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‘Alien: Covenant’ Critical Roundup: Michael Fassbender Is Singled Out for Praise in Early Reviews of Ridley Scott’s Latest

Critics are pleased with, if not over the moon for, the sci-fi saga's new chapter.

Michael Fassbender, "Alien Covenant"

20th Century Fox

If big things have small beginnings, do they also have medium-sized second chapters? That’s one question being addressed by the first round of “Alien: Covenant” reviews, most of which lean positive without being over the moon for Ridley Scott’s latest. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn says that the film “unfolds as a hybrid of the ponderous philosophy in ‘Prometheus’ and the run-and-gun survival tactics of the first two ‘Alien’ movies, landing on plenty of satisfying beats but struggling to balance the dissonant approaches.”

READ MORE: ‘Alien Covenant’ Review: Michael Fassbender Is a Creepy Delight, But It’s Mostly the Same Old Horror Show

In her three-star (out of five) review, Cath Clarke of Time Out London praises Michael Fassbender:

“Really, this is David/Walter’s show. For reasons too spoilery to give away, Fassbender is electric, giving a spectacularly skin-crawling performance.”

Screen International’s Fionnuala Halligan is less impressed:

“It may further the narrative which commenced in 2012’s ambitious ‘Prometheus,’ bringing us closer to the events of 1979’s ‘Alien,’ but it’s a long, flat, no-frills journey which struggles to engage despite its many bloody shocks.”

READ MORE: ‘Alien’ Evolution: Explore Every Stage in the Xenomorph’s Gruesome Life Cycle

Robbie Collin, meanwhile, gives the film a perfect five stars in his Telegraph review:

“‘Alien: Covenant’ is a mad scientist film – arguably, one of the maddest. It’s grandiose, exhilarating, vertiginously cynical and symphonically perverse, and around a million miles from the crowd-pleasing ‘Alien’ retread Twentieth Century Fox have presumably been begging the 79-year-old director to make.”

On this side of the pond, The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy is similarly enthusiastic:

“The drama flows gorgeously and, unlike in many other franchises in which entries keep getting longer every time out, this one is served up without an ounce of fat. It provides all the tension and action the mainstream audience could want, along with a good deal more.”

Somewhere in between the two extremes is Alonso Duralde of TheWrap:

“On a gutbucket genre-film level, ‘Alien Covenant’ delivers when it delivers. As with so many of its monster-movie peers, however, there’s just not much to it when the creature isn’t preening for its close-up.”

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