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David Levinson: I've had years to get us ready. We never had a chance.
Thomas J. Whitmore: We didn't last time, either. We convinced an entire generation, that this was a battle we could win.
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The sequel to Independence Day, directed once again by Roland Emmerich.

In 2016, the world reaches the twentieth anniversary of the devastating alien invasion. Humanity has rebuilt its cities and monuments, with (now-former) President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) having successfully united the post-war world. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has spent the last twenty years running the Earth Space Defense Initiative, which has utilized the alien technology in order to strengthen our planet's defenses. Many humans fear that the aliens will one day return, even as some of them survived in Central Africa and spent the years fighting a guerrilla war against the locals.

Their fears prove all too real: as the mothership was destroyed in 1996, the aliens managed to send out a distress signal, and reinforcements are about to arrive.

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Both the heroes of 1996 and their children must now show, once again, that Earth is not for the taking.

US Release was June 24, 2016. Watch the trailer here, and the Super Bowl TV spot here. The second trailer is here. An extended five minute trailer is here.


This trope list looks bigger than the last one:

  • 2-D Space: It's mentioned that the aliens "got through the defenses at Saturn," as if it was a mandatory prerequisite to attack Earth. One can easily assault any part of the Solar System without passing the rest, by travelling in a direction that's not in the planetary coplanar orbits. In a similar vein, there really wasn't a need to fly through the 1996 Mothership's debris field to reach the Moon. Could have gone "up and over" (or down and under) it, avoiding chances of a navigational mishap. (although that's Jake in a ship he didn't have permission to take bringing David rejecting orders, so Jake might be taking the hard way to avert being discovered - or just taking the orbital equivalent of a straight line to save time).
    • Potentially zigzagged: The pattern of whatever was happening at Saturn more closely resembled the wormhole that the Sphere Alien appeared by way of, so (depending on what moon was being used out at Saturn) it's quite possible that they were wormholed out by the Sphere Alien. It's never said that the Harvesters attacked Saturn, merely that contact was lost.
    • The Harvesters planned to eliminate the human race and there were humans stationed at Saturn, so it was most likely required that they swing by Saturn and wipe out the humans there before moving on to take out the human home planet.
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    • Also, they might have just wanted to wreck the moon and the humans on it. Grazing the moon like they did was a very effective show of power.
  • Action Survivor:
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Played with, in that romantic love has nothing to do with it. Former President Whitmore, twenty years older, is now plagued with nightmares about the first war. He's obviously suffering PTSD and experiencing what we learn is leftover psychic chatter from the alien hivemind due to the captured aliens on Earth. He's feeble, shaky, barely able to walk without a cane. Once he realizes the aliens are coming back and the fighting starts in earnest, he has abandoned his cane, and is walking tall. He shaves his beard and suits up to volunteer to fly the suicide mission, much to his daughter's chagrin. It's his love for her (and, to a lesser degree, humanity) that makes him strong enough to do it.
  • All There in the Manual: The War of 1996 website, which updates viewers about what has been going on for the last 20 years since the first alien invasion. It also details exactly which cities were destroyed in the invasion. Over 108 cities were reduced to rubble, ranging from megacities like Tokyo, Paris, London and Hong Kong, to average cities like Hamburg, Vancouver, and Liverpool, to even Mogadishu, Rihyad, and Pyongyang. In addition, America actually had four destroyers; the fourth initially attacked San Francisco. An additional 36 cities are listed as having suffered minor damage when the humans intercepted them before the fourth wave of attacks.
  • Alternate History:
    • Naturally, since the world wasn't invaded by aliens in 1996 in Real Life, world events throughout the 21st century have been drastically altered. Humanity has enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity brought on by the unity of a common alien foe, avoiding most of the significant conflicts of the early 21st century, and the technology recovered from the invasion spearheaded the early development of things like smartphones and drones. The Earth Space Defense initiative is established, and the world's military forces are improved with alien weaponry, and humans have established colonies throughout the Solar System. All in all, humanity seems to be doing very well for itself... until they come back.
    • The website shows Whitmore working alongside mid-late 90s leaders such as Tony Blair, Helmut Kohl, and Boris Yeltsin.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Played with. There are a lot of obvious bits that indicate that Doctors Isaacs and Okun are definitely a couple in love. But the film stops short of coming right out and saying it plainly due to the film being released in other countries where that would not be well received.
  • America Saves the Day: Again. Enforced, in that David is in charge of Earth's defense against alien threats and he uses Area 51 as an emergency base where the Sphere needed to stop the aliens is stored. The extremely short time period before the aliens can complete their plan doesn't give everyone else enough time to come up with ideas, and the main people working to stop them include a bunch of Americans, one non-English speaker from another unidentified country, and a single Chinese woman. At least America gets the go ahead from other world leaders to proceed with their plan. The alien mothership also decimates the eastern seaboard as it lands, so they weren't in much of a position to contribute.
  • Arc Symbol: The circle with the line not-quite-bisecting it. It's drawn repeatedly and obsessively by any human who has had psychic contact with the alien invaders. It turns out to be a very simplistic image of The Sphere, who has come to help against the invaders.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Okun's coma ending abruptly is a little bit Contrived Coincidence, and Justified due to his psychic link to the aliens.
    • Whitmore's going from decrepit at age 63 (he was fairly young at 43 when elected) to a hale and hearty 63 recovering at the speed of plot due to his Adrenaline Makeover? Disability does not work that way. Mental illness does not work that way. The cane getting tossed might have been psychosomatic. But the mental trauma from the psychic link to the aliens had him shaking, erratic, and easily agitated.
