The Super Bowl spot for Independence Day: Resurgence appropriately begins at a football game. Considering all the pomp and circumstance during the national anthem (a dramatic inhale that blatantly apes the Dark Knight Rises trailer), the game appears to be under the auspices of the National Football League. This calls the film’s timeline into question since regular-season games typically aren’t played anywhere near the Fourth of July, but coherence has never been the Independence Day franchise’s selling point. Fans only require a generous helping of wanton destruction, and, judging from this trailer, they won’t be disappointed. Not only do the aliens blow things up this time around, they also have a fun gimmick where they seem to pull entire cities off the ground and then drop them onto other cities. That actually seems like more work than blowing up a city, but whatever. At least we have Jeff Goldblum saying, with the ideal mixture of awe and terror, “What goes up, must come … down,” as Dubai pancakes London.
The only thing missing here—besides the presence of Will Smith, who surely would have found a reason to light another cigar—is a money shot on the level of the original’s exploding White House. Sure, the sequel features the tallest building in the world crashing into the planet upside-down, but shots of big things colliding with other big things always lack a sense of scale. Plus, the murkiness of the digital chaos lacks both clarity and tangibility, leaving viewers somewhat removed from the action. Maybe, no matter how impressive the effect, you just can’t shock today’s audiences by destroying landmarks the way you could in 1996. This suggests diminishing returns for the Independence Day franchise, but maybe, like Randy Quaid in a fighter jet, it will still find a way to sneak past our defenses.
Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters June 24.