Edgar Cochran’s review published on Letterboxd:
The agenda of inclusion is way too forced in this; I frankly don’t see common ground to be built between an African American and an Arab-American for a successful, long-term relationship. It is amusing, however, how Lebanese actor Haaz Sleiman crushed the fundamentalist views of Arab nations considering the character he portrayed. Fundamentalisms be damned to hell.
So, here comes Zhao, making an interracial, international cast of superheroes with a bigger transcendence within the MCU and a more interesting range of personal backgrounds, inner demons and fantastical abilities. The MCU’s limits of creative restrictions are very high for artists that think out of the box, and I think that’s what Zhao is facing as an important female name in the modern cinema landscape of the U.S.
The restrictions are noticeable in the screenwriting and plot evolution areas, as all directors must adapt to a huge TV-series story that keeps evolving as a movie franchise. However, the directing and framing is impressive, and the epic length is partially justified, just like with Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate (1980). Action sequences are impressively orchestrated, and the long shots allow for a deeper immersion in this world of godly dangers. It’s fine; the scope of the story allows for flexing your budget and impressionism; put it to fantastical use for the creation of a solid ensemble cast, and not take it to a Disney-level humor that keeps ruining most of the unique comic-book characters. Zhao cannot escape from the realm of the latter scenario, and builds her own macrocosm with lamentable limitations that divided audiences more than expected, between fans of the MCU and followers of Zhao’s type of cinema.
I don’t punish it as much as many do; I like the inclusion agenda, with some reservations which don’t make sense to me, but words can’t describe how much I adore Lauren Ridloff, and the fact that her father gave American Sign Language lessons to the main cast is something I’m not planning to overlook.