  • Artistic License – Economics:
    • There is absolute zero possibility that humanity would recover from the War of 1996 (the most devastating conflict in human history, easily eclipsing both World Wars, the Black Plague and multiple other wars combined) in just 20 years, with a moonbase, functional spacecraft, rebuilt cities and restored infrastructure. Such a devastating event (imagine post-WW2 Europe, scaled up globally and with 108 cities reduced to nothing but rubble) would set humanity back multiple decades, if not at least over century to rebuild fully. Major economic centers have been destroyed (New York with the NASDAQ and NYSE, London, Tokyo and the Nikkei Stock Index, Moscow, Paris, the list goes on), and within those cities all of the banking institutions, monuments, major company headquarters, countless businesses, manufacturing hubs, homes and museums, all of the critical infrastructure were completely destroyed. The world (North America, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia especially) would be in unparalleled economic ruin for the foreseeable future, as countries attempt (some likely succeeding more than others based on how many cities they lost or their economic prosperity prior to the invasion) to rebuild trillions and trillions of dollars worth of damage, millions, if not billions of people are displaced, missing, and homeless, the destruction of major economic centers means currencies would likely be worthless and at least 36 cities have the wreckage of gigantic City Destroyers that crashed nearby. Many nations would collapse into anarchy due to the loss of their capital cities, manufacturing centers, and critical infrastructure. In short, the prosperous world that Resurgence depicts wouldn't exist, not for at least 100-200 years after the events of the first film; a more realistic depiction would be a large portion of the world's population in makeshift refugee camps fighting over supplies, with looting being rampant, while many nations commence massive cleanup/rebuilding operations, tallying survivors and assessing damage, with the ultimate goal being to restore themselves from ruin. The only region that didn't suffer as much damage by comparison was Australia, with only one city (Perth) destroyed and a second (Sydney) damaged by a crashing City Destroyer.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • In maybe a nod to some scientific criticisms of the first film, it's said that this mothership is large enough to have its own significant gravitational pull against the Earth. Realistically, the much smaller original mothership at 1/4 the size of the moon would have done quite a bit of damage by itself. If not overt earthquakes from shifting tectonic plates, then there would at least be tidal waves. This ship does all that. Oddly though, when the ship leaves at the end of the movie, it causes no adverse effects whatsoever.
    • When the ship's arms, red-hot from entering Earth's atmosphere, and the plasma drill touch the ocean, the should throw up massive amounts of steam as the heat evaporates the surrounding water. However this doesn't happen.
    • The aliens' ultimate goal of utilizing the molten cores of inhabited worlds as power sources is grossly inefficient considering the multitude of far more easily accessible power sources an interstellar civilization has access to. They would be a much better source of heavy metals and elements, though.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Following the events of "The War of 1996", the world's nations have banded together in an absolutely unprecedented era of peace.
  • As You Know: Often, like Patricia telling Jake about the time he almost killed Dylan.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Steve's son Dylan and Whitmore's daughter Patricia, now grown, play a major role in the film's plot.
    • Downplayed, but due to the tremendous advances in special effects technology since the release of the first film, this film shows us much more of the aliens and their ships. We see the entire body of a living alien, for one, as the aliens in the first movie were usually shown in close-ups or only from their torsos-up.
    • Brakish Okun in the first film was a prominent role but only in a handful of scenes in the second half of the story. This film includes him in a major scientific role throughout the film.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The aliens' biomechanical suits are revealed to be more vulnerable to attack in the back. This applies to the Harvester Queen's massive one as well.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Dikembe, leader of his nation, killed scores of aliens in a years-long guerrilla war, and insists on coming along when the aliens show up. He spends as much of the film as he can in the thick of the action on the ground.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The trailers feature Dylan giving a speech saying that they need to remind the aliens that Earth is not for the taking.
    • President Elizabeth Lanford is shown telling an alien to its face that they are screwing with the wrong species.
    • Whitmore sacrificing himself and telling the Queen, "On behalf of the people of Earth, happy Fourth of July."
    • Dr. Okun at the end. "Time to kick some serious alien ass."
  • Badass Family:
    • The Whitmores: Tom Whitmore and his daughter Patricia are both Ace Pilots.
    • The Hillers: Steve already saved the Earth 20 years prior, his wife Jasmine evolved from stripper to chief of staff at a state of the art hospital, and his (step)son is already following the Ace Pilot tradition.
    • The Laos: The commander of the moon base and the Chinese squadron pilot are uncle and niece.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Former President Whitmore has grown one in the past twenty years. In conjunction with that, he mentions that after his brief Mind Rape in the first film, he can still hear the alien voices after all this time. That he's willing to suffer it again, just to give the others a chance to gain information, says a lot.
  • Beam Spam: The Harvester Mothership is equipped with a Wave Motion Gun that can fire dozens of beams simultaneously. They use this feature to take out a whole section of Earth's orbital defenses simultaneously.
  • Behind the Black: Levinson walks up to the edge of a mile wide hole in the ground without noticing it.
    • Some security personnel at Area 51 carrying plasma rifles are grabbed by some escaped aliens from directly in front of them, only the aliens were off-camera. Possibly justified, as the lights were flickering and dim and there was quite a bit of smoke in the air.
  • BFG: The city-ravaging Wave Motion Gun from the first film has been reverse-engineered and incorporated as earth's orbital defense guns. The aliens themselves still use the same technology, except theirs can fire much more rapidly, with less charging time.
  • Big Bad: The Harvester Queen.
