#HE PILOTED HIS JAEGER SOLO YOU GUYS #IT WAS MEANT TO BE A TWO-TEAM JAEGER BUT HE WAS FORCED TO PILOT IT SOLO IN ORDER TO SURVIVE #THIS CONTINUES TO BE ONE OF THE THINGS THAT BLOWS MY MIND THE MOST IN THIS FILM #aside from the giant monsters and giant robots and the awesomeness that is Mako Mori i mean
This is why reviewers saying Raleigh was such a boring or cliched character killed me. Aside from the fact that his behavior as a man later on was so the OPPOSITE of cliched, people seem to fail to recognize what an utter bad ass Raleigh was. The only other single operation pilot ever was Stacker, who OOZES command and power and authority. Stacker was hardcore military. You EXPECT Stacker to be able to do something impossible like this. But Stacker drops a hint about what piloting alone is though. He talks about how he burned in there for hours. We don’t know how long Raleigh was in there. It was significant though, considering he had to get Gipsy operational to move to land. And she was disabled, so he was going slow. Here’s this kid from the sticks of Alaska, the co-pilot who WASN’T a natural, who just lost his brother, who just had his only family member ripped from his mind (something Stacker didn’t have even though he was in the jaeger longer), who was beat up and injured and BURNING for who knows how long. This kid had the force of will and sense of survival to pilot that jaeger back to land by himself with it broken. The suit literally melted on him and branded half his body. Yet he’s still functional at least for a little bit after he crashes. This was something of a nobody pilot who just did something impossible because deep down Raleigh Becket is the baddest of bad asses. Stacker and Mako and the other jaeger pilots wear their competence and badassery on their sleeve. Raleigh, even with his swagger, never quite does, yet he’s just as effective. There’s not an ounce of quit in him, yet he’s not some rodeo cowboy.
Don’t you dare tell me Raleigh is a cliched, standard hero. Because one of his defining features is that he was always normal and never becomes NOT normal, just with a force of will that singlehandedly controlled a metal monster he was never supposed to have to pilot alone.
THIS. OH MY GOD, ALL OF THIS, SERIOUSLY, IF I COULD BE A FRACTION AS STRONG AS RALEIGH BECKETT, I WOULD BE THE HAPPIEST BUNNY.
Also pointing out that Raleigh piloted Gipsy solo for at least an hour or two because look at the time in which he crashed back onto shore. The sun is up to the point that dawn has at least passed. He and Yancy were out there fighting in the middle of the night.
Raleigh is so damn great. He and Stacker both. That neural overload has killed others before and they did it for hours alone…
Don’t knock these two, I will fight you.
Actually I’d like to point out that it was likely anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. They were woken up at 2 am. Sunrise at that time of year in that part of the world is 8 am so he probably didn’t hit shore until 9 am. Even if Yancy wasn’t killed until 5 am that’s 4 hours. FOUR hours. After his brother is ripped out of his head. Stacker piloted for 3 hours alone. Do NOT tell me Raleigh’s not a badass.
-emphasis by me
All the above, plus my thoughts.
People say he’s cliche or boring? I can see that Raleigh is initially presented that way, but look at him at the beginning of the movie, and compare it to how he is later. He starts out as a hotdog. He’s all carefree bombast, eager to get out there and kick another Kaiju’s behind. He’s a kid high on adrenaline and knowing he’s going out there to succeed again, because that’s the way it’s always been for them up until they meet Knifehead.
In short, he’s like a friendlier Chuck.
Then when you meet him on the Wall, he’s more sombre. That kid has grown up. He’s lost everything dear to him, but he’s still trying to do his part for the effort. He’s still trying to build walls against the Kaiju.
tl;dr On the surface, Raleigh seems like the typical “hero” character, but like so many other characters in that movie, it’s turned on its head. Pacific Rim is big and actionny on so many levels, but on the personal story level, at the characterisation, it’s nuanced and quite lovely to pick apart.