Why Army Of Thieves’ Reviews Are So Mixed
Army of Thieves is getting mixed reviews, with some saying it’s a fresh take on the heist genre, with others saying it’s an unoriginal retread.
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Army of Thieves has seen a mostly positive reception in reviews, earning a “Fresh” score in Rotten Tomatoes, but thanks to a fair mix of more negative reviews, the score is on the lower end of the Fresh spectrum at 69%. So far, the score for the Zack Snyder produced movie is actually a bit more positive than its already released sequel, Army of the Dead, which was also directed by Snyder, although it only has a slight lead on Army of the Dead’s 67%, and that very well could change with time.
While it’s set in the same universe as Army of the Dead, Army of Thieves takes a drastically different tone, thanks to the Matthias Schweighöfer taking the helm as director. The movie is a romantic heist comedy mashup, taking a bit of a departure from Snyder’s darker, more violent Army of the Dead, although there’s still at least some stylistic consistency between the two films, with liberal use of soft-focus and the slow and fast motion speed ramping Snyder’s films are famous for.
The two movies may be in the same universe and have similar review scores, but the reasons for the scores aren’t remotely the same. While Army of the Dead was praised by some for its innovative production techniques and genre-busting zombie action, it was criticized for being too long and having an uneven pace. Army of Thieves, on the other hand, is being praised for its quirky humor and fun characters, serving as a fun Army of the Dead prequel that doesn’t require you to have seen (or enjoyed) Army of the Dead to enjoy Army of Thieves. Here’s some of the positive reviews:
Army of Thieves is quite the triumph. It expertly subverts prequel expectations all while being a fun piece to a larger puzzle. If this film is any indication of the quality of work that will build up the Army of the Dead universe, then it is safe to say that we are about to get a really interesting franchise with each installment carrying its own unique characteristics.
The truth is, audiences can watch Army of Thieves and enjoy it whether they’ve seen Army of the Dead or not. Thieves only makes Dead better, yet they’re drastically different films. Thieves borrows a lot more of Schweighöfer’s voice, replacing a lot of the violence with funny and often heartfelt moments.
Next Best Picture:
This could have been just another heist movie, but instead, there’s a sense of fun rather than a danger to it. The film stylistically matches its light tone with a fun, bouncy score. It’s wrapped up in a romance, complete with a love triangle that adds more emotional moments… It’s not the most engaging romance, but the novelty of it within this movie helps it.
…“Army of Thieves” is content to dig into its heist DNA over everything else… That means unique, clever heists on a fast rotation, big twists, and major revelations, and some genuinely accomplished chase scenes (one that sees Schweighöfer evading the police on a bicycle is silly, serious, special, and fun — the film’s best qualities.)
“Army of Thieves” is one of those bombastically blithe and fanciful Netflix action movies, in this case with a romantic heart. There are no zombies in it, unless you count the ones that pop up in a couple of dream sequences. But the movie points its way to the zombie apocalypse in Vegas, and to the temptation that awaits there…
Overall, I had a blast with Army of Thieves. While it doesn’t have any zombie action, it’s nonetheless a jaunty, energy test movie that should win a lot of fans once it hits Netflix later this week. Heck, even if you hated Army of the Dead, you might dig this one.
There’s plenty of room for character and world building, but none of it gets in the way of Army of Thieves acting as an insanely entertaining stand-alone. With the formation of a franchise always being a touchy matter, any decision to expand a story can be a blessing or a curse. In this case, Army of Thieves absolutely breaks the bank with charm and style…this movie isn’t interested merely interested in making off with a score; it’s all about having fun and proving itself because it can.
However, despite the praise in positive reviews, Army of Thieves also attracted some criticism, with some reviewers even seeing positive characteristics mentioned in the above reviews, such as how little Army of Thieves depends on the larger Army of the Dead universe to work, as a negative trait, criticizing it for not justifying its existence in a larger shared universe or having enough Easter eggs and other shared universe connections. Some negative reviews also criticize the movie for not bringing enough fresh ideas to the heist genre or for not fully developing the main romantic relationship.
While not without charm, the biggest factors working against Army of Thieves are a confused hybrid of horror and heist genre stories and an approach making it unclear which audience – other than the most ardent of Zack Snyder fans – it’s aimed at.
Fans of “Army of the Dead” are likely to find a lot to like about the prequel; and fans of heist tales might find this one enjoyable enough. Schweighöfer does have a memorable screen presence, and this film is well made, as formulaic pictures so often are. But this one never fully justifies its existence, or its expense. It’s a big movie with skimpy ideas.
The mood is light throughout and Schweighöfer is likable as a would-be thief with a heart of gold, but “Army of Thieves” never makes a convincing case for its own existence. It’s a reminder that not every bank job is worth taking on.
While some of the reviews are outright negative, many of them conclude Army of Thieves is simply “fine,” but with so many stellar heist films in existence and a glut of competing content, the negative reviews assert that it just doesn’t stand out enough to be a priority. Some reviewers found the comedy really funny, some said it was hit and miss, and others said it was grating. Some say the approach to heist movie approach is fresh and enjoyable, others say it’s derivative and unoriginal. Clearly mileage will vary.
Obviously, reviews are all subjective, but especially with this split in opinion it seems like each viewer will have their own preferences, but anyone already invested in this franchise or Snyder’s movies is sure to enjoy it, and even some people who didn’t like Army of the Dead or Snyder’s filmography could find something to enjoy. Since Army of Thieves is just the second film in the franchise, with more coming, it’ll be interesting to see how the growing universe is received going forward!