  • Big Good: The Sphere. It is the only enemy the aliens fear and has led the fight against them across the universe for centuries. It has also made it its mission to rescue as many beings as possible from the worlds under attack by the bad guys, so that they don't go extinct.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Dr. Okun has bad enough vision that he only recognizes Dr. Isaacs by voice and familiarity. He immediately asks for his glasses so he can see.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: An alien uses a guard's severed hand to gain access to the prison wing of Area 51.
  • Brain Uploading: The Sphere's race abandoned their corporeal forms in favor of uploading their consciousness into artificial constructs, which they found to be far more advantageous.
  • Bulungi: The Republique Nationale d'Umbutu, which both the bridge novel Resurgence and the novelization say is a breakaway northeastern province of the Congo.
  • Bury Your Gays: Dr. Isaacs gets his beloved Brakish back from the edge of death, only to suffer fatal wounds when the aliens attack Area 51.
  • Bus Crash:
    • In between the first and second movie, Will Smith's character died test piloting an experimental hybrid fighter jet.
    • The novelization and the bridge novel Crucible also say that Constance died in a car crash.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Julius Levinson foolishly drives a schoolbus with children into Area 51, figuring it's the safest place to be (the aliens tried to destroy it in the last movie, so he should know better). Instead the bus ends up being chased by a giant queen alien, who's rather pissed off after its spaceship got destroyed and is apparently intent on taking it out on the first humans it sees.
  • The Cameo: In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Robert Loggia can be seen as General Gray (from the original film) in one of the crowd shots early on in the film.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Overlapping with Relationship Voice Actor in the Japanese dub with Neon Genesis Evangelion and by default, Rebuild of Evangelion, being both works that deals with humans fighting an alien invasion: Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami) voices Catherine Marceaux, Maaya Sakamoto (Mari Illustrious Makinami) voices Patricia Whitmore, Yuriko Yamaguchi (Ritsuko Akagi) as President Lanford, Akira Ishida (Kaworu Nagisa) as Charlie Miller, Fumihiko Tachiki (Gendo Ikari) as General Adams, Motomu Kiyokawa (Kozo Fuyutsuki) as Julius Levinson and Hochu Otsuka (Shiro Tokida, the Jet Alone guy) as David Levinson.
    • The Spanish dub followed the same trend: Dylan was voiced by David Jenner (Kaworu Nagisa in Rebuild of Evangelion), Julius was voiced by Joan Massotkleiner (Gendo Ikari in The End of Evangelion and Rebuild), Rain Lao by Nuria Trifol (Maya Ibuki), Catherine by Marta Barbará (Mari Illustrious Makinami), Armand by Jordi Ribes (Kozo Fuyutsuki) and Captain Mcquaide by Tasio Alonso (Ryoji Kaji in Rebuild).
  • Catapult Nightmare: President Whitmore wakes from sleep with one. Dr. Okun wakes from his coma abruptly in a similar manner, giving Dr Issac a nasty shock.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Detonating the fusion drives. This high-risk maneuver overheats the craft's engine to the point of burning up but also dramatically increases its power. Jake uses it once in an utility craft to stop the falling Wave Motion Gun from crushing into the base below on the Moon. In the climax, Jake, Dylan, Charlie and Rain use the same maneuver to fly their alien crafts out of the Alien Queen's control radius and free them from her control.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There is still some leftover debris of the old alien mothership floating around the Moon's orbit. They are all vaporized by the new alien mothership's shield when it arrives.
    • Two buildings are named after deceased characters from the first film, namely Steven Hiller Hangar and Marilyn Whitmore Hospital. Russel Casse's name also appeared on the Washington Monument along with the names of people who gave up their lives fighting the aliens in the last war.
    • A large painting of Hiller (the Bus Crash victim Will Smith) can also be seen in the background in one of the White House scenes.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The aliens once again arrive in time for the 4th of July celebrations. This may have been intentional, given the distress call had audio of Whitmore's speech.
    • The school-bus carrying Julius and the children arrives at the salt-flats near Area 51 just as David is implementing the trap to destroy the Harvester Queen's ship on that very spot.
  • Covered in Gunge: Fortunately the bus has windscreen wipers.
  • Cool Plane: The ESD's H-8 Global Defender hybrid Space Fighter. A mixture of earth and alien technology, they are best described as jet-shaped UFO. Their most notable feature is the anti-gravity drives, granting them VTOL capability along with greater maneuverability than any conventional planes. They are also equipped with plasma blasters capable of overpowering the Alien fighters' Deflector Shields, so they can take them on right on the go instead of having to disable the shields first.
  • Crowd Chant: How much of a rock star is former President Thomas Whitmore? Combine boyish good looks, his Rousing Speech, and then getting in a plane to fly a mission against the aliens in the first movie. Twenty years later, even badly debilitated and with a Beard of Sorrow, all he has to do is show up at the World Independence celebration to derail it completely. The quietly respectful crowd turns instantly into a Fan Mob, and begins chanting his name in a thunderous roar.
    Crowd of Thousands: Whitmore! Whitmore! Whitmore! WHITMORE!
  • Crush Filter: A mild one. The first time Charlie Miller lays eyes on Rain Lao, she is simply removing her helmet, but her hair is flowing down her back from the Hot Wind in an airlocked hangar.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The aliens do this once again, destroying any space defense station in their way as they head for Earth, causing untold amounts of damage just entering the atmosphere, and driving off Earth's first attack with relative ease, including trapping them and their bombers inside the ship, then disabling most of them with an EMP wave while blocking the blast from the bombs before they can be triggered remotely.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: While the attempted assault on the alien mothership ends in failure, it's nowhere near the disaster that it was in the original movie, as now Earth can fight the aliens on more-or-less even terms. That said, there aren't nearly enough human ships to deal with the swarm of alien craft coming at them.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Sphere spacecraft has a single glowing slit, adding to its ominous appearance.
