I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen anything like this before. This is truly the most amazing visual experience I have ever had. I dare to say that this is what any true geek have dreamed of. A love song for fans. This took me to a whole new level of awe and excitement.
Guillermo Del Toro has always been a true visionary from his origins in the horror and fantasy genres with Cronos, Mimic, Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth, to his superhero films of Blade II, and the Hellboy duo-logy. His visual style and his artistic sensibilities are unique, a weird combination of beautiful and grotesque, and perfectly conveyed from his mind to the product we get. He's truly one of us, a fellow geek with an amazing vision and vivid imagination.
The movie is action packed. The story is simple, but it's explained very nicely and right off the bat. Basically gigantic creatures hell-bent in our extermination, and our only line of defence is giant robot fighters from what's left of the world's greatest powers... Contrary from what I've read in some reviews, the human element was nicely balanced, and nicely played. Remember that these are written in a manga/anime style, so it's expected that some characters will be stereotypes and over the top... Charlie Hunnam was pretty good as the main character, and Rinko Kikuchi was great as the female lead. Idris Elba was fucking awesome, a stoic badass. Charlie Day and the other scientist were really good as the comic relief, possibly the most anime element in the movie, but they also were very important in the story, they weren't there just for laughs. Ron Pearlman is always a delight when paired with Del Toro. His is one character I'd love to see more of, if they decide to expand this universe. As I mentioned earlier, the story is simple, but it is pretty engaging, and doesn't leave loose ends at all.
But of course, the main attraction here are the Jaegers and the Kaiju. The Jaegers are just jaw-dropping mechanical beauties. You can tell the designers spent quite a while with each unique Jaeger. The detail in each was beyond impressive. You can see every nook and cranny move and you get a sense of just how massive these machines are. Still not sure which I like more: USA's Gypsy Danger, or Australia's Striker Eureka. The teams of pilots were also quite awesome, and even without much exposure from the Chinese nor the Russians, you could still get a grip of their sensibilities and how they functioned. I can't describe just how awesome the cockpits and the "Drift" mind-meld processes are. The Kaiju were brutal, these masive monstrosities were a bunch of nasty mofos. I loved how each creature was different from the others both in attack patterns and body style. The Leatherback Kaiju was a nasty one in particular with his gorilla style movements/attacks and to top it off, a EMP-like discharge... Another was the Otachi Kaiju sent to Hong Kong to kidnap a character. He has a nasty surprise that literally made my jaw drop.
Believe me, this is what summer blockbusters should be. This needs to be seen, period. Words can't do this enough justice.