Sequels, am I right? I should have known better going in.
I went into COVID Vaccine 2 trying to dismiss all of the hype surrounding it, but easier said than done for the buzzworthiest release in years. I’d heard the positive chatter, “The most anticipated arrival of 2021,” but I also needed to ignore all of the pre-release criticism, questioning the rollout strategy. Perhaps it was just too much to separate this extensive media blitz, from the art itself. Or perhaps I put too much faith in Director Anthony Fauci, the hottest late bloomer since Bong Joon-ho.
It left me cold, and feeling blasé, with none of the chills that the original gave me. Like many sequels that came before, it felt lab-created and derivative of the first.
If I had closed my eyes, which I found myself doing at some cringey moments, I am not sure I could have told you the difference between the two. It was so sterile and rushed that Adam Sandler and Netflix would have been embarrassed by the production.
And don’t get me started on how frenetic the pacing was. There was brief, unsustained tension, and a predictable third act. I was worried about whether it would have any painful moments, but found little in it that moved me. When it was over, it felt like something inside me had died.
Was it made by robots? Others around me seemed nonplussed as well, fidgeting with their phones through most of the action. At least the run time was short. In the lobby on the way out, everyone seemed relieved it was over.
Maybe it’s possible that in a few days, COVID Vaccine 2 will settle and I’ll feel differently about it, the way some of the best films have done. Last year’s Oscar winner, Parasite, certainly grew on me as the days passed.
I can’t shake the notion that Pfizer greenlit COVID Vaccine 2 hastily, simply to beat the upcoming Moderna Labs production to market, avoiding an awkward showdown, like when those two Fyre Festival documentaries came out at the same time.
It would be easy for anyone to look at the massive budget and the opening weekend returns, and consider COVID Vaccine 2 to be a commercial failure. But for those wondering if it is worth going for a screening, I think it depends on your yearning and tolerance for modern science. If you got through COVID Vaccine 1, it’s worth checking out COVID Vaccine 2, at least for the resolution. And so we can finally all go back to the movies.