‘Atlas’ has finally landed on Netflix — and the reviews are just as shocking as the movie’s AI

Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd in Atlas
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has a pretty juicy slate for this year, with some highly anticipated movies and TV shows set to hit the streamer. One includes “Atlas”, the sci-fi thriller that generated a good amount of excitement when the trailer landed. Today it arrived on Netflix, and not even a full day later has received some very surprising reviews.

Jennifer Lopez plays the lead character in this thrilling movie set in space. She’s known for her other projects like “The Mother”, “Hustlers”, and “The Backup Plan”, and so I'd assumed “Atlas” would be in safe hands. However, her performance, along with the general narrative and action sequences, have been put under the spotlight since its debut. 

Is this movie worth watching or should you skip it? Let’s delve into the plot and what critics are currently saying about it. 

What is ‘Atlas’ about? 

“Atlas” follows a post-apocalyptic world that has fallen after the destruction of humanity, all because a rebellious robot wanted to eliminate mankind. Harlan (Simu Liu), the robot in question, ventures into space and promises to return to Earth again. To put an end to his genocidal behavior, data analyst Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez) goes on a mission to capture him, despite being incredibly distrustful of AI. 

The world once had humans and robots existing together. As you can imagine, Atlas now struggles to confront anything remotely robotic on her mission, but that changes when she meets an AI named Smith (voiced by Gregory James Cohan) while in a mechanical suit. 

This sci-fi thriller has an interesting premise that makes you think about the potential dangers of AI progression. Our world has always been interested in computers and machines, and the very idea of technology turning against us is unsettling. That’s why “Atlas” works as a movie, but professional critics have other things to say.

The reviews aren’t out of this world

Despite “Atlas” having an interesting and thrilling premise, it didn’t really stand out in the sci-fi genre according to critics. The movie currently sits at around 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, obviously very low for a big-budget Netflix original. However, keep in mind this score can change the more reviews it generates over time. 

Ross McIndoe from Slant Magazine said: “Atlas seems like a story that should have been experienced with a gamepad in hand.” The Wrap’s William Bibbiani also shared a similar opinion by saying: “Hidden somewhere beneath all the generic dialogue, embarrassing plot, mediocre action and oddly ineffective performances, there’s a good idea in Brad Peyton’s Atlas. It’s a shame the filmmakers never found it.” 

Todd Gilchrist from Variety didn’t enjoy the conventional structure that “Atlas” followed. It held a “dearth of original ideas that undercuts the appeal of Atlas, leaving Lopez to fend for herself in much the same way her character is forced to in the film’s formulaic story.” 

However, even though the score is low and the reviews are pretty negative, I don’t want to completely bash this movie. And it’s only fair for people to form their own opinions, considering everyone has preferences when it comes to sci-fi thrillers. Matt Donato from IGN Movies said: “Atlas might not be the next groundbreaking sci-fi epic, but Brad Peyton’s humanity-vs.-AI saga earns points for entertaining us.”

‘Atlas’ is an easy watch that shouldn’t be taken seriously

Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd in Atlas

(Image credit: Netflix)

If I’m being completely honest, most movies and TV shows nowadays are taken too seriously. The more general blockbusters are supposed to be entertaining and fun, with visually pleasing effects that keep you hooked on the action. This is much like “Atlas”, which is a fun watch with an unsettling undertone focused on the dangers of evolving AI. 

Of course, critics do a professional assessment on a movie, but they’re looking into every detail to create an accurate opinion. Being part of the audience, we’re supposed to just take it in and enjoy the movie as a casual viewer. This is why I think you should give “Atlas” a chance, especially if you’re big into dramatic action sequences and have enjoyed movies like “Terminator” and “Pacific Rim”. 

Want to get yourself in the sci-fi mood before watching? Check out the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now or take a look at the shows worth streaming in the top 10

You can stream “Atlas” on Netflix now.  

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Alix Blackburn
Staff Writer, Streaming

Alix is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, which basically means watching the best movies and TV shows and then writing about them. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Screen Rant and Bough Digital, both of which sparked her interest in the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing about the latest movies and TV shows, she’s either playing horror video games on her PC or working on her first novel.

  • wrerkec
    Oooh, you lost me with Pacific Rim. A terrible movie that put me to sleep with little plot and weak characters. The definition of a movie that expects the special effects to carry it. However, in a movie I either need to know why we're seeing special effects or care about the characters. Pacific Rim did neither well, and the science was just bad. So I guess I'm gonna pass on Atlas.
  • John S Evans
    Atlas is a thinly disguised ‘Aliens’ movie possibly aimed at young viewers who have not seen the much better Aliens movie. Another ‘wokerised’ remake. The effects are good the plot is about a ‘brilliant’ woman who sees the kinda obvious that for some bizarre reason no-one else can and somehow travels quickly to an impossibly distant planet. All one assumes because she is just so very clever - really. So many of the themes are just pale reflections of the Alien movies. Still fun if you just want to enjoy the visual effects perhaps.
  • AirKwa
    So is this movie as terrible as it looks or is it worse?
  • mr77
    AirKwa said:
    So is this movie as terrible as it looks or is it worse?
    actually its fun to watch. not bad