‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ reviews: Surprise sequel divides critics, from ‘enjoyable sci-fi horror/thriller’ to ‘failed experiment’

“Cloverfield” fans were given a nice surprise on Super Bowl Sunday when Netflix released “The Cloverfield Paradox” on its streaming service just hours after the first trailer debuted. Directed by Julius Onah, this is the third film in the popular sci-fi franchise following 2008’s “Cloverfield” and 2016’s “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Of note, “Paradox” was not originally conceived as a “Cloverfield” sequel but was rewritten later to fit into this universe.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, star of Netflix’s Emmy-winning “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero,” takes on the lead role of astronaut Ava Hamilton in “The Cloverfield Paradox.” After a power surge aboard the spaceship, Earth disappears from view and strange things begin happening to Ava and her fellow astronauts, played by David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Zhang Ziyi and Elizabeth Debicki.

Now that film critics have seen “The Cloverfield Paradox,” what are they saying about the surprise sequel?

Sandy Schaefer (ScreenRant) gives one of the more positive reviews, declaring, “‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ is a disjointed but enjoyable sci-fi horror/thriller that has mixed success as a shared universe film.” Ben Kuchera (Polygon) also writes favorably about the popcorn flick, saying, “It’s not a completely bad movie, and I was appropriately scared during the scary scenes and creeped out by the creepy scenes.”

But for every positive, there is a negative. Russ Fischer (Birth.Movies.Death.) takes to task the way the film was “warped out of shape” to fit into the “Cloverfield” universe, noting, “The end result is a failed experiment.” And David Ehrlich (IndieWire) hisses, “It’s worth remembering that the ‘Cloverfield’ movies were only able to successfully disrupt conventional distribution methods because they’re good. The best thing you can say about this one is that it’s free with your Netflix subscription.”

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