Plus, watching the original right before going to see the new one especially highlighted the vapid experience Uprising was.
I'd be curious to see what Guillermo Del Toro's original plan for a sequel was. A sequel after how the original ended would have always felt unnecessary but I think he would've cracked the case and found a way to make it work. He and the original creative did write an outline/possibly even a script. But, then when he left to do The Shape of Water & the new team was brought they apparently changed things drastically. In Del Toro's script I do know that Raleigh & Mako were to stay on as the central protagonists and that there was no Jake* Pentercost**. Mako Mori certainly would not have been reduced to what was essentially a glorified cameo since he was effusive about what a joy it was to create that character with Rinko Kikuchi.
I think only three things were carried over from Del Toro's original drafts:
2. There would have been a Jaeger-Kaiju hybrid.
3. Charlie Day's Newt would have still been corrupted by the aliens. Though again, I imagine Del Toro would have heavily focused on that storyline since he loves working with Charlie Day.
If Del Toro's original was a movie then this was the expensive (mostly shot in cost saving close ups though) pilot to a Netflix original series.
But, I would like to add Pacific Rim: Uprising to my list of reasons why a Live Action Evangelion is a terrible idea. Even though the actress is in her 20s I felt every scene with the spunky 14 year old girl pilot continually undermined everything BECAUSE she was a spunky 14 year old girl who had no right being in such an important position. Animation allows you to get away with having the world entrust its future to a child pilot and letting them be cool at times. In live action you're just looking at a child thinking "You don't belong here."
*I think the names sums up the difference between the first creative team & the sequels creative team.
Gloriously cartoonish names created for the characters in the first film - Stacker Pentecost. Raleigh Beckett. Mako Mori. Dr. Newton Geiszler. Herman Gottlieb. Colonel Herc Hansen. Hannibal Chau. Tendo Choi.
Bland white bread names created for the characters in the second film - Jake Pentecost. Nate Lambert. Jules. Viktoria. The closest they come to interesting is Amara Namani.
** Jake Pentecost by the way was a VERY LATE addition to the film since the movie was originally greenlit based on a script with Charlie Hunnam & Rinko Kikuchi in the lead roles. Thing is no one had checked his availability when they got the go ahead to begin production and if they waited for him they would have never hit their original release date of April 7, 2017 - which they didn't make anyways - so when they learned John Boyega was a big fan of the first film they just concocted this never-before-mentioned son of Stacker Pentecost to lure in the guy from Star Wars. I also have to imagine this decision to make him the central focus also led to basically writing Mako Mori out of the movie so he would have some of (empty) emotional narrative.