The Ending Of Meg 2: The Trench Explained
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The Ending Of Meg 2: The Trench Explained

Sep 18, 2023

Contains spoilers for "Meg 2: The Trench"

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, here comes "Meg 2: The Trench" to reignite fears about going into the ocean. The sequel to the 2018 film "The Meg," "Meg 2: The Trench" follows Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) being called back into action to explore the Trench, the deepest point of the ocean and the closed-off home of underwater beasties like the Megalodon. A seemingly routine voyage to the Trench ends up colliding with the escape of a Megalodon raised in captivity and the discovery of some kind of corporate outfit mining for rare materials in the Trench. All of these disparate plotlines, plus the existence of several other dangerous critters, collide once the ending of "Meg 2: The Trench" gets underway.

Though not as relentlessly loud or visually disorienting as the finales of other blockbusters like the Michael Bay "Transformers" movies, there's still a lot going on in the ending of "Meg 2: The Trench." Given how many storylines this stretch of the movie juggles, not to mention how often we keep cutting to various plotlines, it can be easy to lose track of all the oceanic mayhem. To offer some clarity on these final scenes, let's explore the ending of "Meg 2: The Trench" and what its big blow-out between man and shark means for the future of the franchise.

In a memorable exchange from a "King Kong" parody in the "Simpsons" episode "Treehouse of Horror III," a handful of sailors talk about how they're all headed towards the dangerous Ape Island. When one of the men remarks he'd rather be visiting "Candy Apple Island," another person asks what populates that enticing-sounding locale. "Apes," the original sailor responds, "but they're not so big." A similarly misleading island is at the centerpiece of the finale for "Meg 2: The Trench." Here, a trio of Megalodons descends on Fun Island, a coastal resort where everyone's dipping their toes in the water and enjoying lavish festivities.

Much like how Candy Apple Island hosts more primates than you'd expect, these vacationers get way more prehistoric shark action than they'd ever imagined. On top of all that, a Kraken has also emerged from the subterranean domain of the Trench, along with a bunch of carnivorous lizards that can travel onto land. Jonas Taylor and his friends descend on the island to help the populace and use ramshackle weapons to destroy the underwater creatures. Though plenty of innocents and villains get chomped out in all the carnage, Taylor eventually kills two of the Megs. The final surviving beast, which was raised in captivity by Jiuming Zhang (Wu Jing) eventually just swims away, presumably out of loyalty to its master. The day has been saved and everyone can relax on the beach.

In a bid to differentiate its finale from that of the original "Meg," "Meg 2: The Trench" loads up its climax with tons of larger-than-life beasties beyond just Megalodons. However, much like an ancient shark eating too many partygoers at once, "Meg 2" eventually bites off more than it could chew. There's just too much happening in the finale.

Even with tantalizing concepts like a showdown between a Megalodon and a Kraken, "Meg 2: The Trench" is just juggling too many plates to flesh out its zany concepts to their full potential. Meanwhile, the human element of "Meg 2: The Trench" gets lost in all the hoopla. The corporate espionage that dominates the first two acts of the story gets shoved off to the side for the climax, with main baddie Driscoli (Sienna Guillory) getting quickly dispatched in a moment cribbed from Dennis Nedry's demise in "Jurassic Park." Still, if all you want is a lot of noise, the climax of "Meg 2: The Trench" certainly offers up lots of critters and CGI.

Jonas Taylor is not a character meant to evolve or grow much in either "Meg" movie. He's a vessel, much like various characters inhabited by Jean-Claude Van Damme and so many other action stars in the past, to show off the coolness of an action star. Taylor is a physical manifestation of all the calm-headed authority that Jason Statham can muster up at the drop of a hat. He doesn't have any discernible character flaws at the start of "Meg 2: The Trench," with his first scene in the film depicting him being selfless in trying to stop criminals who're polluting the ocean. From there, he acts quickly whenever there's danger afoot and tries to be a father to youngster Meiying Zhang (Sophia Cai), his step-daughter, even in the most desperate circumstances.

Given all of this, it shouldn't be a surprise that the finale of "Meg 2: The Trench" doesn't offer up any opportunities for Jonas to grow. He's just as growly and prone to self-deprecating comedic lines once two of those big sharks are dead just as he was at the start of the very first "Meg" movie. That'll no doubt frustrate folks searching for any tangible drama within "Meg 2: The Trench," but die-hard Statham fans will be comforted to see the performer inhabiting a consistent persona to the very last frame of this sequel.

In the original "The Meg," it took a shark to take down a shark. That film saw Jonas Taylor wounding a massive Megalodon enough to get to spew out blood that attracted a swarm of ordinary-sized sharks. There's always strength in numbers, and the multitude of sharks was able to chow down on the wounded Megalodon. Though Taylor had a hand in this beast's demise, he was by no means the sole reason this monster was destroyed. On the contrary, the original "Meg" seemed to propose that forces of nature were the only way to eliminate a massive animal. Man-made forces were truly powerless in the face of prehistoric primal power.

"Meg 2: The Trench" goes in the opposite direction in its depiction of how these Megalodons are taken out. This time, man-made devices and forces are the ultimate way of disposing of the man-eating monsters. Taylor concocts a bomb that slaughters one of these animals, while another is impaled on a massive blade that our hero puts in just the right place. Even the final Megalodon is only stopped from munching down three of "Meg 2's" leads due to the training of Zhang. If the original "Meg" had a glib vision of how human intervention could fare in the face of massive sharks, "Meg 2: The Trench's" ending paints a much rosier picture of showdowns between human beings and Megalodons.

