By June 24, 2016, when Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence opened, London Had Fallen and other large-scale destruction movies had reigned: BvS, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. So the odds were not in the favor of Resurgence. Not that it’s a bad movie, but it had tougher competition than its predecessor. It’s an anodyne sequel with a simple plot—the aliens from the first movie return to give it one more go—and it boasts a handful of awesome images that may be sublime depending on where and how you see them. Watching the movie in IMAX probably helps, the 3D does not: it flattened the background, making the green screen effects conspicuous. Jeff Goldblum, entertaining as ever, is back; his character’s girlfriend, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is charming but does have not enough to say or do. Judd Hirsch, virtually un-aged, is back, as is Bill Pullman, now playing a psychically scarred ex-President. Because Will Smith didn’t want to do the sequel, his character was killed off; now Jessie T. Usher, likable but more stiff than a stump, plays Will Smith’s character’s son, while Vivica A. Fox returns briefly, as Will Smith’s character’s widow. Liam Hemsworth plays a flyboy à la Will Smith, but he too was not given enough lines either to develop his character; Maika Monroe plays Liam’s character’s virtuous girlfriend. Angelababy has an underdeveloped role; Travis Tope plays a likable nerd. In short, characters don’t get enough time to develop chemistry with one another, and Emmerich shoots this movie’s action too fast and uses too many cuts.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White