Both Disney and Netflix have two major original films hitting on Friday and both have not gone down well with the critics.
On Netflix, the Jared Leto-led “The Outsider” has scored a disastrous reception so far with the film chalking up a 10% and 3.6/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic it isn’t much better with a 32/100.
The story is set in post-WWII Japan, with Leto as an imprisoned American soldier released with the help of his Yakuza cellmate and now sets out to earn their respect and repay his debt while navigating the dangerous criminal underworld.
Amongst the choice quotes from reviews listed on those pages is that it’s “one of the most tediously generic yakuza stories imaginable” and it’s about “an army man’s quest to out-Asian actual Asian men”. Mostly though complaints deal with the film’s pacing, pandering to western audiences, and overall lack of any real depth. However the work of Leto and especially his co-star Tadanobu Asano is praised.
In comparison, the mixed reviews for Ava DuVernay’s wide cinema release “A Wrinkle in Time” are far more glowing. That film sits at a still not good 43% and 5.3/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 52/100 on Metacritic.
The film has been praised for its intentions, visual ambition and emotional heart. However, the source material has been deemed near impossible to adapt in the past and almost every review agrees with that sentiment. The film’s script is trashed in numerous reviews for being a very loose take on the book which routinely forgoes the story in trying to make its own points about self-empowerment.
This results in large plot holes and mismatched performances, the issues making it “wildly uneven, weirdly suspenseless, and tonally all over the place” says Variety’s Peter Debruge, others have dubbed it a textbook case of a “noble failure”. The film’s exuberance, design and spirit, however, have all been praised.
Both “A Wrinkle in Time” and “The Outsider” release on Friday March 9th.