Because a bevy of massive underwater beasts aren't enough to provide conflict for the main humans of "Meg 2: The Trench," screenwriters Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris throw in a primary physical human baddie to contend with Jonas Taylor. This foe comes in the form of Montes (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a criminal Taylor previously sent to a two-year stint in prison for crimes committed in the Philippines. Years later, Montes is hankering for revenge and has his opportunity once he crosses paths with Taylor in the Trench. Even as Taylor and company scramble to survive on the deepest points in the ocean, Montes keeps functioning as a violent thorn in their side providing additional conflict into their struggles.

Eventually, Montes travels to Fun Island, where "Meg 2: The Trench's" finale takes place. Having risen to the surface, he's got a troop of soldiers by his side and is now preparing to have one final showdown with Taylor. Though he's the biggest land-bound threat to our heroes, the eventual presence of Montes in this climax doesn't ultimately amount to much. Taylor and Montes face off on a pier, with their skirmish capping off with Taylor shooting Montes and drawing blood that attracts one of the Megalodons. This action hero proceeds to push Montes off the pier and into the mouth of the hungry beastie. "See ya later, chum," Taylor quips — and that's the end of Montes.

If there's an element of "Meg 2: The Trench's" climax that feels especially like this movie is attempting to differentiate itself from its predecessor, it's in the presence of wacky comedy. Though "The Meg" was by no means an ultra-serious affair — Rainn Wilson plays an Elon Musk stand-in, after all, and there's an extended set piece involving a toy dog paddling in the ocean — the success of the comedic bits of that initial installment seemed to inspire director Ben Wheatley and the screenwriters to go even broader with the various gags in "The Trench." This is especially apparent in the often-wacky climax of "The Trench," which especially utilizes the returning side character of DJ (Page Kennedy) for lengthy gags. This character's function in the final scenes of this blockbuster is to inspire laughs from the audience, particularly in an extended bit involving the discovery of a lengthy string of condoms in DJ's "survival pack."

Meanwhile, Taylor, Zhang, and Mac (Cliff Curtis) pause for a brief moment to exchange jokes about "bad ideas" for how to take out the Megalodons, all while the beasts are chowing down on tourists in the background. The heavy emphasis on jokes, oftentimes even more so than the shark carnage, in "Meg 2: The Trench's" finale is clearly a conscious choice on the part of the filmmakers. However, whether or not lingering on shots of condoms pulled out at awkward moments is a satisfying move for a shark movie will depend on the tastes of individual viewers.

When audiences first meet Jiuming Zhang, he's having a grand old time trying out a state-of-the-art exosuit. It's a piece of machinery meant to allow him to travel to the bottom of the sea floor, but given that this piece of hardware also gives him enough enhanced strength to punch pieces off gigantic cinderblocks, it's clear those exosuits have a lot of potential in them. Once our heroes are trapped deep within the bowels of the Trench, those exosuits become critical for allowing everyone to travel in the ocean. However, they quickly become just slightly fancier-looking scuba gear, with none of the technological possibilities of the outfits factoring into key parts of the movie.

This includes the lengthy finale of "Meg 2: The Trench," which sends everybody to firmly dry land on Fun Island. Here, there's no need for people to use the exosuits for breathing, so they never come back into play. Meanwhile, the enhanced strength function of this futuristic attire never comes into play despite that being a potentially useful tool when humans are squaring off against lizards, a Kraken, and big sharks. The heavy presence of exosuits in the initial scenes of "The Trench" (Zhang initially seems incapable of showing up anywhere without wearing one) makes it seem like this breakthrough technology will play a big role in the film's finale. However, this ending never pays off that technological marvel.

"Meg 2: The Trench" is very much made in the mold of vintage blockbusters from the 1990s rather than Marvel Studios fare from the 2000s and 2010s. This means its influences are much more rooted in "Deep Blue Sea" than "The Avengers," including when it comes to dishing out any kind of sequel teases in its ending. Basically, "Meg 2" concludes with zero glimpses of what a third "Meg" could look like. The conclusion merely sees the surviving humans all resting up on the beach, sipping some alcoholic beverages, and Jonas Taylor offering up a toast "to dolphins." The only major development involving these bipedal land-dwellers is that DJ apparently now has an entourage of beautiful women following him around after his efforts to save the day.

Of course, "Meg 2: The Trench" does keep one Megalodon alive and well once its story is finished, which could be a tease for a third film. Plus, the titular location of the Trench is also still around, ditto all of the larger-than-life monsters residing inside. Those lingering fantastical elements are the closest thing "Meg 2: The Trench" offers up as sequel teases. Otherwise, this film is a completely standalone affair.

Though "Meg 2: The Trench's" ending offers minimal material to tease out what sequels could look like, that doesn't mean there's nowhere to go for further "Meg" adventures. After all, these movies are based around the long-running series of "Meg" novels by Steve Alten that have now spanned six installments. Further book installments like "Primal Waters" have engaged in tactics like extreme time jumps, daredevil TV shows, crown princes of Dubai, and massive Meg aquariums to keep this saga going and find new ways of getting Jonas Taylor out on the ocean to confront massive beasts. For decades now, Alten has had no trouble keeping the saga of "The Meg" going and going.

Though the films have mostly used the novels as a springboard for largely original stories (though taking names from the novels like Jonas Taylor), there's plenty of material from further sequels in these books to help stir up ideas for new movies. If audiences show up in droves for "Meg 2," one can be certain Warner Bros. will be turning toward Alten's texts for notions on how to keep the gravy train going. Who needs the film incarnation of "Meg 2: The Trench" to conclude on an obvious sequel tease when the source material has already teed up the idea of this franchise going on for an eternity?

Contains spoilers for "Meg 2: The Trench"