  • Darker and Edgier: This time the devastation is even more insane (including a huge chunk of the moon, all of the devastation from the Mothership entering the atmosphere and crashing into the ocean, and the entirety of Kuala Lumpur ripped off and dropped on top of London), more heroes die and there is the overall feeling of despair that comes from humanity still having insufficient firepower, even after so many years trying to prepare for this second round.
  • Decapitated Army: When the Harvester Queen is killed, the aliens immediately pack it in and leave Earth due to their Hive Mind.
  • Decapitation Strike: While the president is at NORAD, the aliens invade and kill everyone. With the line of succession all but destroyed, General Adams is sworn in as the new president.
  • Defiant to the End: When confronted with an alien death squad President Lanford doesn't flinch for an instant and throws defiance in their face right before dying:
    Lanford: There will be no peace!
  • The Dreaded: As leader of the interstellar resistance, the Sphere is this to the Harvesters.
    • The Harvesters and their empress are this to the people of Earth, naturally.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Jake, Dylan, Rain and Patricia, the four main pilots of the movie were once all members of the elite Legacy Squadron, although by now only Dylan and Rain remain there. When the Squadron arrives at the Moon base, the entire staff goes into what can be best described as fangirls' frenzy.
    • Patricia and Dylan's fame is augmented by the fact that their fathers were the heroes of the original fight, and they have chosen to defend earth.
  • Enemy Mine: When the humans discover that the Sphere is an enemy of the Harvesters, they immediately view it as a potential ally.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: After the War of 1996, humanity has reverse engineered alien technology en masse to enhance their own defense capability in spacecraft, military aircraft, point defense turrets and personal armament. All There in the Manual states that for this Alternate History advances like touchscreen phones, bladeless fans and drones were also the result of studying alien tech, compared to the natural advances in real life 2016.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film is less clear about the timeline compared to the last film, as it doesn't have subtitles indicating the days. We do know it ends on the Fourth of July. When the mothership touches down it also blocks out the sun, making some sequences uncertain to be day or night. Best that can be said is a minimum of two days and upwards of four.
  • Exty Years from Now: The aliens attack Earth for the second times exactly 20 years after their first assault, almost to the day.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: President Elizabeth Lanford has one when the aliens break into Cheyenne Mountain, where most of the US government has taken shelter through the above "There will be no peace" callback from the first movie.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Not really "fantastic", but rather than nuclear weapons humanity's most destructive weapon is now cold fusion bombs.
  • Fictional Holiday: Living up to Whitmore's Rousing Speech from the first film, the Fourth of July is now being celebrated as Earth's Independence Day. In the second trailer, we see fighter jets performing maneuvers over the moon while waving the flags of various nations.
  • Forever War: The aliens are revealed to be engaged in an intergalactic conflict waged across the universe for millennia. Earth joins the alliance against them at the end of the movie.
  • Foreshadowing: "You have to take them from behind." That's how they finally shoot down the Harvester Queen.
  • Frontline General: As soon as she detects the presence of the Sphere on Earth the Harvester Queen personally leads the assault to capture or destroy it.
    • Just like in the first film, (former) President Whitmore joins the (not-quite-final) assault on the aliens.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: Any of the humans who have psychic exposure to the alien hivemind. When the hive is all worked up about something, they suffer debilitating episodes and clutch at their heads in pain.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Harvester Empress, who is the true mastermind behind invasions and the one who manipulates the Harvester Queens.
  • Happy Ending Override: A mixed version: The ending of the first film made it appear that Earth had defeated all of the alien race. The sequel reveals that we only took out the first wave, and the remainder of the species got the first wave's distress signal, and have prepared their next attack. And even this movie doesn't truly have a happy ending: Earth may have killed off another queen, but her ship is recalled by other Harvester Queens. However, humanity did get to enjoy an unprecedented twenty years of worldwide peace and unity after the events of the original film. And humanity may be joining a galactic resistance movement against the Harvesters.
  • Hero of Another Story: Dikembe and his guerilla fighters spent a decade fighting aliens that crashed in the Congo following the main war. In the process, they even learned parts of their language and how to kill aliens in full armor with machetes. This might have made for a cool sequel movie in itself.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Whitmore blows himself up in a suicide attack against the Harvester Queen's transport shuttle. Unfortunately, it doesn't succeed in taking her out, but does destroy her ship and force her into the open where she can be killed.
  • He's Dead, Jim: A twenty year subversion! In the first movie, after the alien used him as a mouthpiece and Major Marshall did the "taking the pulse with fingers on the neck"...Okun lives! He was in a coma the whole time.
  • History Repeats: The War of 1996 website shows that Hiroshima was targeted during the aliens' fourth wave. Fortunately, the ship was intercepted before it was destroyed again.
  • Hollywood Nerd:
    • Charlie is the brainy type with no social skills, sidekick to the hunky jock that is Jake.
    • Floyd is the annoying nebbish who wants to help but gets in the way, until he levels up as an Action Survivor.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Harvester Queen, who is the Keystone to the whole alien invasion decides to personally retrieve the Sphere rather than delegate it to someone else. Once her ship is destroyed she insist on trying to retrieve the Sphere despite the immense danger it places her in and her failing armor and weapons. The whole invasion is only thwarted because she chose to leave the safety of her main ship.
  • Hope Spot: A couple.
    • We see Jasmine escaping from a crumbling building with a patient and her baby and Dylan requests evac support. Unfortunately, they arrive too late and Dylan watches helplessly as she falls to her death, though the new mother and her baby are saved.
