Picture it. Hollywood executives discuss their next mega money maker and among the melee of buzzwords, margins, and other business bollockry is the go-to selling point for any sequel: make it bigger. Independence Day Resurgence gets the green light and kick starts a global marketing campaign that drives home the fact that more than anything else this belated sequel will be bigger than the 1996 original. But they didn’t stop there.
Over the course of an agonising 120 minutes we are reminded that “this is definitely bigger than last time”… we can see that. The new mothership is the size of the bloody Atlantic! Whether it’s repeating something long enough that it becomes true (and the only thing audiences will take away from it) or that they think so little of us that they feel they have to walk us through such a basic concept, when every aspect of your film dwarfs its once mighty predecessor and blows most disaster movies out of the water such ridiculous levels of exposition are redundant.
The gratuitous exposition isn’t the half of it. It’s a moving checklist of Hollywood clichés peppered with one-dimensional characters, plot contrivances, and a stereotypical view of the foreign world that was out of date 20 years ago. The original is no feat of cinema, by any means; a classic 90s sci-fi actioner with a charming cheesiness that lends itself to any audience looking for a bit of fun. But this. This is just embarrassing. They reunited the cast and lazily replaced those who wisely declined to offer a taste of 90s cheese, only to find that the one-liners and Goldblum-isms haven’t matured, they’re now well past their sell-by-date.
All logic is thrown out of the window, but you can forget about leaving your brain at the lobby, the amount of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this requires a lobotomy. It’s a mind-numbing experience that insults your intelligence, but the worst part is that despite explaining itself at every opportunity, it’s still utter nonsense.
But at least it looks good, for the most part. The beautifully rendered visuals and near-deafening sound thrive on the big screen and collide in a cacophony of destruction to create one of the most powerful disaster sequences in recent memory. And those tidal waves! The massive lasers too! And what about that alien behemoth! It’s definitely bigger than last time… Dammit!