20 years after Will Smith first punched an alien in the face in the original Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich brings us a belated sequel to one of the 90's biggest blockbusters.
Independence Day: Resurgence brings back some familiar faces while adding some young blood to the cast as those pesky extraterrestrials come back with an updated plan to destroy the world with a giant spaceship. Having to follow such a simple concept must have made the writing not too much of a chore and, indeed, the story is one of this sequel's best elements: it's more of the same except we delve deeper into how those aliens work (a lot like bees, it turns out) plus meet a brand new entity who is both an ally and a liability. There's enough there in terms of danger and intrigue to keep even the most reluctant viewer interested throughout. Add to that a reliably good Jeff Goldblum, a dramatic character arc involving Bill Pullman's ex-President plus lots of mindless destruction and you've got yourself a silly, entertaining romp that's not without its charm.
Parts of the film do, however, feel a bit rushed or could have been cut entirely. As fun as Judd Hirsch is playing Goldblum's dad, his entire subplot really doesn't add anything to the story except time and Charlotte Gainsbourg's character could have easily not existed, leaving Goldblum to figure out all the patterns and such. A scene in which the US President destroys some alien ship on a whim is frankly clumsy since it makes those aliens come off as moronic when they're not supposed to be and Brent Spiner's mad scientist could have scaled back the eccentricity but, considering how bland the young cast is here, it's a valid and needed over-the-top performance. The likes of Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Husher and Angelababy range from clichéd to bland to insufferable and as hard as this movie tries to make us care for this new cast, all they do is ruin a perfectly acceptable sequel.
As inconsistent and uneven as it is, Independence Day: Resurgence is much better than it had any right to be: it has its amusing moments and the destruction is appropriately apocalyptic plus the old cast brings some welcome nostalgia to the whole thing.
Fans of the original should enjoy it fine.