It’s a very heartfelt and emotional thriller. And we definitely don’t get enough of those around. John Krasinsky and his team continue the family themes, but this time it focuses more on the children coming of age and not only learning to lookout for themselves but also others. One of them does it out of necessity, the other one does it for the greater good and to continue the legacy of their father. Emily Blunt once again brings her A-game, playing a mother determined to protect her children. She takes a small step back and allows Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe to appear a bit more. It is interesting that the characters are trusted with more responsibility in the story while the actors themselves are also trusted with bigger roles. Thankfully, they do not disappoint at all, and they seemed more than capable of taking those bigger roles and making justice to their now-bigger characters. Cillian Murphy is, unsurprisingly, excellent as well. Bringing to life a father figure that is almost the opposite of Lee (John Krasinski).
Like the first film, there are plenty of nerve-wrecking moments. This time around the story splits the characters to different locations, but thanks to the creativity from the filmmakers, the suspense set pieces in one location coincide with the ones from another location. This eventually sets them up so that the actions and outcome of one of them will have major consequences on the outcome of the other characters despite the different locations. And it is commendable that none of this feels forced. It all happens quite organically. The approach to the suspense has also changed here. While the action of the suspense set pieces has been lowered, the tension and suspense themselves have been incremented. This, almost weirdly, makes these sequences ‘slower’ but it also makes you more absorbed and gripped. I honestly teared up a couple of times out of the almost-unbearable sheer tension of those sequences.
Throughout all this the film is also somehow more emotional too. All the main characters grow while overcoming emotional pain. They also have to overcome fear, but interestingly, not from the creatures themselves, but from possible failure due to inadequacy or bad decisions. This just increments the stakes even higher. It is emotionally exhausting, but very rewarding and satisfying at the same time.
It is also commendable Krasinski and the other filmmakers seem to have decided to slowly open up the world, but more than anything still give priority to the characters and family themes. This essentially means having a story which once again feels more intimate and on a smaller scale with only a slightly bigger scope. This is definitely a risk since audiences might expect more action and a way bigger scope in the story, given expectations are pretty high due to the reception of the first film. Thankfully the filmmakers decided to keep things smaller instead of turning this into Independence Day. On the long run, this definitely seems like the wiser choice as it will not only help this sequel stand the test of time, but also (hopefully) allow a third film to happen, and maybe even a spinoff with a different set of characters.
As far as any drawbacks, I found myself surprised at how nit-picky I had to get to find any. There are maybe one or two dumb character decisions, but these happen in brief moments that do not really affect anything in the grand scheme of the story nor characters. If anything, you could argue the film ends a bit abruptly but when you think about it, it just leaves the world open for a third entry while providing a satisfying arc and finale to the current story and their characters. It beautifully mirrors the first’s ending, which I had not noticed until a second viewing.
This is almost a near-perfect sequel. The world of A Quite Place is expanded, the characters grow more, the suspense is incremented, it is more emotional, and overall just more layered and complex. The effect from the first film, of being able to hear a pin drop due to the almost deafening silence from the audience, might not feel as iconic this time around. That is due to the simple fact that this is the sequel, but the effect itself is still very effectively replicated (one of my friends dropped his bucket of popcorn during the movie and I almost felt second-hand embarrassment for him given how silent it was in there). If anything, I think the suspense is even more intense and gripping here. That is thanks to the fact it takes a more emotionally-wrenching approach instead of the slightly more action-oriented approach of the first one.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend making a trip to the cinema to watch this as soon as possible. I’d only suggest remembering the small scope of the first film and not expecting anything much bigger than that. At first glance this might be disappointing to some, but on a second viewing it becomes quite clear just how much better this approach works instead of trying to turn everything up to eleven like a lot of sequels do, sacrificing quality for cheap thrills. I’d also recommend watching this in Dolby Atmos (Dolby Cinema if possible) if you have a theater nearby equipped with it. The sound design is absolutely terrific.