Whether you love it or hate it, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was the perfect sequel for the trilogy.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!
The appeal of the Jurassic Park movies is pretty simple. Sure, it’s interesting to look at the concepts of “playing God” and climate change through the lens of a summer blockbuster, but the real draw is much less sophisticated than that. From the very beginning, we’ve just been enamored by the concept of seeing dinosaurs walk the earth among humans…and maybe watching them eat a few along the way.
That’s really all the Jurassic World trilogy had to deliver. Compelling character arcs are cool and deep dives into the consequences of the flaws of humanity are provocative, but honestly, just give us Chris Pratt wrangling a pack of realistic CGI velociraptors with a mildly interesting story arc and audiences will get what they paid for!
Jurassic World followed the formula for a Jurassic Park movie well, giving us the nostalgia factor we needed while bringing the series up-to-date. The movie introduced the characters (both human and dino) that we’d be following throughout the new trilogy, and gave us a glimpse into the new possibilities that genetic manipulation provided.
Fallen Kingdom hit all the important beats as well, delivering tons of dino moments of both the terrifying and heart-wrenching variety, a few well-placed laughs, fun action sequences and passably likable characters. The sequel certainly didn’t offer much in terms of character development and credibility, but in place of what it lacked, Fallen Kingdom achieved something much more important for the franchise, as a whole.
At the end of Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs have been set free. This is an idea that’s been played with previously in the franchise, but never on this scale. The closing montage of the movie shows that this isn’t a problem that’s going to be quickly resolved by capturing one T. Rex, but an issue on a much larger scale. At the end of the movie, the dinos are already wreaking tons of havoc, with the T. Rex showing her dominance over another “King of the jungle,” and the Mososaurus disturbingly attacking a pack of surfers.
It isn’t just a matter of the 11 species running free either. There are also the circulating genetic samples to consider. Now that dino DNA has gone up for sale, there’ll be no stopping it from spreading like wildfire throughout the pharmaceutical, and even weapons industries. With Fallen Kingdom, the series is going somewhere it never has before, to a truly “Jurassic world,” legitimizing the revival trilogy.
Fallen Kingdom also provided the cast of characters with whom we’ll be experiencing this journey. It gave us Zia, Franklin, and the very intriguing Maisie, but it also identified Claire and Owen as “the parents of the new era.” Now, with their adopted/kidnapped daughter in tow, this strange little family who ushered in the new era will have to have a huge hand in shaping it.
In the first Jurassic Park trilogy, the characters felt much more disposable, but Fallen Kingdom, while it failed to satisfactorily progress the existing characters, cemented this group into the story. This will surely lead to a greater emotional investment and an ultimately more impactful big finale.
As the second movie in the trilogy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s job was to introduce the things that will be paid off in the end. It did that flawlessly. We’ve seen just enough to get a taste for the issues that this trilogy has really been about, all along. With Maisie, the idea of human cloning was introduced and not explored, outside of being a catalyst for her releasing the dinosaurs. Jeff Goldblum’s character simply posed the important questions about humans realizing our mistakes, and the consequences of our actions. The corrupt business dealings behind new technology have been set-up.
All of these themes will carry forward into Jurassic World 3, and Fallen Kingdom has perfectly set the stage for it. The sequel earned the trilogy the right to explore a “Jurassic world,” weaponized dinosaurs, genetic mutation, and the characters arcs that are begging to be lived.
Among the Jurassic pack, Fallen Kingdom could ultimately be very forgettable. There’s just not enough story or character development to make it a hugely important touchstone in the grand scheme of things. The action sequences and character choices are just too unbelievable to make it overly compelling.
However, I believe it will be its absurdity that will cement its place in the collective consciousness. Fans won’t soon forget the indoraptor’s creepy claws reaching to pull down the covers. We’ll be hard-pressed to get the image of the bone-skewered-dino out of our heads. We’ll probably always be laughing about just how stupid that guy had to be to go into the indoraptor’s cage to collect a tooth.
These moments, combined with all of the token Jurassic tropes that Fallen Kingdom hit made it a great summer blockbuster, and the beauty with which it set up the threequel made it the perfect sequel. It may not have been the most entertaining or accurate of the series, but it did its job, and carved out its own, unique places in this amazing franchise. What more could we ask for?