The sequel, however, is a different story. Actually, the story really isn't that different. The aliens come back to earth, and the humans fight back. We've seen it before.
Goldblum returns, Pullman returns, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox. They're back, playing exactly the characters you expected them to play from the first film. We've seen it before.
Newcomers to the sequel include Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher, Hemsworth as the cocky fighter pilot and Usher as the son of Will Smith's character. There are more side characters fitting even more roles - one is a comic relief government official working with Goldblum; another, the Harry Connick Jr. best friend/supporter comic relief to Hemsworth. Again, we've seen it all before.
But if you're not looking to find plot or character development in a movie, the visual effects and action should be your next target, right? Well... There's spaceships. Bigger spaceships. The aliens are all CGI now. There's dogfighting, explosions, etc. Nothing unexpected, really, other than... We've seen it before. You see a common thread going on here?
Emmerich essentially delivers a paint-by-numbers rehash of the first Independence Day without allowing us to enjoy everything that made it great. The abundance of action films with all of these elements makes ID: Resurgence feel more like a step backwards than forwards. A painfully slow, been-there-done-that third act becomes all too familiar. There are moments, though, that deliver nicely. Seeing a spaceship cover an entire ocean, for example, is visually impressive and worthy of the scope the film tries to capture. Goldblum enjoying almost every second and, most of the time, stealing the show when he's onscreen. But seriously, what on earth was with the pee jokes? Did Adam Sandler write a few scenes?
ID: Resurgence is slightly better than one would think it is, but it's also not as good as it could have been. 20 years have passed, and we've had some time to prepare for Resurgence. So did they. Too bad they didn't deliver more.