Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 28, 2011
    83
    This movie, saddle sores and all, is a lot of fun.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Aug 1, 2011
    80
    A simple entertainment in a summer of overcomplicated disappointments. Also much harder-edged than you may have expected.
  3. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Jul 24, 2011
    80
    The key to its success lies in the determination by everyone involved to play the damn thing straight. Even the slightest goofiness, the tiniest touch of camp, and the whole thing would blow sky high. But it doesn't.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 24, 2011
    80
    While Cowboys & Aliens offers little in the way of sociological insight (except perhaps giving the white man a taste of his own resource-stealing medicine), it's still a ripping good ride.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 29, 2011
    75
    This midsummer crowd-pleaser from the ateliers of Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard is still a great deal more rip-roaring fun than, say, the campy movie version of "The Wild Wild West."
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    Take a cowboy movie, add space aliens. That's a gimmick that could easily have exhausted itself after 20 minutes, but director Favreau, a team of screenwriters and some well-cast actors keep it alive, and the result is a crowd-pleasing summer movie with more wit than most.
  7. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    The movie is plainly entertaining, with a terrific cast and a fast-moving story helping you overlook the dialogue's frequent failure to crackle.
  8. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    Director Jon Favreau keeps the tone light but, aside from the occasional low-key gag or one-liner, the humor is never allowed to upstage the more serious elements.
  9. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    The component genre parts coexist, excitingly, without veering into camp or facetious desperation. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 27, 2011
    75
    Cowboys & Aliens has without any doubt the most cockamamie plot I've witnessed in many a moon.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 27, 2011
    75
    A hell-for-leather action film with a healthy serving of scares. 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.
  12. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 27, 2011
    70
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 29, 2011
    63
    A film that is neither great nor horrible. Favreau does enough things right in Cowboys & Aliens to churn out a mostly enjoyable bit of mindless summertime action, just not enough to come close to rivaling his 2008 crowd-pleaser "Iron Man."
  14. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 28, 2011
    63
    A loving throwback to the classic westerns and sci-fi adventures of yore, this celebration of two of cinema's most revered genres doesn't stint in lavishing their most cherished conventions with even-handed affection and respect.
  15. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 28, 2011
    63
    Neither fish nor fowl (nor extraterrestrial), and that's a problem. Craig, handsomely craggy, plays it straight, and like Eastwood's Man With No Name, he doesn't have much to say.
  16. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jul 27, 2011
    63
    That it lacks the snap, crackle and kapow of the summer's better comic book blockbusters isn't surprising. With all this effort riding on a big, expensive and rushed studio summer picture, the real miracle is that any of them come to life.
  17. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jul 27, 2011
    60
    Like the Inuit and their many words for "snow," Jake has a thousand squinty faces and they all mean "Bugger off."
  18. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jul 26, 2011
    60
    Director Jon Favreau's experiment in genre crossbreeding - a Western-sci-fi mashup pumped full of inspirational all-in-this-together spirit - is a cute, crowd-pleasing idea, though more decadent than a revitalization of either genre.
  19. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 27, 2011
    58
    Cowboys & Aliens has fun moments, but it's a plodding entertainment because it mostly tastes like leftovers.
  20. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jul 31, 2011
    50
    That is what kids will come away with, together with a dose of wishful thinking: the vague belief that, with good will and a foe from far away, all those feuding parties of the Wild West - the cowboys, the Indians, and the no-good rogues - could have settled their differences and got along just fine. Go tell it to Gary Cooper.
  21. Reviewed by: Josh Levin
    Jul 29, 2011
    50
    Instead of merging the Western and the sci-fi genre to form some new, transcendent class of popcorn fare, Cowboys & Aliens just regurgitates the conventions of both genres. Double the high concept, quadruple the clichés.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    Gradually, though, the movie sinks into ordinariness, serving up too many Spielbergian reaction shots of each cast member gawking or gulping at an alien encounter, and too many moral lessons that must be learned or taught.
