Finding Dory was a perfect example of how an unnecessary sequel can be a masterpiece. Independence Day: Resurgence is the complete and utter opposite. We should’ve seen this coming. Not the inevitable sequel to a classic, but said inevitable sequel being a dud when Will Smith (whose film career was partially launched by the first film) refused to be involved. And even that giant red flag isn’t enough to prepare you for this disaster.
Like the previous film, IDR picks up twenty years after “The War of 1996” when Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) helped lead the charge to save humanity from a hostile invading alien army. In the aftermath, humanity banded together and used the alien technology to create a global defense system reaching all the way to the moon and even to Saturn. Will Smith’s character is now dead, and his boring adopted son (Jessie Usher) has taken up the mantle as a decorated pilot. President Whitmore is now senile due to his first hand contact with the aliens and his daughter (Maika Monroe) is now a former pilot and presidential aid. Thor’s little brother (Liam Hemsworth) plays the same role he plays in every movie: The good-looking boyfriend who is a rugged fighter.
There are a bunch of other lousy characters in the movie, but I’ll spare you because I don’t want this review to be as flimsy as the movie was. Oh yeah… Vivica Fox returns if you consider two scenes being a part of the movie. All of the wit and charm that Will brought to the 1996 film is gone; replaced by so much cliché dialogue, characters and action sequences, you’d think this movie was the one made in the 90’s. And the compost heap of characters is only one part of the problem.
The plot obviously centers on the return of the evil aliens. Only this time there is a new wrinkle added, that doesn’t work at all, in the form of a separate alien being that comes to help the human race. After shooting down the peaceful alien ship, despite David Levinson (you know, the one guy everyone should listen to)’s objections, the evil alien force arrives and rips through Earth’s upgraded defense like a banner at a high school football game with a ship literally one third the size of Earth.
From there, we get stupid decision after stupid decision such as sending in the entire fleet of pilots at the mother ship, even though we know the shield’s are impenetrable and the same strategy failed 20 years ago. Then there are giant plot holes. The aliens have CLEARLY upgraded all of their arsenal, and yet a bunch of humans can hijack their ships in a matter of seconds and fly them out of the mothership like it’s as easy as picking up an X-Box controller and playing Halo. And somehow the impenetrable, continent sized mothership’s goal of drilling into the Earth’s core, is halted seconds from completion because the alien leader is defeated.
I searched myself for over 24 hours for something enjoyable about this film. But even Bill Pullman’s “rousing” speech feels forced making absolutely nothing about this movie feel genuine. Make no mistake, Independence Day: Resurgence is a loud, clumsy and hollow sequel that taints the legacy of its predecessor. So please, if you are a fan of the 1996 film as I am, do yourself a favor and pretend like this movie doesn’t exist.
FINAL GRADE: F