Death Note 2 picks up immediately after the events of "Death Note" with Misa receiving her very own Death Note under mysterious circumstances. Light is now 'grieving' and is receiving sympathy en mass for the murder of his girlfriend, and is using that as leverage to get himself involved in the investigation to catch Kira. The one that's being headed up by L clandestinely. With Misa being an ardent admirer of Kira and believer in his sense of justice that has seen crime drop by 70%, she sets about trying to impress him with her newfound 'eyes'.
Death Note 2 was shot either simultaneously with Death Note, or immediately after Death Note, so, unfortunately all the same TV standards of the first Death Note movie are still present in the sequel. The use of Red Hot Chili Peppers in the opening and closing credits was an odd choice to set the tone to I thought. When I think Death Note, I don't think Red Hot Chili Peppers. The budget constraints become all too obvious as the second Kira makes her presence known to the world. I wouldn't have had the second Kira simply announce that she was a second Kira either. Light and L both deduced that this new Kira was likely not the original Kira based on his/her actions and methods of killing. That's a part of their brilliance. Just announcing it on live TV robs them both of that moment.
One of the challenges of adapting a voluminous manga is in choosing how to condense many plot threads into singular events, usually to save time. A majority of the suspense that came from Death Note originated between the battle of wits that took place between Light and L, but the movies have basically, and erroneously, removed their rivalry altogether. I consider myself a purist in some ways when it comes to adaptions, but I also understand why certain changes are made, and are sometimes unavoidable, given some extenuating circumstances. I would even commend the writers on coming up with a different, but all the same, impressive ending too. Maybe not as strong as the manga, but it was in the same ballpark. I wouldn't have had Rem tell Light how to kill a shinigami so easily either.
Once you get past the TV production standards and the bad cgi, Death Note 2 actually did a good job in building on the original in almost every way. The sequel had a lot of ground to cover, and while they understandably cut quite a few corners and skimmed over some other aspects, I thought it was a significant step up in most areas, especially in terms of suspense. The pacing was a bit slow though. And it still gave little, to no, background on the shinigami's world, and on Ryuk and Rem's motivations. It's obvious that these adaptions really needed to be a trilogy with a bigger budget, and a more international effort, for both casting and the cgi requirements. I thought they might have gone with animatronics for Ryuk and Rem, but instead opted for that "Scorpion King" standard of cgi. Considering everything the director had to cover and how the screenwriters had to interweave multiple narrative threads to maintain a decent semblance of its source material. Not an all round bad effort, but it was still a rather simplistic and juvenile attempt at adapting a rather sophisticated examination of what justice is. But nonetheless, I was impressed with how much improved the sequel was. Still not enough to be considered a truly noteworthy adaption, but certainly better than most others.
Written by - The Sentry - 07/07/2017