I’m working 50–60 hour weeks these days in my teaching, grading, Zoom sessioning, faculty meeting attendance, and more. I have very little time for movies.

So I am being very selective about what I take the time to watch. Since I wasn’t very fond of A Quiet Place — I never reviewed it, so here are my first-impression notes at Letterboxd — I’m not feeling motivated to go see A Quiet Place Part II.

Guns and aliens and stuff we’ve seen before — it must be summertime at the movies. YMMV. [Image from the Paramount Pictures trailer for A Quiet Place Part II.]
Making me second-guess myself, here’s my favorite film critic: Steven Greydanus. At The National Catholic Register, he intrigues me first by telling me what I like to hear about a suspenseful thriller:

Krasinski’s shrewd less-is-more approach to suspense and tension, and his penchant for crafting gripping set pieces and dreadful dilemmas around well-established rules, have, if anything, grown since the first film.

If there’s no one moment at once quite so agonizing and utterly simple as that indelible sequence in the first film with the nail, Part II makes appallingly effective use of something much softer. In one white-knuckle sequence after another, Krasinski shows that he understands that while the CGI beasties may drive the horror, what makes it tangible is what is mundane and concrete.

He adds, however, that it “winds up doing not quite as much with rather more….”

Not quite as much? I was dissatisfied with the first one for doing, well… not much.

Checking the account of Josh Matthews — a friend from The Glen Workshop and a reviewer I follow on Letterboxd — I find him confirming the things I feared I would find in the film:

It does not advance anything about the characters or world from Quiet Place 1. Everything from the original movie is repeated several times: more babies in peril; more metal mangling feet; more monsters who conveniently are as slow or as fast as the film needs them to be.

There is a big fat Zero character development. When I got home from this, my wife asked me if the Emily Blount [sic] character got married. Her point being, did she change, grow, develop, find new relationships, etc.?

And I had to respond, no, she pretty much did exactly the same thing as the first movie.

And he concludes that you might be entertained, but only if “you turn your brain off” for the duration.

Ugh.

Josh Larsen‘s opening line at Larsen on Film does not encourage me either:

If A Quiet Place was, in part, an ode to farm-to-table masculinity, A Quiet Place Part II doubles down on that ethos. The movie is mostly about its homegrown characters learning to “man up.”

He eventually concludes:

On the surface, A Quiet Place Part II is another expertly crafted and well-acted monster movie, much like its predecessor. … I only wish A Quiet Place Part II was more interested in interrogating its take on masculinity.

If there’s anything I’m no longer interested in spending my moviegoing time on, it’s a version of traditional “man-up” masculinity that goes unexamined. Day by day, it becomes clearer that toxic masculinity is one of the root causes of so many things threatening to kill off the good that remains in the world.

Step softly and carry a big gun — a perfect allegory for how we got through COVID, amirite? [Image from the Paramount Pictures trailer for A Quiet Place Part II.]
Another favorite critic of mine via Letterboxd — Michael Casey — says this in Boulder Weekly:

Part II is standard sequel stuff.

After his detailed description of an unremarkable film, he describes how his complaints “evaporated the second my gaze drifted up and saw a band of light beaming over the audience and onto a screen 10 times the size of my TV.” Ah, so… the joy of returning to theaters was enough for him, and also for the audience: “A few people applauded when the movie was over, and the rest seemed pleased. They were happy to be back.”

That’s not good enough for me. I’ve been going to theaters for several weeks now. If I’m going to invest time in movies, I want to see movies that remind me of why I love cinema. And while I love the way films bring people together, it’s about more than being in a big, crowded room.

You’re invited to try to change my mind… or to tell me I’m making the best decision by waiting around for something better.

I’ll share any comments I receive that I find useful… one way or the other. (That means they need to be civil and detailed.)

 

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