Netflix's The School For Good And Evil Reviews Are Online, See What Critics Are Saying About The Charlize Theron Fantasy Movie

The School For Good And Evil cast
(Image credit: Netflix)

The reviews are in for Netflix’s latest fantasy property, The School for Good and Evil. The movie is directed by Paul Feig, of Bridesmaids and The Heat fame, and stars Sofia Wylie, known for her role in the Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and Sophia Anne Caruso, who originated the role of Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice on Broadway. Supporting the ladies are big stars including Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington. It follows Wylie and Carusos' characters as they are pitted against each other after being placed in the schools of good and evil, respectively. Though it’s based on the popular YA series by Soman Chainani of the same name, the reviews for the film are mixed. 

Starting with Maya Phillips from The New York Times, she explained that there are good and evil elements to the film. She wrote that the special effects, certain points of the plot, and the world-building aren't the best. However, she did praise Wylie’s performance along with the A-list older cast members, specifically Theron, Michelle Yeoh, and Laurence Fishburne. She wrote: 

So what Netflix’s “The School for Good and Evil” attempts — to draw from and pervert cookie-cutter hero and villain stories in a novel way — is a task so monumental that it can’t measure up. The film, adapted from the young adult book series by Soman Chainani and directed by Paul Feig, is a mess of contradictions: a muddle of clichés and inconsistencies with just enough charm and cleverness to keep you watching.

While there were aspects of the film Phillips enjoyed, David Ehrlich at Indie Wire did not like the movie at all, calling it a ripoff of the Harry Potter movies in the headline. He discussed the parallels to the popular series about the wizarding world, and then also pointed out the various clichés The School for Good and Evil fumbles into. He wrote: 

Paul Feig’s star-studded The School for Good and Evil — which is pretty much just Harry Potter recast with princesses, fairies, and a random assortment of literary characters from the public domain — might be the most aggressively convoluted YA movie I’ve ever seen.

Sticking with the Harry Potter comparisons, Peter Debruge at Variety said the movie felt like it “recycled from J.K. Rowling’s superior wizarding school.” However, he did compliment the costume design, though that was really it. His main point was the film tried to tackle too much, writing: 

Sure, it’s a Harry Potter rip-off, but had Feig taken the time to let the film breathe, it might have stood on its own. Unlike Hogwarts, where fresh surprises lay waiting around every corner, this school seems to exist in concept only — and not a particularly good one at that.

Meanwhile, Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film was not nearly as offended by the film as the last two critics. She described the film as “charmingly silly” and a “frothy and fun time.” She complimented the performances of the two leading ladies, while also pointing out some of the film's flaws, the biggest one being it’s too long. While most of these critics have compared it to Harry Potter Bui took a different route, writing: 

Most viewers will probably make an immediate comparison between The School of Good and Evil and another beloved YA fantasy franchise set at a magical school: Harry Potter. But in reality, the closest comparison is the cheesy, surprisingly delightful Mike Mitchell movie Sky High. Like Sky High, The School of Good and Evil is more subversive satire than straightforward fantasy, and while Feig's film isn't quite that clever or original, it is occasionally quite funny.

Christy Lemire at Roger Ebert wrote that the movie feels “overstuffed.” She wrote that there are lots of interesting points the film could focus on, but its big flaw is it tries to focus on them all rather than choosing one. She compliments the performances of Wylie and Caruso as well as the over-the-top sets and costumes. However, in the end, it just tired to do much, and she gave it 2.5 stars. 

This massive, magical adventure is also way too long at 2 ½ hours, but rarely in that running time do we see any glimmers of the kind of singular filmmaking wizardry that usually makes Paul Feig’s movies so engaging. He’s once again telling a story of female friendship, with all its highs and lows and particular complications, as he has with Bridesmaids, The Heat, and A Simple Favor. And, of course, the clothes are dazzling; the famously sartorial director would never skimp in that department.

Well there you have it, the consensus seems to be mixed to negative when it comes to The School for Good and Evil. However, there was agreement that the film is visually stunning, especially the costumes. 

You can check out The School for Good and Evil with a Netflix subscription, and make sure to check out the 2022 movie schedule to stay in the know about other movies coming out throughout the year. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.