London’s review published on Letterboxd:
While I can appreciate some of the film making aspects of Aliens, and I can see why people would enjoy it, the film unfortunately never clicked with me, and I had even more problems with this than I did with this first film. As a warning, I am sorry if you HATE ME now, I still love you.
One of the biggest issues with the film for me is that I think Newt is a absolutely terrible character with pretty much no redeeming aspect. This theme of Ripley finding a surrogate daughter because her daughter isn't around anymore is so painfully obvious, yet not incubated and nurtured enough to have any lasting effects on the themes of the film. I really don't think it adds to Ripley as a character, and because of this Newt just actively drags down every scene involving her. She isn't even a character, just a screaming plot convenience shrouded in the skin of a young child, invisibly pushing people to the end goal of the film.
With the other characters, I found most of them to be the same level of boring as the characters in the first film, but this time with the added dose of being openly obnoxious. The marines as a whole feel largely uniform in their personalities, with one small trait or quirk that isn't like the others. I don't need super fleshed out characters, but at least give me some interactions that aren't propelled by annoyance to make me care for the characters you want me to like so badly.
Bishop was a decent enough character, but the robot resentment they wrote into the script based on the events of the first film was so poorly handled that it would have better if it just wasn't there. A lot of the ideas and arcs in this film sound great on paper, like Ripley getting over her grievances with Androids after a traumatic experience, but the script penned by Walter Hill, James Cameron, and David Giler is too much of a shallow mess to execute these ideas well. The most bizarre thing about this is I think Walter Hill for the most part is an excellent writer, so I don't know what happened here.
I also just wasn't a fan of all the rehashes of the themes of the first film. The humans are bad angle was good in the first one. They really didn't need to just do it again exactly the same in this one. Most of the concepts in this movie are just executed much better in the first, and I only barely even like the first. Even Ripley herself feels watered down in this film, and the acting at some points is noticeably worse.
I also think making this an action movie wasn't a super good call. In my opinion, the Xenomorphs are not very scary, but it being completely shrouded in darkness for most of the first film is what made it work. With an army of them in this film, and them very easily dying to bullets, that mysterious danger is dissipated, and replaced with a pretty goofy looking enemy that runs on the walls and ceiling and bleeds acid. It still has interesting parts to the design, but that tone the first nails doesn't exist in this one, and it makes the film suffer all the more. *Slight Spoiler for a movie that is 34 years old* I also really did not like the Alien Queens design. The face area was decent but the rest of her body was very dumb in my opinion.
There are a few things I enjoyed about the film. The miniatures work is fantastic. I loved seeing them used for the special effects and they were very fun to watch. I also like some of the soundtrack, although it definitely isn't nearly as good as the first. The camerawork for a few scenes is really good as well. And I enjoyed most of the set design, even though I would also argue it is a huge step down from the first.
Aliens just wasn't for me mostly. Some good parts, but overall I thought it was not good. Interested to see what I think of the other films however, as my opinion has been so drastically different from the vast majority of people.