Max Meyers’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's a lot that I miss about going to see movies at the theaters...people thinking it's a good idea to bring their babies into a movie theater (especially a horror/suspense movie!) is not one of them.
I'm a huge fan of the original first movie. It's a horror movie with smart characters that relies more on brilliantly created suspense rather than cop outs of visually frightening imagery, and it's also just so entertaining and well made. Its ending was fairly open ended; I didn't need a sequel, but hearing that one was going to be made didn't upset me at all. I remember seeing trailers for this back in February and March of 2020, and then Covid-19 hit and the delays soon followed. It's been a long time coming for this movie, and it almost feels full circle seeing this film again. A vaccine for the virus is now available and is starting to reach a lot of the country, and while the pandemic most certainly isn't over and we shouldn't treat it as such, seeing this movie felt like life was finally starting to revert back to the way things used to be. It's hard to explain, but this movie feels special to me because of that. That's a lot of weight for a movie to bear in terms of personal significance, and it would've been incredibly unfortunate if this movie didn't live up to the hype. So luckily, I absolutely adored this movie.
It's the ones like these that get me excited about watching movies. It's filled with so many great moments that, just like the first, perfect hold you in suspense in the best way possible. I'll admit it, watching this movie in AMC Dolby Cinema may have influenced how I feel about it, but I'm BLOWN AWAY by how awesome dolby is. Like, it's just beyond immersive, it's unreal. I'd gush about it for hours, I may never be able to go back to "normal" theaters. I'm gonna say it: Dolby Cinema is life changing.
One of my favorite parts about this movie was how it felt very much like a mirror movie or a twin to the first one. Yes, it's a sequel so it will inherently share similarities to its predecessor, but in a lot of ways it seemed to mimic the framework and structure of the first, and I absolutely loved that subtle homage and connection that it created. Some great performances from Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy as always. Also a special shout out to the kids Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds, they're so good at such a young age which is wildly impressive and I am super excited to see what they do next.
This one had a bit more of a plot to it which was cool to see. The first one feels like much more of just an experience/a particularly eventful day in the life for this family, which still works really well! But this film had a bit more of a plot with a motive/goal to it, which gives it its own unique flair compared to the first, and makes it very compelling. As I said, it's got so many great moments and nail-biting scenes that filled me with exactly the type of feeling I was hoping for, especially with the loud sound of a theater. I'm still thinking about it, but I honestly might've liked this movie more than the first. It expands upon things that the first one was somewhat lacking in, and someone manages to take things to a new level without it losing that which made the first one special, and without feeling too absurd or unrealistic. There's just not a single dull moment in this film; once you're in, you're in and there's no letting go. A wild ride from beginning to end, which was exactly what I was hoping for.
I have heard about conversations for a third movie; I think this movie definitely did set up for a sequel so I'm fine if they make another one, but I just hope they don't make a franchise out of it. I'd love to see a conclusion that seals the deal with this just being a great trilogy that ties the loose ends left in this one, which honestly aren't too cliffhangery to be honest (if that's a word) and it wouldn't ruin it for me if they never made a third one. However, I just hope the third film isn't just one that sets up for another film or set of new films, but I have a feeling John Krasinski knows what he's doing so I trust him not to milk this franchise to the point of ruining it. I trust the man, he's on a hot streak with these two films.
I will say, this movie didn't do a lot to explain these aliens or what brought them to Earth/how this all began. It teased it, but we're still kinda left in the dark on that. Personally, I love that creative decision. Just like these characters, we have little to no idea about who they are and why they're here. I'm glad this movie didn't take the route of these characters suddenly learning this big backstory about these creatures. While I do hope that the third one dives a little deeper into their origins or at least what truly happened on Day 1, I really like how slowly they're giving us that information. It feels very realistic and like it's not just force feeding all the answers to us, because that mystery and fear of the unknown is what makes the aliens' presence so much more terrifying.
Also (it's in the trailers so I feel like it's fine to talk about this) I would LOVE to see a movie that's just following the family on Day 1, and seeing how they adapted to their changed world. Those scenes in this movie may have been some of my favorite because they're just SO fascinating and engaging. It also plays a lot on the knowledge that we learned in the first film with a lot of its foreshadowing before the chaos ensued, which was cool to pickup on before all hell broke loose.
Also, the Jurassic Park vibes near the end was STELLAR. Got so giddy over that.
Also, I must say it again: Cillian Murphy. Oh yes :)