Twenty Years between sequels is a long time. There has been longer, but twenty years is nothing to sneeze at. The reviews that proceed me have been harsh, many suggesting that this is the worst film of the summer. But honestly? It’s an OK film. There are some decent quips. The effects are good. Goldblum slips into his role pretty seamlessly. Spiner pops back up and gets a beefed up role. Bill Pullman is the tortured Ex-President. Sela Ward is thr tough current president. Replacing Will Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller is his son Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher). He is apparently annoyed with Jake (Liam Hemsworth) for almost killing him (accidentally) a few years before. Jake is the hotshot risk taker who saves the moon base (but getting no thanks for it). He is also engaged to President Whitmore’s now grown daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe), who works for the current President and is a former pilot. Then there is Floyd (Nicholas Wright, also one of the writers). He is in love with Rain Lao (Angelababy) the top Chinese pilot. Towards the beginning of the film, we are also introduced to Warlord Dikembi Umbutu (Deobia Oparei) and the standard sparring love interest for Goldblum, Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg). If this seems like a long introductory paragraph? It is a lot longer in the film.
One of the big problems this film has? So much of the personal conflict feels entirely unnecessary. The conflict between Dylan and Jake could be removed entirely and not impact the film at all. Their relationship would not be lessened without it. What makes it worse is that really, the new character lack charisma and have terrible lines. The quips in the film are largely duds.
The movie follows the first film’s formula pretty closely. We spend an hour being introduced, or re-introduced to the leads (or at least, it feels like a long slow hour). We get a lot of destruction as the ship arrives. An “exciting” battle that fails, heroes stuck in the alien ship, heroes flying alien ship. A road trip with Judd Hirsch. Sure, some it is a bit jumbled around and it is all amped up a bit, because, well, it is a sequel.
The creature design is surprisingly pedestrian. The Alien Queen is suspiciously like the Alien Queen from Aliens, especially in her movements. The world building is a bit lazy. Yeah, they have alien technology, but it seems to be mostly applied to weapons and vehicles. How does it change other things? Communication technology seems to basically be smart phones, laptops and tablets. The world has been united since 1996, and I guess there might be some plausibility there, but the world is basically America, except for the continent of Africa, still run by Warlords.
The film also just ends very weirdly. No big speech, Spiner just runs into frame to set up the next film. And the screen goes black. So, no, this is not the worst movie of the summer (surely we cannot make such a claim seven days into summer). It is not the best either. It is an okay and underwhelming sequel.