Wounded and blinded in one eye, the shark bleeds out, its rapidly draining innards attracting a crowd of smaller sharks, who quickly feast upon the wounded bully. I suppose the image could be interpreted as a larger metaphor for the cyclical brutality of the natural world, or perhaps a sharp meta-commentary on how films like The Meg are gnawing at the rotting corpses of blockbusters from another era. But it's also just a satisfying conclusion to a story that sputters its way through a series of lackluster set pieces and bland character beats. Finally, Statham has found a worthy opponent.
The 1997 science-fiction novel that inspired The Meg has multiple sequels, and one might expect the movie to tease a confrontation between the giant shark and some other prehistoric beast. That doesn't happen. Instead, the dog is saved and Statham ends up with the beautiful oceanographer (Bingbing Li) and her cute daughter (Shuya Sophia Cai). (For a second, it looks like a smaller shark emerges from the Meg's mouth after it dies, suggesting maybe the Meg is being piloted by a tinier version of itself.) There's no post-credits scene and when the camera pans towards the bottom of the ocean in the last shot, we're only left with the word "fin" on screen. Har, har, har.
Honestly, that's probably for the best. The Meg is an unwieldy action adventure film, stuffed with unnecessary supporting characters and whale blubber, and, even in a genre that prides itself for being "mindless" fun, it's too dumb to take seriously and too serious to be played for laughs. Arriving weeks after the high-octane joy of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, a movie that makes better use of both helicopters and ex-wives, The Meg feels especially derivative and uninspired. We'll always have that shot of Statham stabbing the shark in the eye. Now let's allow this franchise sink to the bottom of the ocean and rest for another million years.