    • In the Final Battle, Whitmore manages to storm the mothership and try to take out the Harvester Queen, complete with the immortal one-liner, "On behalf of the people of Earth, Happy Fourth of July." While Whitmore's Heroic Sacrifice destroys the mothership, it turns out the Queen has a shield as well and she starts pursuing Levinson's bus and approaches Area 51.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: While the first film seemed to be a coincidence, here the aliens appear to deliberately time their attack for July 4.
  • Human Notepad: Dikembe has one arm tattooed with tally marks for all the invading aliens he has killed. There are at least scores of marks on his arm. Floyd remarks on this before deciding the safest place he can be is right next to Dikembe.
  • Humans Are Special: The humans are the only species ever known to have successfully killed a Harvester Queen. The Sphere is so impressed that it asks Humanity to become the leader of the Resistance against the aliens.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Sphere asks humanity to destroy it, fearing that the Harvester Queen will pry the information it needs to locate and eliminate the interstellar resistance.
  • Infant Immortality: Lampshaded by David Levinson. When the alien queen escapes her crashed ship and immediately targets the kids on the school bus that his father was taking care of, one of the kids goes back to rescue the family dog. David asks, "Are we really gonna wait for the dog?"
  • Ignored Expert: When the Sphere's ship appear above the moonbase, David recommends that they hold their fire as this unknown ship is clearly of a different design and technology than the one they know, but is overruled by the world leaders, with the US president casting the tie-breaking vote. All the more egregious because David is the man in charge of the Earth Space Defense.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum:
    • In addition to acquiring shields and energy weapons, studying the alien technology has granted humanity touchscreen smartphones, bladeless fans, and aerial drones.
    • Dr. Okun chums up with the entity in the Sphere and asks all sorts of questions, which are answered in great detail judging by his enthusiasm and some of the things he says to David.
  • Internal Homage:
    • One shot of the trailer shows a swarm of alien flyers attacking a military base, just like in the original movie, only this time, the humans are firing back.
    • When the alien Harvester ship lands on Earth, one of its massive struts crushes much of Washington D.C. The one major building that's not destroyed by the alien ship? The White House.
    • President Whitmore intentionally locks himself in with one of the alien prisoners, like in the "release me" scene, because he recalls they can speak through humans while throttling them.
    • In the climax, President Whitmore gears up in his pilot suit one last time and volunteers to fly a transport craft carrying fusion bombs into the Alien Queen's ship through its main hatch underneath and detonate, just like how Russell Casse did two decades earlier.
    • A character tries punching an alien once in the movie. As this alien is a ground troop in a heavily armored suit, not a pilot that had just been through a crash, it's a No-Sell.
    • Foolishly waiting for the dog.
    • Once again David is estranged from his Love Interest because he resents her career getting in the way.
    • Jake and Dylan's animosity parallels the animosity between David Levinson and Tom Whitmore in the first movie, right down to one of them punching the other in the face.
    • The death of his mother Jasmine is for Dylan what the death of Jimmy Wilder was for Steve in the first movie.
    • President Lanford's badass one-liner is a reference to President Whitmore's gentler approach in the first movie.
      President Thomas J. Whitmore: Can there be a peace?
      President Lanford: There will be no peace!
    • David Levinson is still terrified of high speed flight and space travel.
    • The aliens once again attack Cheyenne Mountain and take out the upper echelons of the U.S. government. Except this time they get the President too.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The harvester mothership has a cloaking device which allows it to reach the Moon before mankind even realizes it's there, giving them virtually no time to prepare and allowing the mothership to land with virtually no opposition.
  • Is That What They Are Calling It Now: Floyd notices how David and Catherine are snarking Like an Old Married Couple, so David explains they "bumped into each other" during a few conferences. Floyd mutters, "I'll bet."
  • Kaiju: The Alien Queen.
  • Keystone Army: The aliens are described as a collective mind, with the Hive Queen in charge. Logically, take them out and the army should crumble. As a precaution, the Harvester Queen wears their very best weapons and armor when she takes to the field in person.
  • La Résistance: It's revealed that there is a universal war being waged against the aliens by other good species that survived their previous planetary assaults. Earth joins them at the end.
  • Large and in Charge: The Harvester Queen is absolutely massive, towering many stories high (but not quite to Kaiju level). Even outside of her armor, she is larger than the others of her kind in theirs.
  • Last of His Kind: The Sphere is the last survivor of its species, after they engaged the bad aliens in an intergalactic war.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • "They like to get the landmarks."
    • "The design looks pretty similar... oh, new interface!"
  • Mad Science: Dr. Okun borders on it while trying to open the pod that Levinson brought back from the crater.
    Floyd: Is that the mega laser?
    Okun: [gleefully] That's the Okun laser!note 
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Why Dr. Okun is the one to destroy The Sphere's container instead of some operator.
  • Men Don't Cry: Subverted. Floyd cries in terror as the invasion begins.
  • Moment Killer: David is about to have his Big Damn Kiss with Catherine, when Julius decides to interrupt.
  • Monumental Battle: A literal interpretation, as landmarks are being used to destroy other landmarks.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • Outright lampshaded when David Levinson watches Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers getting dropped on top of London's Tower Bridge.
      David: They like to get the landmarks.
    • The aliens even go for celestial landmarks: the Mothership dislodges portions of Saturn's rings and scrapes the Moon's surface on its way to Earth.
    • Averted (or Inverted) with the Eiffel Tower, which is the only thing in Paris still standing.
