If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman) are back, this time with a much bigger foe to defeat. The war has amped up with the awakening of Marcus (Tony Curran), the first vampire. He is on a mission to wake his brother William (Brian Steele), the first lycan, and it's up to our two heroes to stop him.
With this sequel comes a much bigger budget, allowing for much more action, a lot more lycans and even a better story. I was pretty scared when I saw the opening completely retcon the entire first film, with the war now having started over 750 years ago with the first of each species. But the way it plays it far more than makes up for it. We get a lot more character development for Selene this time around and learn a little bit more about her past. The mythos feels a lot more established this time around and that helps to make things a little more interesting.
Marcus is a much more formidable foe than Viktor in the last film. Being the first of the vampires, he has a bat-like look to him when he transforms. It's a really nice makeup job that creates an original looking character. There's also a lot more drama that comes along, with Selene and Michael getting deeper into their own relationship. It's like the exact opposite of Romeo and Juliet because they're both immortal. I think what I like most about these films, and this one especially, is that despite being incredibly blatant and over-the-top for most things, there are little character elements and moments that are very subtle and at times can be very emotional.
That being said, the one big problem I have with this movie is how blatant it is about some things. There are a lot of flashbacks, which are explained through "blood memories" and I can buy that, but it's used for exposition into the previous film for a lot of the first act of the film. I never really feel like that's a good way to introduce newcomers to a franchise. They should have watched the first one, especially in a story that continues immediately from the last like this one, and even if you really are desperate for newcomers then why can't you be more subtle about it? Have characters mention little things or even just look at a photograph or something. Audiences can pick up on that sort of thing really well. Plenty of people do it every week watching television.
But this isn't a big problem. Underworld: Evolution is ten times more fun than the first, with plenty of awesome action and crazy bullet-flying and stabbing all over the place. Add that to the story that's actually pretty interesting to follow and you've got one hell of a fun vampire/werewolf movie.