The second of two films based on Hajime Isayama’s popular action/horror manga, Attack on Titan: End of the World continues and wraps up the story of the first film, which was a mixed bag, capturing the sheer horror that were the titular man-eating Titans and felt like a decent monster movie, but fell hard in the character and story department. End of the World improves on the story and characters, while the action takes more of a backseat. However, the film does have just as many problems as the first one, but still provides a relatively entertaining action movie. So, let’s grab our manoeuvre gear and attack this sequel.
The film picks off shortly after the end of the first – the surviving members of the Survey Corps discovered the main protagonist Eren Yeager (Haruma Miura) could transform into a Titan and slaughtered a few hundred or so Titans. However, the military understandably chain him up and interrogate the confused Eren. General Kubal (Jun Kunimura) wants Eren destroyed but the other recruits vouch for Eren, proposing he is used as weapon against the Titans. There is also the necessity to block up the big hole in Wall Maria, and the army decide to use an undetonated missile located near the wall. Just as Kubal opts to have Eren executed, a second Titan arrives and kidnaps Eren. Scout recruits Mikasa Ackerman (Kiko Mizuhara), Armen Arlert (Kanata Hongō), Jean Kirstein (Takahiro Miura), Sasha Blouse (Nanami Sakuraba), Sannage (Satoru Matsuo), and team leader Zoe Hanji (Satomi Ishihara) set out in secret to arm the missile and rescue Eren.
Meanwhile, Eren awakens in a bunker, meeting Captain Shikishima (Hiroki Hasegawa) of the Scout Corps, who reveals he was the Titan who rescued him and details the origins of the Titans – evil American government experiments and a plague that turned humans into the mindless Titans. The origins of the Titans hasn’t been revealed in the manga yet, so this explanation feels very generic and uninspiring. Anyway, Shikishima and his team of conspirators plot to overthrow the corrupt government, which Eren is at first supportive of until the crazy captain reveals he plots on wiping out all of humanity. Reunited with his friends, Eren, Mikasa, Armen, and co. vow to stop their enemies, plug up the wall, and save humanity from both destruction and imprisonment.
The flaws that plagued the first film are mostly solved here. Eren now acts more like his manga counterpart, angry at the Titans and those who conspire to stomp down on humanity. Mikasa is also vastly improved after acting completely out of character in the first film, now focused on Eren and displays that quiet but considerate side she has. Captain Shikishima was irritating before and now despite his increased importance and duality as the Armoured Titan, he is still uninteresting as a character. Armen and Sasha still resemble their manga selves the most, and everything Sasha does in the film is awesome, even trying to bond with Mikasa during her lengthy angsty session.
I still don’t believe altering the setting was a smart idea, and the origins of the Titans is just forced and predictable. Sadly, the fun parts with the Titans having Godzilla-esque battles are minimal in the film, or at least until the last fifteen minutes or so where it has Eren taking on Shikishima, and then the return of the Colossal Titan who is still as epic as ever. The visual effects, particularly with the Titans remain the highlight of this two-part movie, combining costumes and computer animation well to make the monsters look at least like they are actually real. A lot of cheesy elements from the first movie are gone, though the film still takes some time to have fun moments, normally with the ever eccentric Hanji.
The two Attack on Titan films could’ve easily been released as one movie instead of two. They have a lot of flaws, are clunky, cheesy, and awkward, but do have some good thigns to offer. And for all of the manga-to-film adaptations I’ve seen, Attack on Titans does a decent job in honouring the original source material but still goes its own way and brings something creative to audiences.
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