Oh boy folks, strap yourselves in because you’re in for an underwhelming film from the old days. The Creature from the Black Lagoon wasn’t a very good film to be honest, but at least the Gill Man got his props. This sequel makes him look as weak as possible, but still allows you to root for him since the main humans are so terrible. This film showcases some of the undesirable characteristics that people used to have before society got modern. The modern status quo may be pretty sad at times (Presidential Debate) but it also shows how we have gotten a little more civilized in other respects.
Clete has decided to go find the Gill Man and capture him. The Gill Man may have caused a lot of damage in the first film, but Clete is confident that he can handle him. I guess he was right since the Gill Man doesn’t put up much of a fight. Even when he gets people under the water and has the element of surprise, he’s not able to do much. People just swim away from him or break out of the grip. So much for the proportionate strength of a Hollywood monster eh? After Clete captures the Gill Man and forces him to work as a slave in the water circus, he meets up with Helen. Helen had been minding her own business and working on her sketches, but Clete wouldn’t have any of that. After falling in love at first sight, Clete reminds Helen that she will have to give up her professional career so she can be a stay home Mom like she’s supposed to.
Helen agrees and they live happily ever after. In the midst of this rigged situation, the Gill Man tries to break free of his prison and gets shot for his efforts. So the question is…where’s the film going with all of this? Is there a point and I just missed it or is this film just filler and an excuse to show the Gill Man again? Considering how weak he is in this film, I’m sure that his fans would have preferred that he stay lost in the history books of Hollywood. Appearing again just wasn’t worth it.
One of the main reasons why the film was so bad is the animal violence. See, back in the day it was just generally accepted that humans were above animals and could do whatever they wanted to with them. Animals existed purely for entertainment and that’s how they were treated. It’s essentially the same concept as slavery, but with creatures. That’s how the Gill Man is treated here. He is thrown into a tank and zapped just for kicks as Clete wants to show him who’s boss. It’s not even portrayed as a negative thing in the film as it was just the social norm. People who saw it in theaters back in the day probably didn’t think twice about it and were still rooting for Clete to win once the Gill Man resisted. It was just not fun to watch and that’s why I never like to see animals in old films. At the very least, keep the circuses and such away from me.
The main characters are also fairly annoying as well. Clete seems like your average flirt who just approaches everyone until he gets a yes. Naturally, I also didn’t care for him since he was mean to the Gill Man the whole time. Helen isn’t much better either as she is willing to throw away a career that she put a whole lot of time into just because she is going to marry Clete. Society was pretty dicey back then and that’s why she should have just pulled the friend zone card for a little while. If Clete was serious, then he would be willing to wait. There was also a random guy called Joe who wanted Helen as well, but he was quickly taken out of the picture. The Gill Man saw to that.
It’s also worth mentioning that Clete wasn’t as upset as you would expect once the Gill Man kidnapped Helen. He actually made a point of grabbing the microphone and saying that he didn’t want to see any heroics. Saving Helen was important, but he didn’t want anyone to risk their lives until they called for backup and had a good offensive ready. That’s all well and good, but it takes time. Clete should have been the one yelling for everyone to attack and the chief could have cut him off. Clete just felt very shallow and fake as a result. You’ll feel more sympathy for the two random teenagers who try to save Helen, but are quickly taken down for the count.
The Gill Man’s not a very interesting creature even though he is better than the leads. His super strength seems very sporadic as he is clearly shown to be stronger than the average human, but he can’t even beat one when he is in the water. He does once or twice, but they are usually able to escape him rather easily, which is pretty suspect. I’d expect more out of the Gill Man and since he apparently has to return to the water every few seconds, that’s a pretty big weakness. There was no way he was going to escape with Helen like that although he probably should have just gone to the water with her. He should have enough strength to swim in the ocean while keeping her up. As it is, he had no real plan and never had a chance at success.
Overall, This just isn’t a very fun film at all. It’s not enjoyable to see the humans toy with the Gill Man for a while before finally putting him down. Since there is another film, I guess the Gill Man may have escaped, but even so it’s just a rather depressing story. It’s just around for humans to feel dominant and unlikable. Hollywood can definitely do much better with their stories and I expect more out of them. I definitely do not recommend this film and if you ask me, you should probably watch the new Shin Godzilla film instead. It has a lot more dignity and better writing at its disposal.