Critics Consensus

Alita: Battle Angel Is Style over Substance... but the Style Is Killer

Plus, Isn't It Romantic is moderately clever, Happy Death Day 2U is fairly fun, and Doom Patrol and Umbrella Academy keep superheroes interesting.

by | February 14, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got an amnesiac android (Alita: Battle Angel, starring Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz), a meta rom-com (Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth), and a sequel we’ve seen before… or have we (Happy Death Day 2U, starring Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard)? What are the critics saying?


Alita: Battle Angel (2019) 61%

The Japanese cyberpunk manga Battle Angel Alita began publication back in 1990, and when James Cameron got wind of it (via Guillermo del Toro, no less), he became instantly fascinated by it and began development on it as a passion project. Ultimately, after years of delays, Cameron found himself occupied by Avatar and its sequels, so he handed the reins over to Robert Rodriguez. The film centers on a scientist (Christoph Waltz) who discovers a deactivated cyborg (played in motion-capture by Rosa Salazar) in a junkyard and gives her a new body, only to realize her previous function was much more lethal. Alita: Battle Angel has impressed critics with its groundbreaking, immersive special effects — par for the course with any film produced by James Cameron — but it takes some of its narrative cues from better films that have come before. It’s an eye-popping theater experience, to be sure, and if that’s what you’re looking for, Alita delivers enough entertainment value to keep you in your seat. Just don’t expect to be blown away — or even particularly engaged — by its story.


Isn't It Romantic (2019) 70%

The danger in making a film that aims to be a genre takedown is that it can easily fall prey to the same cliches it’s attempting to ridicule, resulting in a final product that feels disingenuous and sometimes phony. In other words, it’s an incredibly risky proposition, and according to the reviews, this week’s Isn’t It Romantic just manages to pull it off, mostly thanks to its star, Rebel Wilson. The story follows a cynical architect who wakes up from a mugging encounter to discover that she has become the star of her own romantic comedy. Critics say the meta narrative, while not entirely fresh, still offers a few surprises and clever gags, and Wilson lights up the screen as the unwilling protagonist of her own love story. It doesn’t have much of a story outside of its initial high-concept premise, and it’s perhaps not as smart as it thinks it is, but you could definitely do worse for a Valentine’s date movie.


Happy Death Day 2U (2019) 71%

In 2017, Universal and Blumhouse mixed the trappings of a classic slasher film with the déjà vu antics of Groundhog Day and achieved surprisingly effective results, so this week we get a return trip through the time loop with a slightly different twist. Jessica Rothe reprises her role as college student Tree Gelbman once again finds herself reliving the same day over and over again. Only thing is, this time around, the person responsible for her death in the first film is also murdered here, which means there’s a new killer on the loose. Critics say Happy Death Day 2U isn’t quite as much fun as the original — as the Arizona Republic’s Bill Goodykoontz writes, “a movie can only be a pleasant surprise once” — and it gets a little bogged down in trying to explain why what’s happening is happening, but it still packs some bloody thrills and hearty chuckles for the horror-comedy aficionados among us.


What’s New on TV

Doom Patrol: Season 1 (2019) 96%

DC Universe finds breakout material in this iteration of Doom Patrol thanks to a fully committed cast and the writing’s faith in weirdness.


The Umbrella Academy: Season 1 (2019) 75%

The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series’ dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

