By Matthew Balz
Whereas the first Sharknado film was a stepping stone into a universe of artfully terrible CGI and cataclysmic tornadoes with teeth, Sharknado 2: The Second One is where that universe becomes bigger (not necessarily better) and more entertaining.
Sharknado 2: The Second One knows what it has to do. It needs grander set pieces, bloodier shark attacks, and less filler. When the list of requirements for a film include nothing but “sharks,” “tornadoes,” and “spectacular deaths,” that kind movie is not hard to pull off in the first place. When the first film leaves audiences, surprisingly, screaming for more, such a goal is even easier to accomplish.
Imagine the first Sharknado on steroids. This movie kicks it off even faster and more intense than the first. Forget the handful of landmarks dispersed throughout Los Angeles. Sharknado 2 flies us straight into the streets of world-renown New York City on an airplane drenched in sharks. Are you ready, Big Apple?
The structure hasn’t changed a bit. The film’s ensemble of semi-heroic heroes jump from iconic location to iconic location, churning out their handful of obligatory dialogue, running a little bit, and then transitioning into the next city block. Rinse. Repeat. The criteria for this film make this formula work perfectly, though. The whole city becomes a playground and we only linger long on each jungle gym to shamelessly exploit the scenery before moving on. Expectations and action film clichés grow and build a mountain of a climax that will make you laugh and cheer with an absurdity that other B-movies envy.
The greatest appeal for this sequel isn’t necessarily the spectacle in the skies over New York, however. It’s the parade of recognizable movie stars who enter stage right, introduce themselves, and then kiss a shark’s open jaws. With the word “Sharknado” spreading throughout the pages of infamy, more and more people become curious. Others become fans of the franchise. This means attention. Attention means viewership. Viewership means more money from up above, and where there’s a growing dollar sign and a wider audience, there’s also a larger number of big names who are attracted to the project.
Viewer beware, you still have to contend with the franchise’s familiar camp. This is still some of the most laughable acting televised into your homes and the relentless changes of pace are as abrupt as the threat sending every unqualified movie extra sprinting across the screen.
I won’t deny that this movie is more fun than the original (but that bar was basically set on the ground). It’s great to see a movie not take itself seriously and still construct an entertaining monstrosity. There’s no telling what the effects of its popularity will deliver from here on out, but with an endless amount of unnecessary and horrific films streaming out of every less-than-amateur studio around the world, Sharknado 2: The Second One is a bridge between what we love to hate, and what we just don’t care how anyone else feels about it.