“Pause it, I don’t want to miss how stupid it is.” Not once since its release did “The Meg” occur to me to be an actual movie. Like, I can’t just sit down and watch … “The Meg.” The one where Jason Statham punches a big shark with his fist? It’s not real. It’s a trailer, a concept, a joke—except now I have seen “The Meg.” I have seen it twice, actually. I have also seen “The Meg 2.” That’s what this review is about. “Meg 2: The Trench,” but also “The Meg” because it seems, shockingly, The Hoot is missing a review.
So, the titular meg is a big shark that lives at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Not the bottom we all know and love, no, the deeper bottom, hidden under a cloud. The meg, called such because [she? he? I think aquatic things are usually called she, but the meg is referred to as an it, which feels mean but I guess I’ll just go with that] it is believed to be a megalodon, though the movies never actually do any tests to prove such a claim. All this means is it is, supposedly, a prehistoric shark. When a group of adventurers disrupts the meg’s territory and then blows a hole through the ocean cloud when escaping its clutches, the meg follows after them, through the cloud hole. In “Meg 2,” they disrupt the meg’s territory again, except this time there’s like a dozen megs (none of whom are the original because the original meg and the plot twist second meg both died in the prior movie). We only explicitly see three or four megs in “Meg 2”, but the implication of many megs is clear.
Both of these movies spend the first 60-70% of their runtime underwater or on the deep sea explorer base. This allows the scene to be set. We get to know the characters, the human villain and what kind of threat the meg is. In a series like “The Meg,” these scenes are largely nonsense scenes filled with (according to my roommate/self-proclaimed shark expert) scientifically inaccurate fish jargon meant to pad the movie’s length and trick the audience into thinking they are watching a real film.
The point of these movies is the last 30-40 minutes. What I like to call the beach scenes. When our protagonists lead the meg into the most crowded beach you have ever seen so it can do some real destruction. It is thoroughly entertaining and confusingly bloodless. It is worth noting that these movies are PG-13, so no blood baths and no body horror.
Now that you understand these movies, are they worth your time? Absolutely. I won’t recommend them over literally any marginally watchable movie, but I watched the first movie and then chose to rewatch it alongside the sequel because “The Meg” series is endlessly entertaining. Attempting to follow the plot or care about any of the characters is a losing game. How I approached the movie was just to … let it happen. I could not tell you when the characters were speaking English or Mandarin because I was not listening, I was just letting the movie happen. Martin Scorsese referred to Marvel movies as not being cinema, but rather “theme park rides.” Nothing better sums up “The Meg” series and that is what makes it such a pleasure to watch.
I certainly recommended the original over the sequel. “Meg 2: The Trench” is a lesser rehashing of “The Meg” that provides an entire “The Meg 1 and 1/2” worth of exposition that supposedly happened between the two movies. On top of the endless plot gibberish, it simply tries to do too much. Too many megs, too many new mythical sea creatures and too many “Jurassic Park” illusions. “The Meg” is one big “Jaws” reference. It is a simple shark attack movie, with a slightly bigger shark. But, presumably to distinguish itself, “Meg 2” chose “Jurassic Park” as its primary inspiration, utterly ignoring the already subpar “Jurassic World” franchise and really messing with the vibes that made the first movie as goofy and good as it was.
I recommend you watch “The Meg” at a family gathering when there is no conceivable way you can find one movie that will please everyone. Or if you and some friends are just really tired and are looking for noise to fill the gaps in your conversations.