Here's what 11 mainstream critics think of Del Toro's Pacific Rim

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Jul 11, 2013, 12:49 PM EDT (Updated)

The studio took a big chance in making Guillermo del Toro’s monsters-vs.-mechs epic Pacific Rim, and the moment of truth hits this weekend. So, is the film actually any good?

According to the first mainstream reviews to hit, the answer is ... probably yes. The majority of reviews coming out seem to be pretty positive, though there are admittedly a few dissenting voices in the mix.

Despite the fact that the film is expected to be a moderate box-office bomb, it’s apparently pretty awesome — so it’ll be interesting to see if positive word of mouth can get this one back on track by Friday.

Here are excerpts from 11 major reviews, breaking down the highlights:

“Pacific Rim is that massively good, and capable of bringing out childlike wonder that summer blockbusters largely forget. Although forged from spare parts of smashes past, del Toro's loud-and-proud movie is what we should hope the future will be if mega-budget popcorn flicks are all we get. Pacific Rim is a dumbed-up movie, which is better than one dumbed down.” — Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times.

"Unlike what can happen in other futuristic epics, the flesh-and-blood people who inhabit this world have not been neglected. Expertly cast by Margery Simkin, "Pacific Rim" utilizes many actors who have followings on TV, including Del Toro veteran Ron Perlman, which allows the film to capitalize on the work of talented people who have not worn out their welcome on the big screen." — Kenneth Turan, The LA Times.

“There will be some 9-year-old boys who’ll go crazy for the overcomplicated, disappointing “Pacific Rim.” Robots! Robots fighting sea monsters! And it takes two humans to run a robot! But if your adult pulse doesn’t jump at all that, Rim will be as gripping as seeing a Transformer battle a toy dinosaur in a bathtub.” — Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News.

“For all the humor and clever twists in the script that Travis Beacham wrote with del Toro, a film like this rises or falls on its action sequences, and there are some real doozies here as the Jaegers square off, again and again, against Kaiju who can hurl electricity and deadly acid against them.” — Lou Lumenick, NY Post.

“To kill time between action set pieces, del Toro has done an above-average job of avoiding tedium via some flavorsome casting, passably interesting plot contrivances and, above all, by maintaining strong forward momentum. Unlike so many similar crash-bang action spectaculars, this one feels lean and muscular rather than bloated or padded; the combat is almost always coherent and dramatically pointed rather than just splashed on the screen for its own sake.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter.

“While fanboys may be delighted, it will not hold the average spectator's attention. Sequences sometimes feel akin to watching people play an intricate video game.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today.

“On a purely surface level, Guillermo del Toro’sPacific Rim delivers exactly what it advertises.  You want giant monsters (“Kaiju”) duking it out with giant robotic machines (“Jaegers”) with humans inside?  That’s precisely what you get.  But anyone expecting the auteur behind Pan’s Labyrinth to create something primal or genuinely epic may be a bit disappointed.”— Scott Mendelson, Forbes.

“As someone who openly disdained Michael Bay's muscle-headed Transformers movies, the idea of a giant machine fighting an equally outlandish and large monster seems like a big ho-hum. But instead of special effects that speak, which the Transformers really were, del Toro has found a way to let you invest emotionally in the fate of the Jaegers.” — Marshall Fine, The Huffington Post.

“Pacific Rim is entirely in keeping with much expensively-made effects-heavy cinema of the present time: it's put together with such artistry and such devotion that it can't help but be impressive as a visual spectacle. (Del Toro's devotion to Japanese monster movies is particularly evident.) But, like Man of Steel or The Dark Knight Rises, it can't quite bring itself to believe in its own pop-culture disposability and ends up paying the price.” — Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

“Robots are hurled through bridges; monsters burst through skyscrapers like they’re cardboard walls. The pulverizing volume and intensity of these sequences is severe enough that the movie practically threatens at times to overload on awesome.” — Peter Suderman, Washington Times.

“It takes a good hour for the real battle to get going. You're glad when it does, but mostly, you wish the mind-melding concept had been mined more fully, especially since the scenes inside people's minds show, too briefly, another, subtler side of del Toro's talents.” — The Associated Press.

 So, after reading all that, do you plan on checking out Del Toro's biggest movie yet this weekend?