Amidst the comic book movies, fantasy blockbusters and awards contenders releasing this fall is a star-studded film that looks weirder and more intriguing than many of them. Bad Times at the El Royale is the second feature film helmed by writer-director Drew Goddard, who made his directorial debut with 2012's The Cabin in the Woods. The trailers for the film have been a strange brew of a mysterious plot, colorful characters and fun dialogue. The initial reviews for the film are in, so does it live up to its cast and trailers? It seems that for the most part, it does.
CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell caught Bad Times at the El Royale early like many critics. You can read his initial thoughts in his tweet reaction, but overall, he seemed to still really enjoy the movie and feel that it is definitely worth your time, despite having some issues with the ending. As for full reviews, Collider's Haleigh Foutch really seemed to love the film, giving it an A- in her review, where she highlighted Bad Times at the El Royale's sumptuous visuals and perhaps something you wouldn't expect, its heart.
Goddard's spin on the crime thriller is all heart (and Hemsworth hips), making his visually stunning love-letter to pulpy pop culture a propulsive, cinematic rush.
In her alliterative take, Haleigh characterized Drew Goddard's film as both visually stunning and propulsive. It's that latter point that seems to be one of the points of contention about the film. Some reviews didn't find the film propulsive enough, calling it overly long or a slog. Despite that potential pacing problem, ScreenRant's Molly Freeman still found the juice to be worth the squeeze thanks to how entertaining the film and its stellar cast are, saying:
Bad Times at the El Royale is a deliciously entertaining, if sometimes slow, love letter to film noir from director Drew Goddard elevated by the cast.
The large cast full of talented, big name actors spouting fun dialogue is one of the most compelling things about Bad Times at the El Royale, and based on many of the reviews like this one for the film, that cast did not go to waste. However, there were some dissenting opinions. For The Hollywood Reporter's Sheri Linden, the film seemed to be all style and no substance, with the length once again being an issue.
Somehow Bad Times at the El Royale, with its starry cast, dazzling design and handsome cinematography, is more of a slog than it has any right to be, the artifice turned up so high that it overwhelms the story instead of igniting it.
Overall, the prevailing theme that I see is that Bad Times at the El Royale is not a perfect movie, but it does have a lot to like. There are very few people that seem to loathe it with many appreciating it despite its flaws. Jim Vejvoda at IGN seems to sum this up in his review.
Bad Times at the El Royale may overstay its welcome a bit, and it never realizes the potential of its villain, but it's still an engrossing, well-made crime flick bolstered by several fine performances from its ensemble cast.
Right now Bad Times at the El Royale is sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, but plenty more reviews will come in once the film opens on October 12. Check out our release schedule to see all the biggest movies still to come in 2018.