First Hit: Could not buy into the story let alone the characters.
Leaving well enough alone is appropriate more often than not. The first film was far more interesting and entertaining.
Here we have a rehash of the same old story embellished with stale lines of bravery being spit out left and right. Jeff Goldblum (as David Levinson) is a key character and has become the headmaster of tongue in cheek dialogue. then there is the rebellious hero, Liam Hemsworth (as a risk taking reckless pilot named Jake Morrison), who makes good on his bad-boy image.
We also have the previous film's hero, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) who has to figure out how to forgive Jake so they can work together again. The basic story is that the alien invaders, who were defeated by earthlings years ago, didn’t like it so they came back to suck earth’s molten core thereby destroying it.
Because their weapons are far superior to ours we stand no chance. However, our willingness to fight and will to survive, gives us a way to figure out how to defend our planet. This is an old boring story and, as I said earlier, the producers needed to leave well enough alone and not destroy and create distaste about the brand.
I will not comment on individual performances – it isn’t worth the time. Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods wrote a very tired, uninteresting, and a retread of a story. Roland Emmerich directed this the best he could – it just was more about creating big scenes of bravery and little about people.
Overall: This film was clearly done to capitalize on the first film and the Fourth of July date the USA celebrates their independence.