Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Alita: Battle Angel's story struggles to keep up with its special effects, but fans of futuristic sci-fi action may still find themselves more than sufficiently entertained.

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From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past - she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she's grown to love.

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Critic Reviews for Alita: Battle Angel

All Critics (254) | Top Critics (34)

It's goofy as hell and borderline inexcusable at times, but it's also kind of glorious.

Feb 16, 2019 | Full Review…
Slate
Top Critic

I loved watching this sci-fi spectacle's moving parts. I just couldn't get past its brain.

Feb 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Attending the movies should not come with homework assignments, and if a film only works if you study its backstory in advance, there is something terribly wrong.

Feb 15, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Basically, we're talking about a lot of human heads doing a lot of insulting and quipping and grunting and groaning while atop all manner of fighting cyborg bodies

Feb 14, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Alita too often feels thin, despite a surfeit of heavy-hitting talent.

Feb 14, 2019 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

It's more of a scavenger hunt than a movie.

Feb 14, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Alita: Battle Angel

½

BAA is a solid Scifi action filled bonanza with a strong narrative. Condensing an exuberant amount of content from the source material but often feeling like it's just trying to do too much all at once. Some characters and ideas needed a little fleshing out before playing their larger roles in the story, whereas others probably should not have been introduced altogether but an obligation to the original works would've made such an omittance criminal. There's a lot of exciting big ideas in BAA and as any good Scifi goes it's the core human themes that tie it together and make it relatable. Unfortunately I still stand by the idea that Alita's CGI-face is just too distracting in a lot of solemn moments that would have really resonated. Instead I'm constantly getting this fish-out-of-water video-game character vibe from her that just doesn't mesh into this very real, gritty, dystopian world that the film is trying to sell me. This feeling of disconnect clashes with the core themes, what is real? What is it to be human? Sci fi staples that get undermined making this whole fabricated world lose a lot of its credibility. The story could've been written neater with less throwaway elements that reference the source material, your suspense of disbelief is constantly tested in ways that you don't want it to be. All-in-all though BAA delivers a riveting tale of a cybernetic girl's coming-of-age in a rough unforgiving world at a time when strong female leads is exactly what we need.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

½

Alita: Battle Angel is visual eye-candy; captivating the screen with its innovative CGI and the charming, believable performance of its star android. However, the film suffers greatly from its hollow narrative and other one-dimensional characters that drags down the efforts of its illustration and memorability. 2.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

I caught this as a pre screener on the 09/02/2019, but RT blocked reviews so I couldn't plug the movie and help viewers get out of bed and support this movie. The film is full of ambition and it is nice to see a film not built by Marvel or Disney, won't be the case after Disney owns the film this year. The special effects are impressive and showcase modern storytelling, it actually handles the steampunk side of the film quite well. I will be honest, I would love to see the James Cameron vision as Avatar 3D was most impressive film I had seen at that point. The film itself might not hold up, but you can't deny the event status that film had. Alita is a good film and I feel it accomplishes the origin story it sets out to tell. There a great story beats and unsuccess story beats here, but in the end the film delivers something very different and fun. I hope this garners more attention and we see a franchise built, but I'm not crossing my fingers on this one. 09/02/2019

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

½

Not being a huge fan of novels known as Manga, I've always appreciated the stories they've created in the form of movies of television. Not knowing anything about Alita: Battle Angel prior to watching this film, I was eagerly awaiting this look at a futuristic world and with the talent in front of and behind the camera, I feel a lot of people should have been feeling the same way. While this movies groundbreaking in many ways, I would say the story itself, as well as the side plots, are not. There's a lot to like about Alita: Battle Angel, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Let's dive into one of Hollywood's latest releases. Cyborg pieces are found in a scrapyard by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) and assembled to form Alita (Rosa Salazar). Now revived and not sure where she came from or what secrets her past hold, she sets out on a mission to find herself, becoming a warrior in the process. The story of someone not knowing who they are, only to become a noble hero, has been told many times throughout many mediums, but it always feels special when it's accompanied by great a great lead performance and visuals that are truly out of this world. Not only are the visuals the standout of this film, but the real sets feel lived-in as if they found an actual place in the world that looked like this and started filming. Putting the set pieces aside for a moment, this truly is a film to see on the big screen for the visuals alone. From the impeccable look of Alita herself to the broad scope of this world and what else may be out there, this movie is epic in every way. Sadly, the epic scale, brilliant visuals, and engaging action sequences are slightly bogged down by exposition. Written by James Cameron, Late Kalogridis, and Robert Rodriguez (who also directed the film), I would be remised if I didn't comment on the fact that there are a few scenes that feature some fairly cheesy dialogue and some on-the-nose explanations, which felt a little out of touch, given the talent on board. To add to that, I was able to buy into the romantic arc throughout the film, involving Alita and Hugo (Keean Johnson), but where their story ended up kind of annoyed me. That being said, I thought the positive aspects of this film far outweighed the negatives and I would actually see another instalment. In the end, yes, Alita: Battle Angel does feel like a set-up for future instalments in more ways than one, but this is a self-contained story. The visuals are some of the best I've ever seen and the performance capture is absolutely a step towards perfection. The score itself actually stood out to me, which is rare these days and I found myself engaged, simply due to the music. On a technical level, this movie is a near masterpiece, but there are a few too many issues in the overall story to really call it a brilliant movie. Alita: Battle Angel is a fun time at the movies and I feel that a recommendation is warranted here.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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