Those of you who read my piece on the first part of the Attack on Titan movies will know I was keen to find out how the story unfolds, so I was happy to be asked to take a look at the second part of this live action movie adaptation of the incredibly popular anime series. I will be including spoilers for the first part of this movie, so if you don’t want to hear them, click away!
Hopefully I can assume that you are at least familiar with the first movie but here’s a very brief recap. Following a nuclear disaster gigantic titans attack civilisation causing them to build huge walls to keep what was left of humanity safe, which they did for many years before the walls are breached by the Titans. In part 1 we follow friend Eren, Mikasa and Armin as they join a military expedition to reclaim the world outside the walls from the Titans.
Part two starts with 10 minutes of recap, then picks up after the discovery that Eren can transform into a Titan, starting with him being interrogated in a military trial. The military/social fascism elements might have been interesting to explore at this point, but it is not to be, as Eren is ‘saved’ from the trial by the ‘armoured Titan’ This is where the film starts to fall down, what follows is a very interesting scene where Eren wakes in a plain white room with just a Wurlitzer juke box playing Skeeter Davies’ End of the World. He is joined by a new character, Shikishima, who explains the origins of the Titan/human transformation which I won’t go into detail on here, because of spoilers.
At this point I’m thinking this is ok, we could take a surreal, abstract route with this, it’s interesting but no, we’re suddenly back to the old format and back with the rest of the team from the first movie. And that is one of the movies biggest problems, its disjointed, making it hard to follow and stopping the watcher become absorbed, it is at times too fast and others too slow, rarely hitting the right balance. There is now some vague plan by the team to excavate an ancient bomb and use it to explode the damaged part of the wall further, making the rubble fill the gap, leaving the wall whole but not as high.
Whilst transporting the bomb they run into Eren and Shikishima who have other plans for the bomb.
What follows is that most of the characters from the first film (the ones we weren’t really interested in) getting killed, a countdown timer and some fights between more of the extra huge super Titans. These battles should be awesome but whereas the unstoppable rampage of the smaller Titans in the first movie felt exhausting but in a good way the larger Titans just felt dull, they definitely lacked the horror of the first films threat.
Whilst the cinematography and backgrounds are still as beautiful as in the first film we don’t get to see them much, it feels like there are only two, maybe three if you count the white room, locations in the film.
I really wanted to like this, I wanted to get absorbed into this world and story that has made the Manga and anime so popular and had high hopes after the first film. The second part lacked storyline, artistry and any rhythm. It didn’t really bring us much closer to the characters or their relationships. These two parts, one reasonable and one not that great at all, could have probably been made into one decent movie, the first was only 98 minutes and at times felt rushed, the second part was 87 minutes with ten minutes of that being catch up on the first part, and it still felt slow. I still want to find out the story of the Titans, this didn’t do it, so I will now do what many probably would have suggested in the first place and just watch the anime.