The AMC Century City looks like a grand palazzo as you approach the main entrance. And then you buy your ticket and step on the escalator, and you can’t help but feel the “thank God the nightmare is nearly over” vibes. Fun, relaxed, festive. Glad to be here.

The AMC is well-maintained and clean-smelling, but you can sense the initial sparkle sinking into the wall-to-wall carpet as you contemplate what this place is really about — the snorting of junk food and junk movies.

For this a House of Proles — not a church of cinema worship but a folksy, rowdy, laid-back sporting atmosphere…a collection of mob-comfort stadiums.

Welcome to the thundering Century Colisseum Megalopolis, where everyone — families, couples, loners — has come to see A Quiet Place, Part II. But the first order of business is being blasted into submission by the chest-pounding, ear-shattering trailers, each squarely aimed at the ADD sensibilities of gorillas and goons and the Chinese audience…whamWHAM!…WHAM!!

And then, at long last, John Krasinki’s decent enough sequel.

I tapped out a brief reaction last night: Yes, it’s a cut or two above. But I hated those moving headflap, crableg CG monsters and their idiotic screechy howls, and I really hated Emily Blunt and her kids walking barefoot over jagged stones, leaves, branches and so on. They can’t wear flip-flops or Vans? Cillian Murphy wears lace-up boots — can anyone explain why he didn’t get the barefoot memo? Ditto the briefly seen Djimon Hounsou‘and his kids…no bare feet.

But it all feels carefully pushed and over-acted and very much like a “sequel”, and is nothing to get too excited about.

In the view of Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, the theatres vs. stream-it-at-home debate “already has the overheated dimension of a culture war. To go or not to go? To believe in the primacy of the communal, cathartic big-screen experience or to see it as a stodgy, unhip relic?

“No one thought this way about the movie theater versus VHS or DVD; the industry wasted no time transforming those technologies into ancillary markets that helped keep movies afloat. But streaming has changed the chemistry. The two radically different ways of experiencing filmed dramatic entertainment (theater vs. home) will now be competing as never before, and in some ways it’s a battle of cachet. For the moment, the TV medium has won the cool contest.

“That’s why the Memorial Day box office returns felt not just like an indicator, but an early salvo of that war.”