Cowboys & Aliens 2011

Critics score:
44 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

David Germain, Associated Press: Favreau slipped from fresh and flamboyant on "Iron Man" to lame and listless on its sequel, and there's more of the latter on "Cowboys & Aliens." Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: What makes the movie work, really, is that above and beyond the conventions themselves doing their jobs, the actors seem truly invested... Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: [Favreau] wavers uncertainly between goofy pastiche and seriousness in a movie that wastes its title and misses the opportunity to play with, you know, ideas about the western and science-fiction horror. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: The small moments of poetry ... are lost amid too much digital sound and fury. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Cowboys & Aliens is an agreeable time-killer, but I'll bet a couple of clever kids could make a livelier movie with a Woody puppet and a Predator doll. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The storytelling, punctuated by incoherent flashbacks, is often inscrutable: I'm still trying to figure out which side of the cosmos gave birth to the woman played by Olivia Wilde. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Dialogue is terse and predictable, and the sci-fi thriller portion is even less compelling than the Western saga. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Five credited screenwriters, and this is the best they can do? Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: You want cowboys and aliens in the same movie? This one's for you. If you want anything beyond what the title promises, look elsewhere. And that means even anything resembling a clever mash-up of established genres. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "Cowboys & Aliens" is exactly what it sounds like: a cowboy movie and an alien movie thrown together, a genre mash-up that's more fun than good, but pretty good nonetheless. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: It really is "Aliens'' on the open plains, "Independence Day'' for the nation's centennial, and what the movie lacks in originality and stick-to-your-ribs Western authenticity, it makes up for in pell-mell multiplex entertainment. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: The filmmakers here (who include director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), five credited writers, and countless special-effects technicians) don't seem to have agreed on whether they're paying homage to these genres or mocking them. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Alien-invasion aficionados should be pleased. Western nostalgists may be pleasantly surprised. Fans of cowboys-versus-aliens movies, well, it's been a long wait and here's your movie. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: [A] loud new action genre mash-up. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: It's just big silly fun, the kind you're supposed to have at a summer movie with a ridiculous title. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Cowboys & Aliens has fun moments, but it's a plodding entertainment because it mostly tastes like leftovers. Read more

Laremy Legel, A film that entertains, even if it doesn't live up to the full-on madness potential the title portended. Read more

Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter: It sounds kooky on paper, but on the screen, cowboys and aliens make beautiful, fun music together. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: It's hard to say what is most depressing about "Cowboys & Aliens" - the film itself, or the fact that this was the best movie a posse of major Hollywood players could come up with. Read more

Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News: There is enough to like and to savor in Cowboys & Aliens that it makes for an enjoyable two hours in the dark with a big bag of buttery popcorn. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: A stultifying pileup of nonsense and stupidity, with way too many cowboys (and Indians and Mexicans and a scrappy mutt and a cute, brave orphan) and not nearly enough aliens. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Takes itself much too seriously, with acts of brutality outnumbering the gags. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's like a double feature but with all the boring bits taken out and all the fight scenes run together. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, NPR: Favreau's film doesn't take any risks, reducing the stakes to the point where the movie descends quickly from its fun exposition to a collection of meaningless explosions and predictable action sequences. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Nothing very exciting happens. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: This sharp-looking, committee-written adaptation of a genre-splicing graphic novel wins points by frequently, smartly and affectionately tipping its hat to classic Westerns and their archetypes. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Cowboys & Aliens is one of the silliest movies ever made, but so many otherwise serious people have attached their names to it that, as Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, attention must be paid. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Tonally, the movie is off: not quite as sober and majestic as the John Ford westerns it's inspired by, nor as ironic and irreverent as, well, Favreau's two Iron Man films. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Cowboys & Aliens is a mashup of a mediocre Western and a mediocre science fiction story. The resulting film is far better than the sum of its two seemingly disparate parts. Read more

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: The Searchers meet Independence Day. Great fun. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: As preposterous moneymakers go, it's ambitious and well-made. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The mash-up of cowboys and aliens doesn't do either camp any favors. How are we supposed to work up a rooting interest when both sides are shooting blanks? Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, The movie never makes much of a case for its own existence; it's a mediocre western clumsily welded to a mediocre alien shoot-'em-up, and if you allow yourself to think about its treatment of history for as long as one second, you'll feel insulted. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: A crowd-pleasing summer movie with more wit than most. Read more

Josh Levin, Slate: It's fun to think about what Cowboys & Aliens might have been if any creativity had crept past the title page. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Action-packed yet curiously lifeless, "Cowboys & Aliens" shoots blanks. Read more

Joe Holleman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Aside from the idea of mixing two well-loved genres, there is not a single original thought. The creators seem to have turned off their creative juices after identifying as many genre set pieces as possible. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: [A] phenomenally successful two-man war against narrative clarity and continuity. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Over on the aliens side, it's hard to make out faces, but there's no doubt about their place of origin: These slimy, growling, bug-eyed and distinctly non-scary things are straight from central casting. Read more

Leah Rozen, TheWrap: Characters are so sketchily drawn that little is really at stake here. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Cowboys & Aliens could have been the tangelo of genre-blenders. Instead, it's more like the Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancake & Sausage on a Stick. Read more

Anna Smith, Time Out: What started as 'True Grit'-meets-'War of the Worlds' ends up closer to - whisper it - 'Wild Wild West'. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The movie gets by on the strength of agreeable talent who enjoy playing along and can endure the horse manure and space goo being shovelled. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: A ripping good ride. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: As in his handling of the first Iron Man, [Favreau] displays here the rare ability to patiently lay down the track along which his narrative will move, and he gets some good work from his performers. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: It may be two treats in one, but for an audience that's pigged out on spectacle all summer, that might be two treats too many. Read more