The Cloverfield Paradox review: The third movie in the series arrives on Netflix with little warning and indeed marketing, but does it stand up to the quality of the previous instalments?
The Cloverfield Paradox review by Ben Read.
In the current Hollywood landscape of sequels, shared universes, and billion dollar series’, the Cloverfield universe is one of the more bizarre and perplexing franchises to emerge. Like the mysterious and ever-intriguing beast of the original, the films have all seemingly appeared from nowhere and gone on to wreak havoc at the box office (and industry itself). With that in mind, the third entry, The Cloverfield Paradox, has had quite a lot of expectation behind it. Does it live up to the strange, tense, and refreshingly original films that preceded it?
Like Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane before it, ‘Paradox’ mixes things up once again. This time by taking place largely on a space station orbiting the earth. The plot revolves around a group of scientists in 2028, attempting to solve the worlds energy crisis with a controversial particle accelerator. Despite multiple conspiracy theories and warnings of the horrors this machine could unleash, the group proceeds with their plans. From there, all manner of chaos and confusing threats emerge.
Unfortunately, it appears that this time the franchise’s greatest strength has now become its own worst enemy. The project initially began as a standalone sci-fi production, before being hijacked by Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams. Originally known as God Particle, this project was then moulded and configured to fit into the Cloververse. These changes are evidently apparent and result in a poorly constructed final product, that evokes memories of the all-too-recent Justice League debacle.
The film should be commended however, for finally attempting to provide answers to the original monster’s origin. And while this effort is a pleasant surprise, its last minute addition to the script is poorly conceived and lazy. This may satisfy some viewers, but may ultimately confuse many more in the process. On the other hand, the connective cameos sprinkled throughout the narrative are undoubtedly exciting.
Related: 10 Cloverfield Lane review
In spite of these flaws, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo still manage to deliver powerful and impressive performances. The pair are clear standouts among a script that could have used some serious fine-tuning. The rest of the cast are left fighting for scraps, which leaves the ludicrously talented Daniel brühl in the dust. Chris O’Dowd also makes fleeting appearances as the the films unnecessary and off-putting comic relief.
The Cloverfield Paradox is a dull and messy entry in an otherwise exhilarating series, that comes across as a bad lovechild of Event Horizon and Prometheus. The end scene will easily be the highlight for fans of the original. But, for future sequels Abrams and co may have to realise that they cant always have their cake and eat it. Future additions should probably opt to keep references to a minimum (as the phenomenal 10 Cloverfield Lane did), or finally give fans a true sequel to the original found footage monster movie. With the conclusion opening up a universe of narrative possibilities, it will certainly be interesting to see where things are taken next. The upcoming Overlord, scheduled to release later this year, is rumoured to serve as a fourth instalment. So, it looks like we wont have long to wait.
The Cloverfield Paradox review by Ben Read, February 2018.
The Cloverfield Paradox is available on Netflix now.