Netflix, Bad Robot, and J.J. Abrams shocked the world on Super Bowl Sunday by releasing a brand-new Cloverfield movie without any marketing material beforehand. The excitement and anticipation behind such a bold and unprecedented move were soon to be replaced by disappointment as viewers realized that The Cloverfield Paradox, directed by Julius Onah, was a mediocre movie that could have entirely changed the rules on big-budget filmmaking.
Instead, fans got what most are calling a scatterbrained mish-mosh of Alien, Gravity, Life, Event Horizon, Black Mirror, and just the slightest smidge of the old Cloverfield magic, which was really just a shoehorned service to die-hard fans.
Crestfallen Netflix subscribers (critics and plebians alike) wasted no time in voicing their disappointment with the movie on Rotten Tomatoes. As a result, The Cloverfield Paradox currently holds a 17 percent on the aggregator, with the consensus being: "Brilliant casting is overshadowed by a muddled mix of genres and storylines that scratch more heads than sci-fi itches in The Cloverfield Paradox."
This is an insane drop in reception compared to the last two movies in the franchise, which earned a 77 percent and 90 percent, respectively. As the third installment, Paradox explains where all the monsters and aliens came from, but the reveal feels tacked-on and inharmonious to a movie about an international space station experiencing strange phenomena. It seems like they should have stuck with one premise or the other and ended up with a monster of a mess on their hands, which would have flopped at the box office if it had gotten a traditional wide release. The choice to release the feature on Netflix looks less like a revolutionary stroke of brilliance and more like a last-ditch safety net to build some buzz around an iffy product.
With a fourth Cloverfield entry slated for October, Abrams & Co. have the chance to redeem the property and lift it out of the muddled mire that is The Cloverfield Paradox.