I just watched Aliens (1986).
Some think it is, like often, inferior to the first one, Alien. But I thought it was actually a good movie (I hadn't seen it since the eighties). Expectations might lead one astray, though, because they are very different movies. Alien was an avant-garde SF Horror movie. Abstract and slow. The second one was a thriller, action SF movie. And it pretty much had to be, because unlike the first one, the monster was now known, there was no way to milk the unknownness-terror and slow reveal like there was in Alien.
Sigourney did an excellent job, as always. And so did Carrie Henn as young "Newt". It seems Carrie had no intentions of continuing making movies, and has kept that, she's a teacher in California.
Aliens was the rare case of the sequel being more fun than the original. Alien was terrifying.
Indeed. Geiger's monster really is excessively scary. I read some actor complaining that some people said it was *too* scary. "It's art, he said, how can it be 'too strong'". :-)
Despite this, I don't think it will ever be a "classic monster" in the sense of those old Universal critters. Maybe because there is nothing humanoid about it, maybe we have to relate in *some* way to a monster in order to be really invested. And Alien is basically just an excessively dangerous animal. While it's clever, you never get the impression that it's capable of thinking, really.
... Hehe, it's even a bit stupid, because like all movie monsters, it does the timeless "scary pose"... it stops for several seconds and poses impressively in order for the victims (and the camera) to get a good look and a chance to flee. This can't be optimal monster behavior!