Explosions, aliens, and Jeff Goldbloom.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a surprisingly good sci-fi action movie. Taking place 20 years after the original film’s events and 20 years later in actual real life, we pick up the original cast of characters (minus Will Smith) and the new batch of heroes in this new Earth that’s vastly changed since the alien invasion. Is the film as good as it’s original counterpart, an emphatic no, but it’s a fast-paced 120 minutes of sci-fi that includes all the pulse pounding action and witty dialogue you’d expect from a direct sequel. It’s not a great movie, but if you’re expectations are silly entertainment and big explosions then it’s kind of perfect.
The most interesting aspect of the movie is how much the world has changed in the 20 years following the first invasion event. Humanity is now united against the alien threat with the knowledge they would return at some point (it’s also in the tagline), but Earth is also preparing by studying the alien technology, and adapting it to both combat and improve the lives of humans. It’s an excellent treatment of fictional history to ask what their version of Earth would be like. Similar to an alternate dimension idea of a single event drastically altering the course of history and seeing the reflections of those events in every element of their world.
What’s not as interesting are the characters. The original cast is still lovable and Jeff Goldblum is a national treasure, but there’s a slight over-reliance on nostalgia to make them interesting. The characters that really suffer are the new recruits. Since Earth was preparing for the day the aliens returned, humanity has also pushed the next generation to prepare to win the coming war. So near every new character is part of the military. It makes each character a little too similar and therefore a little bland. There’s a definite effort to differentiate these characters with backstory, but it doesn’t go quite far enough with the best tidbits probably left on the editing floor.
So not perfect, but stuff explodes! And lots of stuff explodes! And then more stuff explodes!
I mean that’s what we all really came to see anyway right? The action is fast. It takes a little while to ramp up, but once the invasion begins, it’s nonstop until the credits roll. They also made the aliens more terrifying. By increasing the size and scale, including the insanely hilarious idea of the ship having its own gravity (complete science fiction, but still kind of amazing), the stakes are raised to astronomical proportions leaving every moment with a real sense that somebody isn’t making it out of this alive.
Independence Day: Resurgence pushes more of the fiction than the science in its world, but keeps the action pumping throughout. The premise is silly, but that’s also its charm. It doesn’t take itself seriously and neither did the original. So why should we expect anything more? Enjoy Resurgence for what it is: a crazy sci-fi action film where aliens die and stuff explodes. The perfect way to celebrate our nation’s independence!