Star Wars fresh Reality hist Amazon Studios Box Office Disney+ Disney Plus 007 films BAFTA Film Festival tv talk obituary ghosts 2019 chucky mission: impossible Television Critics Association best The Walking Dead finale laika casting historical drama Family VICE Comedy Central Elton John crime drama Heroines President canceled New York Comic Con Fox Searchlight dogs Crunchyroll Musical Best and Worst stoner Turner Hallmark Christmas movies spy thriller Ghostbusters First Reviews halloween tv Fall TV japanese canceled TV shows Disney Plus TIFF Rocky Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Classic Film A24 ratings christmas movies DC Comics Peacock biography teaser Fantasy boxing Biopics FOX Podcast political drama Mindy Kaling The Arrangement History anime dceu Christmas Rom-Com VOD venice Martial Arts Kids & Family HBO APB stop motion die hard Brie Larson romance First Look 2016 cars Tomatazos El Rey social media The Academy travel festival sag awards blockbuster Toys Mary Poppins Returns screenings Interview A&E FXX Ellie Kemper franchise Ovation Rock USA black ABC Family Sci-Fi Vudu reviews Shudder rotten Summer spanish Spike MTV spinoff Comedy police drama Esquire Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt award winner Disney streaming service Showtime CW Seed based on movie doctor who science fiction Pet Sematary Universal BET Awards Film rt archives Funimation OneApp DGA comic Cosplay crossover directors TCA Awards HBO Go toronto robots American Society of Cinematographers SundanceTV Schedule National Geographic halloween mutant witnail VH1 OWN worst movies BBC facebook justice league nfl boxoffice dark Nominations reboot twilight 99% Polls and Games sequels revenge Baby Yoda Stephen King Binge Guide batman sports Song of Ice and Fire Spectrum Originals TBS Mary Tyler Moore talk show ABC remakes Photos free movies Rocketman independent discovery Grammys Marathons strong female leads archives Pop TV TCA 2017 technology Columbia Pictures TruTV DC Universe Sundance Now Marvel Mudbound Discovery Channel Countdown football SXSW slashers breaking bad 2020 satire Year in Review unscripted Calendar Winners Mystery criterion Marvel Television ITV IFC period drama quibi Character Guide RT History docudrama Certified Fresh thriller Oscars french Acorn TV joker cooking scorecard concert Sundance spider-man Infographic disaster documentary Lionsgate 45 Disney TV Land Adult Swim MSNBC hispanic crime thriller Sneak Peek Endgame nbcuniversal YouTube Premium deadpool kids FX on Hulu cinemax Bravo Superheroe The Purge all-time cancelled TV shows dramedy psycho italian GLAAD The CW Comic Book video Arrowverse TV renewals indie Teen Valentine's Day classics Set visit nature Apple Hear Us Out Reality Competition space Hulu supernatural Lifetime Christmas movies movie comedies Pixar Fox News Netflix ESPN TCA Apple TV Plus Apple TV+ Pride Month game show Horror diversity 2017 spain Amazon Prime Video PBS theme song cults USA Network See It Skip It Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures cancelled Captain marvel Sundance TV CMT Nat Geo harry potter Pirates Disney Channel Lifetime cats LGBTQ Writers Guild of America cops BET Superheroes Western composers romantic comedy Red Carpet Warner Bros. San Diego Comic-Con NBC TCA Winter 2020 YouTube cartoon renewed TV shows television Trailer TCM SDCC RT21 TNT james bond festivals zombies Starz Spring TV critics CBS All Access child's play hollywood Cannes Trophy Talk indiana jones zero dark thirty series serial killer 21st Century Fox Creative Arts Emmys Action GIFs E! sequel Premiere Dates Cartoon Network 20th Century Fox WGN sitcom dragons comic books cancelled TV series Trivia Dark Horse Comics emmy awards mockumentary singing competition Election dc Extras green book Holidays PaleyFest Comics on TV LGBT scary movies screen actors guild Tarantino Holiday Lucasfilm worst TLC CNN CBS Masterpiece Emmys name the review aliens Alien Thanksgiving Drama universal monsters Marvel Studios Logo Academy Awards 71st Emmy Awards Super Bowl HBO Max transformers movies WarnerMedia Video Games Black Mirror Animation children's TV rotten movies we love blaxploitation Tubi Awards cancelled television richard e. Grant YouTube Red The Witch politics a nightmare on elm street Women's History Month true crime superhero E3 Black History Month Watching Series Awards Tour Paramount Network natural history Epix animated Amazon Avengers Nickelodeon adventure Pop spanish language werewolf Country Winter TV Freeform IFC Films toy story south america Opinion comics 2018 comiccon Food Network YA streaming 4/20 Britbox Syfy psychological thriller news foreign asian-american Musicals anthology DC streaming service Television Academy stand-up comedy miniseries Anna Paquin war what to watch vampires fast and furious BBC America FX AMC parents Travel Channel medical drama book Shondaland NYCC golden globes ID versus Paramount 24 frames X-Men Sony Pictures Mary poppins Music australia Netflix Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards video on demand PlayStation Turner Classic Movies DirecTV binge adaptation BBC One Crackle 2015 documentaries jamie lee curtis GoT Hallmark Amazon Prime zombie latino game of thrones Quiz Star Trek Tumblr Chernobyl MCU elevated horror crime TV