Attack on Titan: End of the World (Part 2) is the sequel to the highly anticipated Attack on Titan (Part 1) live-action film, based on the hit manga and anime series of the same name. The mixed reviews and negative feedback flowing on from the first film led to many questions as to whether or not Part 2 was worth the time, effort and money to watch. I will be honest, I wasn’t prepared to pay $20+ to watch Part 2 after the lack lustre and slightly confusing plot of Part 1. However, I was fortunate enough to have been invited as a plus one to the IMAX screening this past weekend. Who was I to pass up a free movie, at IMAX, no less?
First off, this review isn’t going to be written in the same way as my review of Part 1, which essentially was a comparison between the Attack on Titan anime and the live-action film. No, this review will be based on the understanding of the live-action films as stand-alone and separate from the anime.
The film starts off with a brief overview and synopsis of Part 1, which came in quite handy to refresh my memory of the previous film . The film then opens with a scene that throws viewers right into the main plot line, which is that Eren is a Titan and that something needed to be done about this new discovery of humans being able to transform into Titans. The opening sequence is tense and loyalties are tested. What is most crucial to this sequence is the revelation of Eren’s true nature and the reasons for this, which dates back to his childhood and his family. There’s also an Easter egg about a certain family member of Eren’s, which viewers are able to later draw their own conclusions to (more on this later).
The pace of the opening scene changes quickly to a full blown attack with the shocking appearance of yet another intelligent Titan with a build unlike any other Titan we’ve seen before. For those of you movie goers who are like me and watch out for every detail, be sure to take special note of the appearance of this new, armoured, Titan. What do you see in terms of facial features? Looks quite similar to the Eren Titan in some ways, don’t you think?
What’s more interesting is that this Titan is fixated on Eren and instead of eating him, as other Titans would, this new Titan saves him from being shot to death by the Director-General’s men. Right away we are then taken to a completely different scene, one highly unusual for the world in which Attack on Titan is set in. Instead of the typical brown, desolate, dust and rubble environments that we are used to, we are suddenly thrust into a crisp, clean, white room, with the old melancholic tune, End of the World, by Skeeter Davis, playing in the background as a sort of forewarning. The next few moments are especially vital and fundamental to the entire film. Much will be revealed and Captain Shikishima’s involvement and true role comes to fruition.
I could not fathom how the floors of the white room suddenly turned to sand and how Eren and Shikishima’s outfits magically changed. Shikishima’s approach toward Eren felt almost predatory and sexual in nature. My theory about the entire film was slightly shaken but I held on to the belief that my theory must be true, especially with my new understanding of how the Titans came to be and humans’ involvement in their own demise.
The remainder of Eren’s team of scouts, led by Captain Hanji, attempt to save the day with a new plan that meant returning to Eren, Mikasa and Armin’s hometown. Along the way, another slightly disturbing scene plays out as Sasha (the Potato Girl) appears to have taken a fascination with Mikasa, who has miraculously regained her heart and emotions. At every turn of the camera, Mikasa is shown to be deep in thought, most likely about Eren, and each time Mikasa was the focus on screen, there was Sasha, with a slightly off-putting smile, edging herself closer to Mikasa, giving her a weed for a flower and even going so far as to offer her a potato, which fans of the anime, manga and even those who watched Part 1, would know is by far the most special thing in the world to her. For the life of me, I can’t quite figure out why this was included into the film. Perhaps it was an attempt to show the bonds women share when love is on one of their minds?
The film returns to its fast pace when the team reconnect with Eren and my initial theory was proved correct regarding the armoured Titan’s identity. Remember when I mentioned for you to focus on the armoured Titan’s appearance, its similarities to the Eren Titan and the link with a certain relative of Eren’s? So as to not reveal too much, all I have to say is pay close attention to these key aspects and moments in the film, particularly on appearance and identities.
An epic battle ensues with Eren turning into a Titan to combat the armoured Titan. To say that the Titan vs Titan fight scene was epic would be an understatement. The one thing I’ve noticed when it comes to Japanese film and TV shows is that they sure know how to do giant monster fight scenes well.
Fast forward a few minutes later and all appears to be going smoothly as the Eren Titan assists the scouts in their mission. However, it isn’t long before another threat to the team’s plan to save the day appears, followed very quickly with the appearance of the Colossal Titan, who never looked better. Have I mentioned how good the graphics are, especially in terms of the Titans?
Yet another plot twist is thrown into the mix as the scouts battle the Colossal Titan with a seemingly positive ending which concludes the entire two-part film in a neat and tidy way, sun shining brightly with that same bird we saw flying freely in the early scenes in Part 1 back in the closing scene of Part 2, peacefully gliding through the sky. Perhaps this was the film’s way of revealing peace and freedom being attained, finally. But has it though? Is it all actually over? Stay right to the end of the closing credits and it might just raise some questions.
To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed Attack on Titan: End of the World. Taking it as a stand-alone film with no preconceptions, made the film a lot easier to digest and the story line comprehensible. Other than the inclusion of the white room, ground turning to sand, and a mystery jukebox playing old Western songs, the film made sense. Of course, I drew my own conclusions and theories right from the get go so I felt that the entire film did right by my thoughts and ideas. I would recommend watching Attack on Titan, both the live-action films and the anime, if you are a fan of major plot twists and epic monster battles.
For more pop culture and anime rantings and reviews, check out my blog, The Vanguard.