Making a silly, fun action movie is a difficult balance. If the film takes itself too seriously in order to make the stakes feel more immediate, then the audience can become uncomfortable (e.g. Olympus Has Fallen). If the film is constantly winking at the audience, then they can grow tired with a movie that’s trying way too hard to be ironic (e.g. Snakes on a Plane). Director Roland Emmerich has rarely had trouble striking the right balance. Emmerich knows to pepper the movie with snappy, funny dialogue, have the good-hearted characters take their situation seriously, and never be afraid to go melodramatic, over the top, and do so in a way that’s unashamed rather than shameless. White House Down is Emmerich at his best, and delivers exactly the movie we’ve come to expect from the blockbuster director.