  • Monumental Damage Resistance:
    • The White House just manages to survive being crushed by the alien mothership. It lands close enough to tip over the flag on top.
    • The Eiffel Tower survives, which is impressive considering the mothership leveled Paris on the way down.
  • More Dakka: Earth's planetary defenses are based on this principle, with dozens of Wave Motion Guns mounted in orbital platforms around the planet. It is still not enough and the aliens destroy them with ease.
  • Multinational Team: There's more emphasis on the international nature of the struggle this time with Congolese guerrilla fighters, a Chinese-run Moonbase, Russian sailors, and a French exolinguist.
  • Mundane Utility: Dovetailing with E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi, one of the advancements of alien tech is rotorless helicopters.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The US Secretary of Defense is a (downplayed) Jerkass, just like 20 years ago.
    • The aliens are vulnerable from the rear. As Russel Casse would say, "Up yours!"
    • The White House escapes destruction, despite this being a classic scene of the first movie.
  • Nations of the World Montage: General Adams gives a Rousing Speech on the radio and people all over the world (Tibetan monks, for example) are listening.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The film was released on June 23, 2016. It takes place 11 days later on July 4, 2016... but in an alternate universe where Earth evolved with alien technology.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • When the Sphere's ship comes out a wormhole right on top of the ESD's base on the Moon the leaders of the planet decide to shoot it out of the sky. This nearly ends up dooming mankind to annihilation.
    • On the other hand, if the Sphere hadn't been shot out of the sky, the aliens would've succeeded in harvesting Earth's core, and everyone and everything not evacuated by the Sphere would've perished. Also, the Harvester arrived soon after the Sphere did, so the Aliens would have destroyed Earth and learned the Resistance's location.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The movie attempts to avert this, perhaps as a way to avoid criticisms of the first movie, but still plays it straight to some degree. The alien ships leave on their own after the Alien Queen is killed and everyone is all smiles, but several coastal cities are destroyed, and there is a giant hole in the planet that almost reaches the Earth's core. The hole would be sealed by the huge pressure on the ocean floor and the magma product from the alien beam. While it would certainly cause some earthquakes or unknown geological issues, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
    • The Harvester super mothership collided with and scrapped chunks of the Moon's surface. Given its sheer size, that should cause detrimental effects on the Moon's orbit or rotation.
    • Also of mention is the fact that if the ship was large enough to produce a gravitational field, the mass alone should have thrown Earth out of it's orbit. We are talking about a ship that spans the Atlantic Ocean here!
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Once the Queen's shields are gone, Jake and Dylan waste no time in shooting the alien to oblivion.
  • No Name Given: Despite its importance, the name of the entity in The Sphere is never mentioned on screen. The credits only list it as Voice of the Sphere.
    • The evil tentacled race is not given a name by humanity, though they're referred to as "Harvesters" by the Sphere.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Of the pilots given focus on the film — Dylan, Jake, Patricia and Tom — Dylan is only one of them that has been consistently flying military fighters without interruption. Jake's been flying space tugs, while Patricia and Tom haven't been flying at all. Nevertheless, all of them do just fine. Patricia has at least flown the fighters before, while Tom's last ride was presumably in a normal fighter jet, not the space tug he takes up.
  • Oblivious Astronomers: Given a justification in this film (and perhaps retroactively for the first) in that the massive mothership is shown to have some kind of cloaking device. Likely the smaller one from the first film had something similar.
  • Odd Couple: Dikembe Umbutu, an African badass fighter, fights beside Floyd Rosenberg, a nerdy federal controller.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Lanford and the cabinet get one when the ESD's High Impact Orbiting Units, their key line of defense against the aliens, are taken out in a span of seconds.
    • Doctor Okun has one of these when, in Area 51, the many alien prisoners being held there start screaming, but it turns out...
      Okun: They're not screaming. They're celebrating.
    • David's face screams this trope during an interrogation of a captive alien using President Whitmore to communicate.
      Alien/Whitmore: She has arrived!
      David: Who's she?
  • Planet Spaceship:
    • The original mothership was stated to be 1/4 the size of the moon, and the city destroyers about 15 km wide. The new alien mothership is even larger, according to The Other Wiki having a size of 3,000 miles, and when it touches down in the Atlantic Ocean the President asks "What part?" the reply was "All of it." It's large enough to house its own ecosystem.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Floyd Rosenberg, the nerdy federal controller immersed in a war against aliens. Dr. Okun, the Absent-Minded Professor, who forgets that he has no pants on.
  • Point Defenseless:
    • Averted. The harvester mothership has point defenses so effective that the human counterattack is hopelessly outmatched, forcing them to attack from another angle.
    • The various point defense systems at Area 51 are also fairly effective, though they're seriously outgunned and do eventually fail.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Sphere doesn't do anything to alert the humans that it is not a threat. The humans it knows are expecting an alien invasion and whose language it claims to have instantly memorized. The Sphere later states that it didn't know human language until one touched it.
  • POW Camp: There are alien prisoners still being held at Area 51. Historical In-Joke, indeed.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: A worthy follow-up to the first movie is seen with: "On behalf of the people of Earth, happy Fourth of July." Whitmore to the Harvester Queen before he blows himself up to take her down. Russell Case's example in the first is worthily followed!
    • Just before the Queen is killed, Dylan shouts, "Get ready for a close encounter, bitch!"
  • Product Placement: Jake and Patricia use QQ, a Chinese IM service, to chat while he's on the moon.
  • Put on a Bus: Constance Spano, Major Mitchell and the Casse children are all suspiciously absent from casting materials and marketing, despite having a fair amount of screen time in the original movie. Although it was later revealed in a tie-in novel that Constance died in a car crash, Mitchell and the Casse children are never mentioned in the film.
