Aliens ★★★★★

Alright... I take back everything bad I’ve ever said about sequels. Aliens is a claustrophobic, dark, and exciting masterpiece. 

This may eventually surpass the first for me, merely because of Ripley’s character arc. In Aliens, we see a depth to her that was not as evident in the first film. She is one of the most positive female protagonists in existence, taking on the final girl archetype while bringing exponentially more power and meaning to the role. (Each time she tells someone off, I fall in love with her more.) She’s ferociously independent, quick witted, and nurturing. However, my favorite thing about Aliens is Ripley’s displayed resilience. We see her learn to live with her residual anxieties and post-traumatic stress. Although she is not “cured”, she serves as an example of how one can still be a complete and capable person despite living with a mental health issue. 

The tension throughout this film is also top notch. The initial hour waiting for the inevitable arrival of a xenomorph is unbearably suspenseful. The continued use of silent scenes and shadows carries over some of the most impactful practices from the predecessor. I love the parental face-off in the finale and the amount of disgusting goo. I’m kicking myself for not watching this sooner.

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