There are some movies that are made for the big screen. Pacific Rim is one of them. This almost goes without saying if you've seen any of the trailers or TV spots. You are practically guaranteed high octane action and visuals before stepping foot into the theater.
Thankfully the movie is more than just about the giant mech suit vs. monster action. There is a story here. In the opening, we get a brief run down on the events leading up to the present time frame. Monsters started appearing in more frequent numbers and it was up to humanity to bond together to fight a common threat. This also sets up the sense of loss for our main character and a reason he has his gung ho, stubborn and tough attitude. The attacks have been increasing and this could be the final battle for the survival of mankind.
While the human side of the story gives some meaning to the movie, it's also where it falters a little. Some of the acting and dialogue just didn't work. Some lines felt forced and cheesy and some of the acting was just too stiff. It's possible the idea was to capture an almost 80s feel. It does give it a little charm. Some of the roles are stereotypes (the wacky but brilliant scientist, the tough as nails leader with a hidden soft spot, the tough loner hero who is the only one with the answers). Again, they do add life to the movie so that it is not simply the epic effects from the battles. It just didn't feel necessary to try to throw in a rushed and slightly bizarre love story into the mix. These are the main problems I had overall. So if you can get passed them, you should love the movie.
If you're looking for huge action and visuals, this movie delivers. The visuals are pretty amazing. The action is intense. Sitting in a packed theater, I could hear one guy to my right suck in his breath and let it out in relief many times. On my left, a lady kept jumping and cringing at different scenes. In this aspect, the movie accomplishes what it set out to do. When the blows are exchanged, you'll almost feel the impact of each hit.
Although, one problem with the fighting is after a period, one of the pilots decides to use a certain weapon they apparently always had. It has great results and you can't help but wonder why the heck they didn't use this before or implement it in the other suits.
We've seen several movies with mass destruction but they don't compare to this. A recent complaint many had was the artificial feel to the end fight in Man of Steel. With this movie, you do get a sense that the events are taking place in an actual world full of people. This intensifies the already nail-biting scenes.
Bottom line, should you see this? I would say absolutely. There is more to the movie than there appears on the surface. Despite having some concepts we've seen in other media, this is a great new franchise (yes, I am hopeful this is just the beginning). The visuals are on a grand scale that needs to be seen on the big screen for full appreciation. I would even say you should see it in 3D.
This isn't just giant robots fighting monsters. You will get plenty of that but there is some heart to the movie. I could have done without some of the cheesiness in certain scenes but that's also the sort of thing many love in their summer blockbuster movies. This is exactly the sort of movie you'll want to see this summer.
Legendary Comics did release a hardcover one-shot prequel comic - PACIFIC RIM: TALES FROM YEAR ZERO. It is written by Travis Beacham, who also wrote the screenplay with Guillermo del Toro. It does give a lot of the backstory but also has some character spoilers for the movie.