Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Hercules is Mighty Fun

Plus. Lucy is stylish but illogical, and And So It Goes is predictable.

by | July 24, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary warrior (Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Joseph Fiennes), a brainy heroine (Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman), and a curmudgeonly guardian (And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton). What do the critics have to say?

Hercules

He was the son of a god. He had bulging biceps. He battled all manner of oversized, multi-headed mythological beast. Hercules was essentially an action hero two millennia before the birth of cinema, and critics say much of the fun of Hercules is in its commitment to swashbuckling escapism — this may not be the brainiest flick on the block, but at least it never feels like a dull classics lecture. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Herc, who, after completing his fabled labors, assembles a crew of fighters to topple a bloodthirsty megalomaniac. The pundits say Hercules isn’t particularly deep, but it never takes itself too seriously, either, and the result is a surprisingly hearty sword-and-sandal popcorn movie. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Johnson’s best-reviewed films.)

Lucy

67%

Luc Besson, the director of such cult favorites as Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, has never been one for subtlety or nuance. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though critics say his latest, Lucy, works a lot better as a stylishly eccentric thrill-ride than as a heady sci-fi trip. Scarlett Johansson stars as a student who’s kidnapped and forced to act as a drug mule. When she unintentionally consumes the drug, she quickly morphs into a hyper intelligent, telekinetic killing machine. The pundits say Lucy is short on logic and well-developed characters, but it’s slick, briskly-paced, and often quite entertaining.

And So It Goes

18%

Not every summer movie has to be a pulse-pounding explosion-fest, but a little energy is always nice. Unfortunately, critics say the combined talents of director Rob Reiner and stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton can’t do much to elevate And So It Goes‘ predictable script and slack pacing. Douglas stars as a misanthropic realtor who is suddenly tasked with caring for a granddaughter he never knew existed. Eventually, our hero takes a shine to the tot — and develops a kinship with his charming neighbor (Keaton). The pundits say And So It Goes feels more like a sitcom than a film, and only the stars’ considerable talents keep it from being a complete waste of time. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of dysfunctional movie families.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

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