Credit: Claudette Barius

Independence Day gave us an alien invasion movie for the ages. Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), Dr. Brakish Okum (Brent Spiner), Jasmine Dubrow (Vivica A. Fox), and David Levison (Jeff Goldblum) helped establish director Roland Emmerich as the cinematic master of destruction.

Twenty years later, does the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, achieve the same glory?

Some of these familiar faces are back, alongside new ones like Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jesse T. Usher, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. As a new alien invasion descends upon planet Earth, humanity enlists the aid of a newer, younger team to battle this threat equipped with alien technology. They’re already missing one crucial ingredient: Smith decided to not return, leaving his character to be explained away.

Even as the crew armed themselves with some new blood on the screenplay (Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods), the Resurgence wasn’t enough to surpass, or even meet the success of the first. With 79 reviews logged to Rotten Tomatoes, the film touts a dismal 40 percent — and the reviews themselves are not out of this world.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave the movie an F in his review. “[Independence Day is] just silly popcorn disaster porn that had the bright idea of blowing up beloved monuments and the good fortune of catching Will Smith as his star was on the rise,” he says. “But at least it was competent. The same can’t be said for its disposable and shockingly inept sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.”

Here’s more of Nashawaty’s review and what other critics thought of Independence Day: Resurgence.

Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)

“I realize we’re dealing in the realm of kill-crazy space monsters here, but Resurgence doesn’t make a friggin’ lick of sense. That, in and of itself, is not something I’m against. I’ll go with nonsense as long as there’s something else to hold onto – some shred or scintilla of smarts or spectacle to keep us entertained and distracted while we’re being condescended to. But Emmerich and his army of screenwriters (including original co-writer Dean Devlin) don’t even bother with that. Instead, what we get is a film whose idea of wit is having Liam Hemsworth take a leak on alien space ship while giving it the finger. Which, in a sense, is exactly what Independence Day does to its audience.”

Leslie Felperin (The Hollywood Reporter)

“The main thing filmgoers will be looking for from Resurgence is bang-for-buck entertainment, and that it delivers reasonably successfully. Although the pic’s 120-minute running time sometimes feels draggier than its predecessor’s 145-minute sprawl, returning writer-director-producer Roland Emmerich’s knack for the pomp of vast-scaled destruction, fist-pumping moments of triumph and cornpone jocularity remains undiminished. This sort of entertainment is his happy place.”

Jason Solomons (The Wrap)

“While it would be foolish to say Independence Day: Resurgence lacks scale and spectacle in this age of the blue-screen blockbuster, scene after scene of the stuff becomes repetitive and soulless due to its victimless violence. It feels like no one ever really dies or gets hurt, despite the destruction of half the planet. Again, the only joke is left to Goldblum, who looks up at the new enemy ship and delivers the deadpan line: ‘That’s definitely bigger than the last one.’ Bigger, yes, but not nearly as much fun.”

Guy Lodge (Variety)

“‘We had 20 years to prepare… so did they,’ states the tagline of Independence Day: Resurgence, a cheerfully ludicrous re-encounter of the third kind that doesn’t show any particular evidence of all that planning. Sketchily conceived in all departments but its sensational, more-is-more visual effects — which is, let’s be honest, where its efforts should be concentrated — this belated, cluttered sequel to the 1996 smash Independence Day breaks far less ground than its alien invaders, but confirms director Roland Emmerich as modern cinema’s most spirited conductor of popcorn chaos.”

Scott Mendelson (Forbes)

“Independence Day: Resurgence is terribly unremarkable to the point of being terrible. It is the least imaginative, least challenging Independence Day sequel you could imagine. The ships are bigger, the catastrophe is greater, and the action is more plentiful. But everything else is in painfully short supply. They had twenty years to prepare, and this is the best they could come up with?”

Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

“From the metallic shell of the 1996 smash Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich has pulled a seriously lousy sequel, dripping with alien goo and incoherence. I take no pleasure in reporting this news, folks. I’ve been a lonely, half-mad defender of some of Emmerich’s cheesiest cheese, including 10,000 B.C. But Independence Day: Resurgence is the Emmerich movie his fiercest detractors always said he could manage, if he put his mindlessness to it.”

Brian Truitt (USA Today)

“Hey, the White House finally makes it through an Independence Day movie. The rest of the sci-fi sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (*1/2 out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters now) is a real disaster and amounts to a completely unneeded follow-up to the entertaining original 20 years ago.”

Lou Lumenick (New York Post)

“The story is a patchwork of plot elements that don’t fit together, and the film is so badly edited that it somehow feels twice as long as the original, even though it’s actually half an hour shorter. The design elements look like they were recycled from a dozen other blockbusters.”

Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

“They’re back. And our boffins’ futile, wrist-flapping panic spreads to cinema auditoria all over the globe as people everywhere realize that the most planet-smashingly boring sci-fi sequel in history is on its way to crush our minds and empty our wallets and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”

Independence Day: Resurgence

  • Movie
  • Roland Emmerich