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

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