In a summer where Marvel Studios and DC Comics haven’t been able to bring the world superpowered thrills, Netflix is about to do its best to compete with its latest original: director Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s Project Power. Starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback, this R-rated caper is about a future New Orleans where the streets are about to be flooded with a drug that, for five minutes, gives the user a unique superpower. And on the heels of the interviews that have come out of the press day for the film, the embargo is up on critical reviews, and we’ve got some of the reactions for you to read below.
We’ll start with CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell, who rated Project Power at a three out of five stars, with the following comments:
It takes comic-book clichés and applies them to a gritty, sweaty cop thriller, giving its story a stylish coat of paint that results in a sleek, silly night at the movies.
Meanwhile, David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter was also pretty positive in his evaluation of Project Power. While it wasn’t a huge, resounding rave, he did have this to say about the movie:
It’s easy enough to pick plot holes in Project Power and trace the inspiration for many of its ideas back to earlier movies or comics. But there’s a long line of hits that have found an appreciative audience despite charges of unoriginality.
So far, an even handed positivity seems to be the prevailing theme when it comes to the impression that Project Power has left on its audience. However, those of you who are putting a lot stock in this film being the perfect replacement for those Black Widow or Wonder Woman 1984 cravings you’ve been having all summer might want to dial back expectations. At least, that seems to be what IGN’s Robert Daniels would have you think, as he issued the following advisory for would be viewers:
Netflix’s Project Power misses the potentiality of its relevant themes and intriguing concept for an overwrought reconception of the superhero narrative. … The pacing drags through action set-pieces left obscured by messy compositions and limp, over-stylized visual choices. New Orleans, as the film’s setting, is wasted while the film’s gritty concept fails to deliver the desired intensity.
Also on the more negative side of the spectrum is IndieWire’s Kate Erbland, as she saw the greatest advantage Project Power has going for it is also its greatest weakness. And it can be boiled down one word – promise:
It’s a lot for one film, and “Project Power” never revs up enough gusto to power through its biggest, best ideas and deliver on their promise.
Finally, if there was any note to close out this Project Power roundup with, it’d have to be that of EW’s Leah Greenblatt’s B+ review of the film:
But for all the patently corny bits and some 17 attempts at an ending, Power still somehow makes it easy to suspend your disbelief and your imaginary degree in biochemistry, and just let it ride.
And there you have it, a pretty evenly excited at best, if not dismissive at worst, consensus seems to be shaping around Project Power. You the viewer will be able to decide for yourself right now, as the film has debuted on Netflix as of 12 AM PST/3 AM EST today.
CinemaBlend’s James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.