hammy performances throughout help counteract the lack of meg chaos at the start and the film doubles down on a wonky screenplay that isn’t as focused as the first film.