ATTACK ON TITAN is one of my personal favorite manga/anime. So of course I was hyped for a film adaption. We got it with Part One which released a few weeks ago. Sadly, while it did get some of the fundamentals right, it took away much of everything that made the original story so great. Eren and Mikasa’s relationship was brutally handled for example. Part Two sees release today, and I was hoping it would at least right some wrongs. It does fix some things thankfully, but takes such a bizarre path that one has to wonder what exactly was the thought process in making the film. Some things here are so badly done it’s entertaining.
Here’s the official description from FUNimation:
It is 100 Years after Titans destroyed most of the human population. The survivors are now living in peace. That is, until a Titan bigger than anyone has ever seen breaches the wall that protects humans from the rest of the Titan infested world.
Ironically enough, the flashback to Part One was better than that movie itself. Before we get into the rather interesting plot points of Part Two, let’s talk about what the film does right. Early on we’re treated to a flashback to when Eren was a boy and the infamous needle scene with his father. It’s good to see the story acknowledging the parents, even if the scene is basically rendered pointless by the end. The only thing that matters is the injection, which is a shame considering each parent had/has an important role in the anime/manga. Anyways, one of my personal favorite scenes is also early on in the first act. Armin actually gets to showcase his personality in his famous speech half-adapted from the original story. Kanata Hongō did a great job delivering it. The action and choreography is great throughout. A highlight is definitely Eren vs. the Armored Titan. Speaking of the Armored, his entrance stands as one of the best scenes of both films.
Unfortunately, just about everything else rests in the “….what?” category. The relationship between Eren and Mikasa is more painful to watch than ever. Apparently the two were boyfriend and girlfriend in the past, but that was barely referenced in the first film, and here it feels incredibly forced. Eren acts like Mikasa cares so much about him, even going as far as saying,“Sorry I worried you” when she has shown little to no sign of actually caring about him until later in the movie. The film tries to repair this by having her talk about the famous scarf, but it’s too late. Kiko Mizuhara could have been a good Mikasa, but the script just has her quietly brooding around almost the entire time. Really, it’s just a horrible portrayal of one of the franchise’s greatest characters.
The big question I have for the film is who on Earth is Captain Shikishima supposed to be? For some odd reason Levi was chosen not to be in the films, but a made up character as a substitute. According to the wiki Shikishima is “regarded as an effective replacement for Levi.” I’m not sure who thought this idea up, because this is one of the strangest decisions I’ve ever seen for a movie. Why not adapt what could be the show’s most popular character? Really, with such a large array of characters to choose from it’s beyond me why we have any original characters here. Satomi Ishihara as Hange goes extremely over the top in attempting to portray the character’s rather dynamic personality. Sadly, it just doesn’t work. And remember how in the first part Sanssani apparently mustered some inner strength where he managed to basically throw a Titan? In this part he actually manages to bring down a building thanks to his little Maneuvering Gear. Unless this guy is secretly the Japanese Hulk, this was one of the most looniest things I’ve seen in awhile.
The story takes a rather interesting turn and decides to let the viewer know the history of the Titans, thus effectively ending that mystery. It’s actually a fun way to world-build, even if it blatantly disregards the slow-reveal mystery in the manga. Next, the story decides to make the government the actual antagonist, which is more or less what the manga has portrayed in the background. The problem is that the film talks about the government living high and mighty, but we don’t get to see any of that. We’re told a lot of things but we see virtually nothing to back it up. The entire climax is just rather insane when you really think about. What happened to all the people? So…now what? It’s unclear what the film’s ending means. The after-credits scene is even more bizarre and basically throws the entire story under the bus.
Overall, ATTACK ON TITAN: END OF THE WORLD is a very entertaining film, though for more of the wrong reasons. It starts off strongly, then delves into some bizarre paths. It adapts bits and pieces of the manga/anime, but takes its own path, and quite a path it takes. Most of the cast is lackluster, though at least Eren actually seemed like Eren. Plus Armin gets to actually do something memorable. The action is great, but the story surrounding it doesn’t have the heart or soul of what the original portrayed. The real question one has to ask is, “Why watch this when I can watch the anime? Even the recap movies are better.”