Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch
This review is spoiler free, and reveals no more than that which is seen in the trailers.
Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defense be enough? (Source: IMDb)
I had incredibly low expectations about this film beforehand; as a fan of the original movie I thought a sequel was largely unnecessary and, well, I wasn’t wrong, but we’ll get to that bit later.
The special effects in this movie are pretty great, and boy is it effects heavy! The dogfights are chaotically wonderful, and the scenes of destruction as whole cities are pulverised is pretty spectacular. I feel like the effects budget was blown on the big action set pieces and they scrimped a bit on making the aliens look good, but that’s by the by.
Whilst it did feel like the old and new cast were jostling for attention, on the whole, the returning cast members are pretty good, or as good as they need to be anyway, and despite being sans Will Smith, the film does not suffer because of this. I’m always biased when it comes to Jeff Goldblum, but he was definitely the highlight of this movie for me. His dry wit made a welcome break from the general shouting and chaos, and his remark about how the aliens “like to get the landmarks” is surprisingly meta.
Now, I’m all for a big, loud, turn your brain off movie, and this movie is definitely that in places, but the plot is also crushingly simple, and as I predicted beforehand, completely unnecessary. It relies too much on the nostalgia from the first film, but it really feels like it has come about 15 years too late. It looks and feels like a 90s film, and is ridiculously cheesy, but it somehow never manages to recapture the spirit that made the original so fun.
It is brash and over the top in every sense of the word, and despite everything supposedly being bigger, badder, and more threatening than the first time, there are moments where it seems like the stakes are not particularly high. The new cast lack the likeability that the original cast had, so it is difficult to feel incredibly invested in their plight.
The characters are criminally underdeveloped also, and the plot is wafer thin despite showing some initial promise. It is predictable, unoriginal, uninspired, and I’ll say it again, unnecessary.
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. It saddens me to write that, honestly! I had really hoped that I would be proved wrong, and that it would be a great movie, but alas it is not. It is fine if you’re after a silly, dumb action film, and might make for a fun first watch, but I can’t imagine it will hold up to repeated views, or hold the same longevity that the first film had. If you’re a fan of the first film, by all means give it a watch as it is quite nice to see some of the old gang again, but this uninspired sequel will do little to attract a new generation to this series.
Agree with everything I have said or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!