'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Reviews Call It an "Atmospheric" Spectacle

It blows up the franchise to build a new one.

The latest dinosaur-filled summer blockbuster is nearly upon us, and even though Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom looks to destroy Isla Nubar for good, this franchise lives on with a new flick that seems genuinely better than the last if the reviews are to be believed.

Reviews for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom began pouring out on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern, and though Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t released any officially aggregated score just yet, the general consensus makes it seem like Fallen Kingdom is “Fresh.”

Three years after the disaster that destroyed the park in Jurassic World, the volcano on Isla Nubar is set to erupt, killing everything. Should humans let the dinos fade into a second blissful extinction, or save them? Familiar faces turn up to save the dinosaurs, but so do crazy scientists and cruel mercenaries looking to weaponize them. Life finds a way, like it always does in these movies, but people who want to control the dinosaurs also find a way.

Here’s what the reviews say:

Chris Pratt's Owen encounters the same T. rex that's been around for decades.

Universal Pictures

Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty writes that “Fallen Kingdom is exactly the kind of escapist summer behemoth you want it to be” until the “final half-hour” full of “forehead-slapping absurdity.” Nashawaty reminds his readers that the first Jurassic World was “a ridiculous movie, which came with its own meme of ridiculousness: the image of Bryce Dallas Howard’s heroine sporting a towering pair of high heels while being chased by prehistoric predators.”

The image of Howard instead wearing combat boots in Fallen Kingdom is indicative of how self-aware the movie is of its own deliberate course correction, but her introductory shot also begins at her feet (supposedly).

Much like its immediate predecessor, this sequel requires a willing suspension of disbelief, because its equally as fun as it is ridiculous: “idealism butts heads with greed,” writes Nashawaty, “children will be put in peril, doublecrosses will be doublecrossed, and a menagerie of various CG raptors and rexes pop up to serve well-timed scares for younger moviegoers.”

The new hybrid monstrosity that gets cooked up for 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'.

Universal Pictures

Richard Lawson, for Vanity Fair, noted in his review that “J.A. Bayona adds some sub-genre flair” to Fallen Kingdom, and he even confirms that the film’s first half feels like a “petty perfunctory rehash of 1997’s The Lost World.”

But Lawson argues that the back-half of Fallen Kingdom gets interesting by investing in vibes that make it feel like “a spooky mansion movie, rainy and atmospheric and full of creeping shadows.” Where the previous movie went too big and ridiculous, Fallen Kingdom seemingly opts for smaller, more personal stakes and stories.

As Isla Nubar succumbs to an erupting volcano and only a select few dinosaurs get saved, the film seems to wonder if they — and this franchise — are better left off dead.

Seeing dinosaurs outside the park has always been fun, and it still is in 'Fallen Kingdom'.

Universal Pictures

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore also notes the tighter focus for Fallen Kingdom, noting that director J.A. Bayona succeeds by “treating monsters like actual characters and trapping us in a vast mansion that’s as full of secrets as the site of his breakthrough 2007 film The Orphanage.” The franchise has seemingly returned to bonafide horror rather than bombastic summer sci-fi blockbuster, which is a welcome pivot after Jurassic World.

Some things, namely gender roles, seem like they remain: “Claire has grown up a lot since her debut as Jurassic World’s soulless corporate climber,” DeFore writes, “but she remains a damsel in distress who (this time, as last) gets to perform a single far-fetched heroic feat when things are at their most dire.”

DeFore does tease that despite being a tighter and more thrilling outing overall that literally blows everything up, the “closing scenes seem intent on something far bigger, like a Planet of the Apes-style saga that has barely begun.”

From the way things are starting to sound, then you have every right to look forward to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

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