  • Race Against the Clock: Humanity has to destroy the Harvester Queen before the aliens' laser drill reaches Earth's core and harvests it, effectively ending all life on Earth in about six hours.
  • Rank Up:
    • David Levinson has been the commander-in-chief of the Earth Space Defense initiative for the last twenty years, overseeing efforts to reverse-engineer the aliens' technology in order to prepare for the next attack. Quite a step up from his previous gig, "TV Repairman" note .
    • Likewise, Jasmine has gone from being a stripper to a hospital administrator.
  • Ray Gun: Earth's infantrymen now use pretty nifty blaster rifles, evidently salvaged from the alien city ships.
  • Recycled Premise: An alien race coming back to a planet to suck up its core to power its own Planet Eater sized space ship with a Keystone Army revolving around a super-powered being who controls an innumerable amount of drones and is out for revenge? This is the entire plot of the sixth Dragon Ball Z movie Clash!! The Power of 10 Billion Warriors, or the Return of Cooler if you like. Hell the image of the alien mother ship's landing from space is almost exactly the same as the Big Ghetti Star's landing on New Namek.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted to a monumental degree. Studying the technology of the crashed ships in the first film made a very advanced 2016 Earth that has casual space travel, a moon base, outposts on Saturn, anti-gravity vehicles, energy weapons and more. While the aliens are still malevolent enough to shrug off or neutralize nearly all their countermeasures, the fight still feels a lot more even on the outset than in the first film.
  • The Remnant:
    • According to the War of 1996 timeline, alien survivors from a ship that crashed in the African Congo during the War of 1996 have been fighting a guerrilla war with human soldiers for almost a decade after the main war concluded. The UN repeatedly offered assistance but were turned down.
    • The Sphere has gathered the remnants of many races whose worlds have been destroyed by the aliens, in order to train and equip them to continue the fight.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Subverted. Dr. Okun, former President Whitmore and any of the humans who have been mind touched by the aliens are plagued with mental images from them. Dr. Okun, after waking from his coma, takes a magic marker to his hospital room and writes out the aliens' language all over his walls. He has no memory of actually doing so.
  • Rousing Speech: Wouldn't be an Independence Day movie without one. Former President Whitmore gives one to the base personnel prior the final battle just like twenty years ago. General Adams also delivers one during the Nations of the World montage.
  • Rule of Three:
    • When we get to see a photo of the trio: Dylan, Patricia, and Jake, and then hear that all three are amazing pilots, the film dutifully gives each of them a scene to show off their stuff.
    • It also takes three instances for Whitmore to recover. He becomes clear minded enough to trick his daughter and Secret Service attache. He leaves behnd his cane as he gives another Rousing Speech, and he shaves the Beard of Sorrow to indicate he's ready to get behind the stick again.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Jasmine Hiller dies a particularly pointless death, specifically to give a main character someone to grieve over.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: General Adams comes up with a plan to save the day, but it's a suicide mission. Both father and daughter Whitmore volunteer for it and argue about which of them gets to go. Tom fakes out his daughter by enlisting his Secret Service guy.
  • Settling the Frontier: Space colonies have been established on the Moon, Mars, and Rhea with the reverse-engineered alien technology.
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • The Harvester Mothership in this movie is 10 times larger than the previous one and far more heavily armed, with what also appears to be cloaking technology. It also inflicts continent wide destruction merely by landing. Also, the aliens themselves in this one appear to be much bigger and nastier than the Aliens in the last film and of course, there's also the Harvester Queen, who's gigantic!
    • This time around its not just the fate of Earth and Humanity that hangs in the balance. If the Harvester Queen gets her hands on the Sphere she will learn the location of the sanctuary planet where their enemies are preparing their counter-strike. If the heroes fail, the entire universe will be doomed.
    • The blatant Sequel Hook ending all but states that Humanity's next step is to invade the Harvesters' home planet/motherships.
  • Sequel Hook: After killing the Harvester Queen, the Sphere essentially turns to the camera and says "Gee, that was fun, do you guys want to join my army of Resistance aliens and take the fight to those guys in the sequel?" to which the humans (and presumably the audience are meant to say) "YEAH!". It honestly would not have been out of place for the words "To Be Continued" to have popped up on the screen right then and there.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: There is a memorial with a list of names to those who sacrificed their lives during the previous war 20 years at Washington. One of them being Russel Casse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The aliens' plan to drill into Earth's core and suck it out for energy seems inspired by The Dalek Invasion of Earth or Project Vulcan. Hell, MEGATRON tried doing this more than once during Generation One!
    • Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Every human mind touched by the aliens' hivemind drew the same images over and over, much as the people in CE3K were compelled to draw/sculpt otherwise reproduce the Devil's Peak mountain after encountering the aliens.
    • For that matter, the entire residual link and talk about harvested races make the aliens appear very Borglike.
    • Defeating an Alien Invasion by killing an alien queen is suspiciously similar to Ender's Game.
    • The Queen nearly toppling over on the bus as she dies is very similar to a scene from another one of Emmerich's films, specifically Godzilla.
    • The alien species suddenly having a queen in the sequel, who is physically much bigger than the ordinary alien specimen, is straight out of Aliens.
  • Sidekick: Charlie is Jake's friend and helper.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Conflict between Dylan and Jake has some undertones of this, especially considering that the two members of Legacy Squadron that we know of are relatives of important officials of last war's heroes. As Charlie tells Jake:
    Look, you could never lead the Legacy Squadron. This guy's royalty, we're just some orphans.
