Now that Netflix’s surprise “Cloverfield” sequel “The Cloverfield Paradox” has been available to stream for more than 24 hours, film critics from across the country have finally been able to weigh in, and let’s just say you’re probably better off re-watching “10 Cloverfield Lane” than giving the latest installment a go. Critics have not been to kind to “Paradox,” with IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich giving the movie a D review, calling it “direct to video garbage.”
“The Cloverfield Paradox” is directed by Julius Onah and stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi. The story centers around a group of astronauts tasked with activating a particle accelerator in an attempt to provide Earth with a new source of energy. After numerous failed attempts, the group finally gets the partial accelerator working, but their attempt causes the Earth to vanish.
We’ve rounded up some of the reviews for “The Cloverfield Paradox” below, and they are not pretty. The film currently has a 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, and most critics agree the film was made available on Netflix the same time it was officially announced so that it could beat the bad press.
The most shocking thing about J.J. Abrams’ surprise new “Cloverfield” movie is how bad it is…A chintzy, scatterbrained, and insufferably boring pastiche of better movies about people stranded in space, this unmitigated disaster actually starts out with a decent amount of promise…Does “The Cloverfield Paradox” feel like direct-to-video garbage because it premiered on Netflix, or did it premiere on Netflix because it feels like direct-to-video garbage? That one answers itself.
“The Cloverfield Paradox” is a mind-boggling mish-mosh. It squanders whatever stray crumbs were left of the “Cloverfield” mystique by banging together bits and pieces of what must be a dozen genres. The result is a desperate plunge into the abyss of shoddy sci-fi.
At best, “The Cloverfield Paradox” is a schlock sci-fi movie that (all too appropriately) has the quality of a straight-to-video sequel. And at worst, it should have us worried about the direction of the “Cloverfield” franchise as a whole.
What excitement this movie is able to muster soon gives way to the startling realization that virtually none of its twists, for all their dimension-hopping audacity, have been coherently or intelligently thought through.
Unlike the first two films in the series, “Cloverfield Paradox” doesn’t stand on its own as a horror movie, or even as a standalone story. There’s no central idea, no governing principle, and more to the point, virtually nothing frightening about it. No one involved in creating this movie seemed to have any clue what kind of tale it’s telling from one minute to the next.
Much has been made over the years about Abrams’ “mystery box,” a storytelling model of pure tease. In the case of “The Cloverfield Paradox,” it’s just a fancy word for “junk drawer.”
Director Julius Onah’s film strands its solid cast in the vacuum of space with that most terrifying of monsters — an utterly convoluted script — producing a few tense moments but a general takeaway that’s much closer to puzzling than profound.
Sounds intriguing, but the actual movie is strangely plain, eyesore-overlit and uselessly frantic. It devolves into clichéd “I can’t let you do that” confrontations on its way to a trifling punch line. As a theatrical movie, it would have been a nonevent.