Independence Day Sequel: Explosive Without An Impact

“We had twenty years to prepare…So did they.”


This is the tagline for Independence Day: Resurgence, which opened in theaters worldwide on June 24, 2016 with an opening gross of nearly $143.7 million. The action-packed sequel to 1996’s highest-grossing film features plenty of undeniably impressive visual effects, but is a shallow attempt at recapturing the exhilaration and success of its predecessor.


Resurgence stars an ensemble cast of Jessie Usher, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, with Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, and Vivica A. Fox reprising their roles. Notably missing is Will Smith, who played the charming original protagonist, Captain Steven Hiller — his circumstances of death are very vaguely conveyed in the film. Bringing back this beloved character would have delighted viewers and perhaps, drawn more of them to the theater.


Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film takes place twenty years following the disastrous events of Independence Day, after which world nations have deeply studied extraterrestrial technology and formed the Earth Space Defense organization (ESD).


However, as the Fourth of July approaches, the ESD becomes embroiled in a second battle with alien invaders, who attack with exceptional force. Once again, teams of scientists collaborate with valiant fighter pilots and the President of the United States to save the world from a seemingly insurmountable foe.


The plot attempts at originality, but feels tired and shallow to the point that one begins to wonder whether a sequel was even necessary. Even the plethora of special effects couldn’t compensate for the shaky storyline with its abysmal writing.


This largely “spectacle-driven blockbuster” has drawn generally unfavorable reviews from seasoned critics. Ticket sales have reportedly dropped by 72% since its Friday debut, so it’s safe to say that audiences agree with these critics.


Even with its visceral thrills, Resurgence cannot make up for its overall deficiencies in ingenuity and emotional warmth, making it stand incontrovertibly pale in comparison to the 1996 original.