  • Space Plane: Humanity has reverse-engineered the aliens' technology to produce ships capable of flying from Earth to the Moon under their own power.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Jasmine and Whitmore. They are Killed Off for Real either as a Sacrificial Lion or Heroic Sacrifice, albeit with the latter's death not happening until the film's climax. Before the events of the movie, Steven Hiller was killed in a training accident, and a supplementary novel states that Constance had died in an accident. Subverted with Julius, who initially appears to die in the tidal wave caused by the mothership's landing, but later turns up alive and well.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The alien survivors managed to send a distress call, and now their reinforcements have come. As David said, the aliens' new mothership is much larger than the last one. And has bigger weapons.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Jake suffers from this.
    Jake: The last words I ever said to my parents were "...I hate you."
  • Tagline: "We had twenty years to prepare. So did they."
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Get ready for a close encounter, bitch!"
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The look on David's face when he sees that Kuala Lumpur is being literally dropped on London.
    "What goes up, must come... down."
  • The Tokyo Fireball: All of the world's cities that were destroyed in the previous attack were repaired to their original states within twenty years — at least, London and Washington DC and the Eiffel Tower in Paris were. Las Vegas, however, is still left in ruins as a memorial. We get a glimpse of the rebuilt US Capitol, and there is a significant difference in aesthetics. The dome is fatter and squatter, and the whole building has a different design. The Washington Monument now serves as a massive epitaph for those lost in the War of 1996, with each stone inscribed with a name, including Russell Casse. Skyscrapers can be seen behind the Capitol, indicating New Washington abandoned the old city's architecture laws when rebuilding the city.
  • Trampled Underfoot: In the deleted scenes, President Lanford is crushed underfoot by the Queen when she proves no longer useful.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • The first film gave us markers to indicate that the alien invasion and Earth's attempt to fight back took place over a series of days leading up to July 4. In the new film, it's mid-afternoon in July Eastern time when the Harvester ship entered the atmosphere after making short work of the moon defense base and the ring of satellite defenses. It stayed more or less daytime for the duration of the entire film. Which means either the Aliens stopped and chilled out and slept along with the humans, or this entire film took place before sundown on the west coast.
    • Julius was out to sea and his boat was not built for speed. But from the time they rescued him in Texasnote  to the time they got the school bus to the Western deserts (filmed at Utah's Salt Flats, but it's supposed to be near Area 51, in Nevada), we never saw anyone sleep or the sky go dark for night. Even if they're driving along with the Sun to the west it's just too long a trip, near 1400 miles.
  • Trying Not to Cry: Dylan, while addressing the planet in his Rousing Speech, given almost immediately after he had to watch his mother die during the destruction of Washington.
  • United Nations Is a Superpower: Since the attack, it appears that the UN has become the governing body and defense force of mankind.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between David and Catherine. David's father stops it from being resolved on screen.
  • Urine Trouble: This exchange on the way back from the crater:
    David: That was ...something.
    Jake: Yeah it was...pee yourself?
    David: ... Yeah...
    Jake: [grinning] Me too.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Whoever the 'she' who has arrived is.
  • Villain Override: A variant. When the Alien Queen's shields and blaster are shot down, the Alien Queen uses her telepathy to assume manual control of all the alien ships to protect her while she goes after The Sphere. This includes the two hijacked fighters that the heroes are in. Luckily, she mainly uses them as a shield.
  • Walking Spoiler: Brent Spiner. The way it was left in the first film, most viewers believed he had died after his ordeal. But he shows up in the trailers, so it's obvious he is not as dead as he appeared.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The city-destroying beams from the first film have been reverse-engineered into somewhat weaker but still impressive laser weapons. The new alien mothership has similar weapons that fire faster and can hit multiple targets at once.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The first alien spacecraft that comes to the Moon base does so in sincere peace. Pity we shot it down (though granted it was because no one wanted to take a chance that it might be hostile). The main computer survived though, and it bears no ill-will while promising to aid humanity to take the fight to the aliens.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The reason that Morrison is on the moon in the first place is because he was Reassigned to Antarctica due to almost killing Dylan Hiller in training, despite being one of their best pilots.
  • Whammy Bid: The salvage crew, realizing that the world is ending, decide to go out drinking. Then a call comes in from the government asking them to keep an eye on the Alien's drilling operations. The leader sarcastically says he'll do it for 100 million dollars (the amount of salvage they lost due to the alien attack). The answer was, "Deal", sends the entire crew scrambling to work right out of their drunken stupor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Constance Spano is not even mentioned in the film. The novelizations state that she died.
    • There are other pilots who survived the EMP blast disabling their ships inside the mothership during the first counterattack along with the main characters, and are shown to have used alien crafts to successfully escape. However, only Jake, Dylan, Charlie and Rain are seen participating in the final battle to kill the alien queen.
  • The Worf Barrage: The city-destroying Wave Motion Guns from the first movie were reverse-engineered and adapted to lunar and orbital defenses. The one on the Moon barely makes a dent on the new bigger alien mothership (likely because the alien's technology included a power source strong enough to use said weapons, whereas human technology is still behind in said area, even with some reverse-engineered alien technology) while the orbital batteries are destroyed by the mothership's canons before they even get a chance to fire. A similar cannon at Area 51 does manage to swat a few Attackers while trying (and failing) to penetrate the shields of the mothership.
  • You Are in Command Now: General Adams finds himself promoted to President of the United States when the entire line of succession is killed in the Presidential bunker. Considering that military officers aren't part of the Real Life line of Presidential succession, this either means that they changed it or literally everyone senior to him is dead.

"That is definitely...bigger than the last one."
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