Maybe I’m a sucker for American exceptionalism, but the MVP here is Bill Pullman’s speech. The movie is filled with great moments, both heroic and hilarious, but I remember being energized by his speech as a child, being moved by his speech as a teenager, and now as an adult, being moved to the point of sucking tears back into my eyes when I hear it. Up until that speech, you’re thinking “Okay, the odds are tough, but we’re going to probably, maybe, okay, we’re going to lose. They’re aliens, they flew here, they killed Harry Connick, Jr., we can’t even shoot them. We’re done, Coke can or not.” But then President Awesome gives his speech, and I’m looking for the closest fighter jet so I can go out there and save the world too. Not literally, of course.
Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum are of course excellent. And Jeff Goldblum’s dad rocks the Casbah as well. But without Bill Pullman’s speech, it’s a suicide mission wrapped in a bloodbath with an extinction-candy coating.