Attack on Titan Part 2 directly follows the events of Attack on Titan Part 1, only after there's an abnormally long recap of Attack on Titan Part 1 to get through first. The recap is so thorough that you could probably skip 'Part 1' altogether if you wanted to and you wouldn't really miss much. After Eren (Haruma Miura) saved Armin (Kanata Hongo) during a skirmish with a group of Titans at the cost of his own life, Mikasa (Kiko Mizuhara) becomes enraged and fights until the bitter end. However the titan that ate Eren and sets its sights on Mikasa is soon torn to shreds as a new titan emerges, one that seemingly fights for the depleted Scouting Regiment. Eren inexplicably became a titan. The corrupted Central Government that's led by Kubal (Jun Kunimura) takes on more of a Nazi inspired gestapo force role this time around, with their book burning sessions, uniforms and their fascist ideology. The parallels are fairly clear. No, they weren't hellbent on genocide like the Nazi's were, but they were focused on controlling the populace through using the fear and paranoia of the titans.
Eren is captured after the conclusion of Attack on Titan: Part 1 and interrogated as a potential threat, seeing as no one has ever seen or heard of a human being able to transform into a titan while retaining some semblance of his consciousness. Eren could be their greatest hope against the other titans, or he could be a trojan horse that's being manipulated somehow, even if Eren isn't aware of it. Eren is rescued by Captain Shikishima (Hiroki Hasegawa) and they set about to bring the established order down, however all is not as it seems.
Attack on Titan: Parts 1 and 2 were shot as one singular movie that was basically cut in half, so all of the same problems that Part 1 had are present in Part 2 as well. And yet Part 2 seems like a more balanced movie with a clearer subtext. The pacing is better, the humor worked better, which mostly came from the naturally inquisitive Sasha Blouse (Satomi Ishihara). The titans seemed less horrific this time around and more like a monster movie mash, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I didn't think. The special effects of the Titans were good, I'd even say exceptional considering that both movies were made for less than $30 million dollars. The compositing was dodgy in places, but come on, this is an extremely minor nitpick when given what they were to work with.
I felt like there was more sincerity in their acting, although they still had their 'hammy' moments. The score was still dreadful though and it was still too melodramatic, too often, but it felt tighter and more restrained in most regards to Part 1. Maybe it was because Part 2 had all the big "pay off" moments, while Part 1 had to set those moments up. I was honestly expecting a lot worse. I knew the reviews were bad and it wasn't as successful commercially as the first movie was but I honestly felt it was the better movie, and a decent movie on its own terms.
Main character arcs were completed, motivations were explored in much more depth and there were a few unexpected surprises as well, for me at least since I haven't seen the anime. Attack on Titans: Part 2 delivered exactly what I wanted it to, giant Titans punching through a line of people while spraying blood all over my screen and epic battles between, well... titans. That's not all I wanted from this movie, but it was still a pretty awesome spectacle nonetheless. The aristocratic ruling elite and the political undercurrents of class warfare were there, but they were kept minimal, in a good way. If you're looking for something like a Godzilla movie with a strong horror vibe to it, then I bet you'll have a fair amount of fun watching Attack on Titan: Part 2. Maybe even Part 1 in retrospect as well.
Written by - The Sentry - 13/04/2016