The Greatest Showman Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman concluded his tenure as Wolverine earlier this year with the release of Logan, but he's ending 2017 by returning to his musical roots with The Greatest Showman. The movie follows Jackman's P.T. Barnum as he puts together the circus that will one day be known as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the cast also includes Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson, among others. For those not interested in watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi another time or checking out Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Greatest Showman is now another major movie option before the year is over. However, as far as critical reaction goes, the Jackman-led musical appears to be a decidedly mixed experience.

Starting off, we have CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell, who awarded The Greatest Showman three out of five stars and noted how the movie is at its strongest when, appropriately, the songs are blasting. As he put it:

The Greatest Showman is better off when it's bombastically belting out memorable tunes and begging the audience to bop along in their seats. And that happens often.

Expressing similar views, Helen O'Hara from Empire gave The Greatest Showman the same star rating, saying that while the story stumbles at certain points, Hugh Jackman's performance and the songs are what will hook audiences.

It may not be quite the greatest show on Earth, but Gracey, Jackman and the entire cast are deeply committed to entertaining and leave you feeling an old-school musical thrill.

However, some reviewers felt more negatively about The Greatest Showman. For instance, Peter Travers from Rolling Stone felt that although there was a good movie buried within, it failed to surface in the final product.

Amazingly, a virtuoso Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, spare-no-expense production values and a score by Oscar (La La Land) and Tony (Dear Evan Hansen) winners Ben Pasek and Justin Paul add up to a shrill blast of nothing.

Next we have Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair, who declared that The Greatest Showman isn't a total flop, and while he's still "reluctantly" rooting for the movie, there were a lot of elements he didn't care for.

All my general affection for a musical trying to make it in the world can't quite cover up the stink of what I think is lying at the heart of this film.

Back to a more positive note, Time's Stephanie Zacharek appreciated The Greatest Showman's craziness and how "riotous" it was with color and song.

For sheer, go-for-broke nuttiness, The Greatest Showman stands alone in the landscape of this holiday season's crop of movies, and I urge you to give it a chance.

Finally, The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney said in his review that The Greatest Showman tries too hard to get moviegoers to get excited and appreciate the "magic."

The sawdust and sequins are laid on thick, the period flashbulbs pop and the champagne flows in The Greatest Showman, yet this ersatz portrait of American big-top tent impresario P.T. Barnum is all smoke and mirrors, no substance.

Overall, The Greatest Showman currently ranks at 50% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, so although there are plenty of other reviews you can read elsewhere, this movie rests solidly in the middle reception-wise. If you've already seen The Greatest Showman or plan to see it over the holiday break, feel free to let us know what you thought of it in the comments below. With 2017 almost over, check out our 2018 premiere guide to plan your trips to the theater next year accordingly.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.