What I thought of Pacific Rim after my initial viewing: I thought it sucked up one side and down the other. The human performances were lacking at best. The fight scenes were slow, clunky and uninteresting. Not a fan.
What I think of Pacific Rim after my second viewing: I’ve softened a bit on the Jaeger-Kaiju fights. I think I was heavily biased due to my distaste for the Transformers franchise, a quartet of flicks that specialize in fight scenes that are mostly just metal clashing at high speed. The hand-to-hand nature of Jaeger-Kaiju combat came across better on second viewing, and the sheer enormity of the robots and creatures made the scale of the fisticuffs that much more impressive.
However, I’m still largely unimpressed by the human performances. Charlie Day works as comedic relief (although I have to admit I kept hoping he’d break out his It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia rat-basher and take it to the Kaiju), as does his fellow scientist Gottlieb, played by Burn Gorman. Ron Perlman is big, bold and brash as Kaiju leftover parts salesman Hannibal Chau, but his screen time is limited. Idris Elba, one of my favorite actors, is under-used but solid given with what little the script offers. The Jaeger pilots are largely cardboard cutouts, and our pilot hero, Raleigh, as played by Charlie Hunman (Sons of Anarchy) is a waste of space. Day, Gorman, Perlman and Elba all elevate their weak roles and lackluster dialogue with their solid performances. Hunman is unable to do the same, lacking subtlety in a very by-the-numbers performance.
Final thought: Not a great movie, but it’s a pretty damn fine collection of big bodies battling.