The Cloverfield Paradox is the third film in the Cloverfield franchise, and has one of the best marketing campaigns or lack thereof that I’ve ever seen. With 10 Cloverfield Lane we got the trailer just a month before release, but Paradox ups the ante by releasing the movie just hours after we see the trailer air on a Super Bowl ad spot. But does the Paradox live up to the hype of the other two Cloverfield movies? Not Really.
Although this film was marketed in a fairly small amount of time, it promised to answer questions about why the original Cloverfield happened. It somewhat does that I guess, but you end up with more questions than answers when the credits roll. This film screws up the Cloverfield timeline to X-Men esque levels.
At its best, The Cloverfield Paradox is a serviceable space thriller. At its worst, it is a narratively flawed movie with some good acting and subpar character development. The lead character played by Gugu Mbatha Raw is the only one that we get any kind of significant information about. We learn about her background and the film occasionally cuts to her husband back on Earth where some sort of disaster is happening. While the film does spend some time introducing us to her character, it is hard to really get behind her or care about the decisions she makes. The entire cast especially Raw do a great job with the material they are given, but it’s really just not enough to save the movie.
I really call into question most of major plot points in Cloverfield Paradox. Everything gets so convoluted it is easy for the viewer to get lost. Paradox poses a lot of questions in its narrative, but never bothers to answer or give clues to explain anything that happens. This film has some incredibly lazy storytelling. One character knows where a gun is even though she was not in the room when it was hidden. A character loses an arm and the arm develops a mind of its own. Some of the decisions that are made just really don’t work. If you saw the movie Life from last year you have pretty much seen most of this movie. Life would have made a better Cloverfield prequel and a lot of things from that movie seem to end up having some influence on Paradox.
Overall, The Cloverfield Paradox isn’t an awful movie, it’s entirely watchable and not the worst way to spend an hour and a half. It tries to get by on the Cloverfield name, but does more to diminish it than anything else. It is hard to be disappointed by a movie that had just heard of hours before, but somehow I was with Paradox. Again, it isn’t a terrible movie, but I can see why Paramount avoided a theatrical release.