Starring: John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Allison Janney, and Sturgill Simpson
Director: Gareth Edwards
Visually, The Creator is a treat. Director Gareth Edwards has crafted a world with a vast scope that is instantly engaging. Story-wise, it may not be revolutionary, but its commentary on fear of the unknown and coming to conclusions based on being blinded by arrogance is apt. I just wish his lead was able to carry the story. Though John David Washington has had his moments, this film highlights his limitations as an actor, including a struggle to connect emotionally, which is vital to this story. Edwards’ passion for this project is clear, but a more ranged cast could’ve better brought it to screen.
There’s a ton of greatness within The Creator that somehow is never fulfilled. Dynamic action sequences reach the heights of its grand concepts and beautiful world, but when that world is filled with a hollow script, standard dialogue, and stunted scenes, nothing the characters do creates an earned emotional payoff. It’s utterly confusing how director Gareth Edwards has proven himself a capably thought-provoking director within the Sci-Fi realm, yet produced such a confoundingly frustrating original project. I wanted so badly to connect to these characters, but unfortunately, all I ended up with is my most disappointing film of the year.
The Creator is a hard movie for me to criticize because it's clear to me that director/co-writer Gareth Edwards put his heart into this as opposed to other factory-made sci-fi flicks (I'm looking at you, Quantumania). The visuals are breathtaking at times, from the visual effects to Greig Fraser's cinematography, but sadly, the writing falls flat. The world-building could've used more work, as well as the character writing, the lack of which made the film feel like a bit of an emotional void. There's an excellent movie in here somewhere, but in the end, Edwards' good intentions don't succeed.
In the age of reboots and sequels, The Creator tells an original, ambitious story. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air, but it’s not perfect. The art direction and cinematography are executed flawlessly, but I can’t say the same about the script. I can forgive some messy world-building and the occasional plot hole, but the blatant exposition dumps really became grating after a while. I also found that I couldn’t connect with the main character, and that some emotional beats felt unearned. It has issues, but The Creator still offers a gorgeously realized sci-fi world with enough spectacle to compensate for its uneven script.
Studios need to take note of how visually astonishing The Creator looks with just a budget of around $80mil because Gareth Edwards' futuristic vision for this original sci-fi action movie is top tier. With that said, while the movie looks amazing, it’s an empty spectacle. The emotional beats don’t dig deep, and the script is filled with several plot holes that will leave you with more questions than answers. The film will admittedly blow you away with its sheer scale, but don’t hold your breath for a layered story.
Watching The Creator feels as if you’ve been invited to a stranger’s house for a BBQ where only inside jokes are told and there is no friendly arm-around-the-shoulders to bring you in on what’s so damn funny. The plotline is littered with gaping holes, and the dialogue’s timing borders on comical. I spent much of the film in a sort of interrogative fog…Why?!...What?! That’s not to say Gareth Edwards’ film is without merit, though, as the visuals are stunning, the score is fantastic, and Madeleine Yuna Voyles’ performance manages to drum up some emotion in spite of the numerous shortcomings.
While The Creator may be “original sci-fi” in terms of not being about a known IP, the story itself is anything but. One can easily pick out derivative beats from the likes of Dances with Wolves, Independence Day, Elysium, and pretty much any movie about a dude who finds redemption through a child. Plus, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: John David Washington has zero range and cannot emote for shit. Still, all that said…and despite the plot holes and abundance of exposition…this visually stunning space actioner is better than any Avatar and most recent Star Wars offerings not named Andor.
While The Creator is visually impressive and full of epic action sequences, I appreciated its creative intentions more than the actual film. I wanted to love a somewhat original sci-fi film unrelated to superheroes or franchises, but director Gareth Edwards’ distinctive vision is let down by a script that’s riddled with plot holes and lacking in exploration of the characters beyond their utility in the war. It could have been pulled off by a stronger actor, but John David Washington just lacks the emotional range to convince me. Overall, the film is rich in visual depth, but lacks it in the emotional department.