This year seems to be full of belated sequels, or ones that nobody really asked for; a lot have landed as sad disappointments, the occasional ones have been welcomed warmly, Independence Day: Resurgence, falls somewhere in between.
The film takes place exactly 20 years after the original (of course on the 4th of July), and a second alien invasion occurs. That is essentially the plot. That is it. If you go in expecting much more you will likely be disappointed. However, if you go in knowing this is about as much story as you are going to get, you might just be entertained.
Plenty of the old cast are back, and are joined by a host of new faces who slot well into the franchise. The absence of Will Smith will not even be on your mind whilst watching the film (partly due to the fact this installment is so different in quality to the original). The return of familiar faces will likely evoke a sense of nostalgia, making you a little more forgiving of this film’s many flaws, and allow you to look to its good aspects. Despite the 20 years, the cast of characters is still as charismatic and welcome, helping to pull you into the film more than the newer additions do.
The action sequences are pretty fun, attempting to regain that fun popcorn feeling of the original, and, despite not reaching it, still makes for enjoyable viewing. The alternate 2016 presented in the film also helps to make it a little more interesting as it envisages what society would be like had we been able to access alien technology. This however, is a novelty that wears thin, sparking interest only momentarily.
The more prominent position in the plot of President Whitmore’s daughter is welcomed by audiences waking up to the need for more interesting roles for women in film. She appears to be a heroine of the peace, stepping forward with the male characters. However, in the end, she still relinquishes to the role of the ‘damsel in distress’, even if this is only for a brief moment.
This film falls into the trap that many of the belated sequels of recent times have. They simply appear to be a rehash of the original, empty with little to add to the franchise. Although you may still be able to enjoy this film, it is more likely to make you want to go back and rewatch the original to relive the magic this film fails to recapture.
Was it necessary? No. Does it carry the wit, charm and blockbusting skills of the original? No. But is it a bit of stupid fun? Yes. If you go expecting little more than take-your-brain-out okay entertainment, then you’ll enjoy this exploit, and fans will relish the references back to the original and the chance to reunite with certain characters. However, if you go expecting something that will either equal, or better, the first film, you will be disappointed. This film requires optimism to find the entertainment, buried beneath all of the problems and blown-up landmarks.
Oh, and try to look past the irony of the film’s release date coinciding with the UK’s Brexit Referendum.
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And don’t think about Nigel Farage’s dire rehash of President Whitmore’s 1996 speech.