Mortal Kombat 2 is officially happening at Warner Bros., and there are five major problems from the first Mortal Kombat (2021) that the sequel needs to fix for it to work. After an underwhelming box office but a solid performance on HBO Max, the Mortal Kombat reboot has a sequel greenlit with director Simon McQuoid set to return. Mortal Kombat 2 will have a new writer, Jeremy Slater, who promised that they will take feedback from the first Mortal Kombat into consideration while working on the sequel.
Mortal Kombat (2021) marked the first attempt of restarting the Mortal Kombat franchise on the big screen after Mortal Kombat: Annihilation‘s disastrous reception. the Mortal Kombat reboot had an overall similar story to that of Mortal Kombat (1995), with a focus on introducing the world, the characters, and the relationships between them. That said, the Mortal Kombat reboot had some significant differences from the original Mortal Kombat movies and the games as a whole, namely the absence of Johnny Cage in the Earthrealm’s Champions roster and the creation of a brand new character, Cole Young.
The decision of replacing Johnny Cage’s role in the story with an original character was met with a lot of criticism and, in some ways, it did not pay off. However, the lack of Johnny Cage in favor of Cole was far from being the only problem of Mortal Kombat. The reboot was flawed both as a movie and as a Mortal Kombat adaptation, and it felt like it wasted a great cast, on-point costumes, and solid visual effects – the last of which Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation struggled a lot with. the Mortal Kombat reboot had all the tools for a remarkable Mortal Kombat movie, but story decisions, writing problems, and forgettable fight scenes prevented it from happening. Should Mortal Kombat 2 really take the feedback from the first movie into consideration, here are the elements that the sequel should improve.
Mortal Kombat’s Fight Scenes Were A Huge Letdown
a Mortal Kombat adaptation, no matter if for live-action or animation, should nail the fight scenes – as those are the very heart of the Mortal Kombat games. No remarkable fight scene had come out from the 1995 Mortal Kombatlet alone from Annihilation‘s CGI-fest, which raised the expectations of what the Mortal Kombat reboot would deliver in terms of action. Unfortunately, despite the R-Rating and all the modern moviemaking technologies, the Mortal Kombat reboot’s fight scenes were a huge letdown. Every fight in the movie had several cuts, to the point audiences could not follow the moves and understand what was really happening. While quick cuts have become common in Hollywood action movies, those were overused in Mortal Kombat and it seemed more like the result of editing issues than of creative choices. The visual effects for Mortal Kombat‘s Arcana powers were solid, but the hand-to-hand combats need to be improved for Mortal Kombat 2.
Mortal Kombat 2 Needs A Bigger Story (With Less Plot Holes)
For a movie that would restart the Mortal Kombat franchise after more than two decades, the Mortal Kombat reboot felt too small. The movie skipped the Mortal Kombat tournament, and instead focused on Shang Tsung trying to destroy the Earthrealm champions beforehand. The set pieces were very limited, and most of the movie took place inside Raiden’s temple. There was not a sense of scale in the fights, even in those that featured the classic Mortal Kombat fatalities. Mortal Kombat (2021) also lacked stakes, and the only moment in the film in which there was a sense of urgency was when Sub-Zero kidnapped Cole Young’s family.
Shang Tsung’s plan in 2021’s Mortal Kombat did not make a lot of sense as he was breaking the rules of the tournament right from the start. The same can be said about Raiden, who would conventionally alternate between wanting to respect the rules of the Elder Gods or not. therefore, Mortal Kombat 2 will have to be the exact opposite of what Mortal Kombat was, that is, it will have to increase the stakes while making sure it does not create more plotholes or that it does not fall into Mortal Kombat: annihilation‘s cameo fest.
Mortal Kombat 2 Should Sideline Cole Young (& Nail Johnny Cage)
While Cole Young is not the only Mortal Kombat problem, his story encapsulates a lot of what is wrong with the movie. Instead of focusing on the more fantastical, lore-heavy aspects of Mortal Kombatthe Mortal Kombat reboot preferred to create an original story about a father trying to protect his family. There was nothing particularly new or interesting about Cole Young’s story, and it was a lot of screentime that could have been used to flesh out the world and other characters like Liu Kang and Raiden.
Mortal Kombat 2 should not simply discard Cole Young, as it would throw away everything that was done in the first movie, but it should sideline the character. Reducing Cole Young’s role in the story is even more important considering that Johnny Cage will appear in Mortal Kombat 2. Cole’s purpose in the first movie was very similar to that of Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat games and adaptations, and it would feel redundant to have two characters playing the same role in the story. Nevertheless, after saving Johnny Cage for the sequel, Mortal Kombat 2 has to nail the character to make the wait worthwhile.
Mortal Kombat 2 Could Use More Scorpion
Mortal Kombat (2021) was promoted as a Scorpion and Sub-Zero movie, which made sense given how popular the characters have become in recent years. Scorpion and Sub-Zero were front and center in all of the Mortal Kombat posters, which suggested that their rivalry would be the focus of the movie. However, apart from the opening sequence and the final fight, there was absolutely nothing else from Scorpion in the movie. Mortal Kombat‘s Sub-Zero did have a significant role as Shang Tsung’s main champion, but Scorpion’s role in the movie was limited to two very brief fight scenes. There was nothing about Scorpion’s time in Netherrealm, and it was never explained how the character returned from the dead. In addition, neither Shinnok nor Quan Chi was in Mortal Kombat (2021). Those are all very important elements in Scorpion’s story and that could be featured in Mortal Kombat 2. After failing to deliver a Scorpion story and instead focusing on a Scorpion descendant, Cole Young, the Mortal Kombat sequel could use more Hanzo Hasashi.
Mortal Kombat 2 Needs Better Villains
One of the strengths of the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie was Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s Shang Tsung. However, in the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie, Shang Tsung’s role was limited to giving orders to the Outworld champions and a very brief encounter with Kung Lao. Apart from Sub-Zero and Kano, none of the Outworld champions had a distinct personality, which is actually not that different from the games but it resulted in a movie without memorable villains. that said, Mortal Kombat (2021)like the 1995 Mortal Kombat, set up Shao Kahn for the sequel. If the Outworld Emperor is really in Mortal Kombat 2, then the sequel has the opportunity to have a much better villain than the first movie, but only if the character is done right in terms of motivations and role in the story. Likewise, Shinnok and Quan Chi could also make for more interesting villains in Mortal Kombat 2.
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