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) 76%

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

MCU doctor who 2021 SDCC Red Carpet theme song war sequels technology BAFTA french satire romance Broadway Apple Endgame spy thriller Superheroes rotten movies we love festivals slashers james bond romantic comedy VICE ABC Family ghosts BET Awards Trailer Drama The Walt Disney Company a nightmare on elm street blockbuster politics joker Musicals cancelled TV shows Travel Channel A24 2020 godzilla science fiction boxing FX on Hulu Legendary The Purge ABC reboot Christmas Interview space Hear Us Out free movies biography Masterpiece FX WGN Women's History Month Fox Searchlight discovery WarnerMedia directors Logo toy story The Arrangement Adult Swim 93rd Oscars cults Shudder social media chucky 71st Emmy Awards Pride Month The Walking Dead canceled TV shows Film Festival PaleyFest Summer 90s superhero HBO Max thriller Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt saw dogs San Diego Comic-Con GLAAD Winners President DirecTV 007 NYCC Tokyo Olympics NBA Chernobyl zombies Pet Sematary spain news Pop TV anthology werewolf 2018 Nickelodeon zero dark thirty Vudu dc Black History Month scene in color 99% crossover Disney+ Disney Plus Exclusive Video halloween tv archives Ellie Kemper sitcom The Academy USA rt archives Opinion classics Lucasfilm Marvel Television National Geographic zombie Showtime boxoffice Calendar crime thriller Pop indiana jones Sundance harry potter Holiday Oscars Comic Book Family DGA razzies christmas movies The CW spider-man black kong El Rey A&E 21st Century Fox LGBT E! Winter TV nature 2015 latino golden globes TCA Awards japanese 20th Century Fox Polls and Games series TLC casting Bravo international laika The Witch TV movies critics Syfy cats robots Pirates Acorn TV new zealand Horror Anna Paquin adaptation aliens Apple TV Plus binge DC streaming service comiccon Universal scorecard teaser die hard 4/20 Academy Awards LGBTQ SXSW game show movie elevated horror Valentine's Day police drama unscripted Premiere Dates canceled transformers strong female leads Lifetime Arrowverse stop motion tv talk Certified Fresh DC Comics First Look know your critic Spectrum Originals GIFs Discovery Channel mutant miniseries OWN crime Television Critics Association concert award winner AMC spanish language stand-up comedy Hallmark Christmas movies versus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Biopics dragons Star Trek prank blaxploitation Paramount Plus GoT Wes Anderson dramedy Rom-Com Countdown TV Nat Geo First Reviews Film Pixar CW Seed Sundance TV scary movies fast and furious Box Office Turner Spring TV true crime Comedy Central football finale Walt Disney Pictures Stephen King toronto Alien Warner Bros. kaiju Year in Review what to watch Photos Cosplay See It Skip It VH1 Creative Arts Emmys heist movie hist Emmy Nominations Trivia batman independent parents psycho period drama game of thrones APB TCA Apple TV+ Action CMT Mary poppins deadpool book Amazon Prime Video HBO Tomatazos medical drama Fox News CBS All Access cancelled TV series kids Comedy Turner Classic Movies high school name the review hispanic Pacific Islander Star Wars cooking documentary political drama crime drama American Society of Cinematographers History italian serial killer revenge talk show Fantasy IFC TCA 2017 RT History monster movies BET cops Amazon marvel cinematic universe Sci-Fi X-Men comic screenings Video Games TNT Music travel Comic-Con@Home 2021 Toys Sundance Now streaming Television Academy lord of the rings king arthur films documentaries Disney Plus FOX cars E3 Ovation Animation Teen ID Shondaland Paramount Musical Infographic king kong pirates of the caribbean Mary Poppins Returns aapi stoner Country Tarantino all-time renewed TV shows hidden camera TV One dark Baby Yoda Starz richard e. Grant ratings Esquire spanish Funimation basketball venice comedies new york YouTube remakes ESPN Lionsgate screen actors guild ITV NBC festival Avengers historical drama australia New York Comic Con based on movie Sneak Peek Nominations PlayStation DC Universe MTV 72 Emmy Awards Hallmark Heroines adventure Sony Pictures wonder woman singing competition Columbia Pictures Reality movies 1990s rom-coms book adaptation anime Mary Tyler Moore franchise worst Marvel Studios sequel video Black Mirror rotten facebook children's TV Character Guide Netflix Christmas movies south america universal monsters FXX Tumblr TIFF witnail breaking bad cancelled television nbcuniversal telelvision japan reviews Britbox twilight HBO Go RT21 Cartoon Network justice league Election Hulu Disney Channel ABC Signature BBC America foreign obituary Epix 2017 YA Schedule Food Network target TBS Extras Western criterion sag awards psychological thriller Disney streaming service Watching Series Emmys VOD Mudbound Awards Ghostbusters asian-american Mindy Kaling Marathons cinemax Podcast worst movies jamie lee curtis fresh Holidays Song of Ice and Fire blockbusters YouTube Red Writers Guild of America Crackle Quiz Netflix Cannes Lifetime Christmas movies Rock Captain marvel mission: impossible YouTube Premium Superheroe golden globe awards Amazon Studios SundanceTV PBS nfl Reality Competition docuseries popular BBC Rocky hollywood comics Peacock cancelled Image Comics Grammys Crunchyroll jurassic park Best and Worst superman ViacomCBS 2019 Awards Tour Paramount Network mockumentary cartoon comic books MSNBC TCM suspense docudrama best quibi Disney Marvel animated adenture Mystery streaming movies 24 frames Super Bowl Classic Film halloween legend Fall TV Elton John TV Land disaster CBS sports Dark Horse Comics spinoff Binge Guide olympics 2016 diversity child's play Martial Arts Spike dceu trailers Trophy Talk live action Rocketman Comics on TV BBC One Kids & Family composers Brie Larson TruTV 45 video on demand OneApp TCA Winter 2020 Amazon Prime Set visit Thanksgiving supernatural USA Network CNN television Freeform 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards vampires women Tubi indie green book TV renewals IFC Films new star wars movies emmy awards natural history