  23. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    Playing a variation on John Wayne's character from "Red River," Harrison Ford gives an understandably bewildered performance, often appearing uncertain if he should take his lines seriously.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    It looks slick, pricey and starry – Indiana Jones teams up with James Bond for a gunfight with space demons. But even Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig can't save a movie that's all concept, no content.
  25. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    For better or worse (and I'd argue the latter), the aliens are as monolithically evil, unformed, and un-individuated as characters as Native Americans once were in the earliest of Westerns.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Holleman
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    It would have been nice if Cowboys & Aliens had come come up with the right equation to balance originality and homage. But in the end, it all turned into trigonometry.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    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.
  28. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 27, 2011
    50
    Dialogue is terse and predictable, and the sci-fi thriller portion is even less compelling than the Western saga.
  30. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 27, 2011
    50
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Jul 29, 2011
    45
    Based on a graphic novel, Cowboys & Aliens never quite transcends the flat dimensions of its source material.
  32. 40
    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.
  33. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jul 28, 2011
    40
    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.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 28, 2011
    40
    The sole treasure of Cowboys & Aliens is that director Jon Favreau ("Iron Man") has fashioned an actual rawhide ride from a graphic novel (that took six writers to wrangle to the screen).
  35. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jul 27, 2011
    40
    Favreau's direction is so boulder-heavy-the action sequences, especially the climactic assault on the alien mothership, are an eye-and-ear-shattering mess-that the small moments of poetry...are lost amid too much digital sound and fury.
  36. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Jul 24, 2011
    40
    It's easy to like the cast - thanks as much to their previous work as anything on screen here - but with such a convoluted, illogical and dull story, no one fares particularly well.
  37. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Jul 28, 2011
    38
    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.
  38. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 28, 2011
    30
    A leaden mash-up of western and science-fiction elements that ends up noisy, grotesque and unappealing.
  39. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 28, 2011
    30
    Cowboys versus aliens is a concept that may make you smile in anticipation, but wipe that smile off your face before buying your ticket.
  40. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 29, 2011
    25
    Every summer movie season usually has at least one spectacular, disastrous flame-out, and although the dog days of August still loom, I doubt there will come a big-budget blockbuster worse than Cowboys and Aliens.
  41. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jul 26, 2011
    25
    Brandishing a literal-minded title as laughable as the rest of its action, Cowboys & Aliens mashes up genres with a staunch dedication to getting everything wrong, making sure that each scene is more inane than the one that preceded it.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 363 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 82 out of 140
  2. Negative: 22 out of 140
  1. Sep 7, 2011
    6
    Yes, the movie's plot is PREPOSTEROUS with a f*cking huge "P". The mix of SF and the west was a impossible task for Jon Favreau (since heYes, the movie's plot is PREPOSTEROUS with a f*cking huge "P". The mix of SF and the west was a impossible task for Jon Favreau (since he makes great movies that have shallow depth like Iron man). However surprisingly he succeeds in presenting a great movie thanks to the dark atmosphere with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford's cool performances. Though I felt the 'Western" part of the movie was significantly stronger than the "SF" and that the director could have just focused on the Western part and make the movie "Cowboys" without the "aliens". Full Review »
  2. Aug 5, 2011
    2
    Jesus. This movie is so overwhelmingly mediocre. C&A is a prime example of Hollywood cashing in on overly bland and unoriginal movies thatJesus. This movie is so overwhelmingly mediocre. C&A is a prime example of Hollywood cashing in on overly bland and unoriginal movies that have so much hype built up on them (and a ridiculously unnecessary budget). Jon Favreau is an extremely overrated director with no originality whatsoever. Boring cinematography. Boring script. Boring editing. Seen-that-before action sequences. And questionable casting (Olivia Wilde with her im-trying-too-hard-to-be-serious expressions and dialogue, and Daniel Craig, the Englishman who you can easily tell is trying oh so hard to cover up his accent). The story is FULL of action movie cliches that make the following scenes hugely predictable. The Aliens: not scary, that **** has been done before, and MUCH better. Favreau tries to make the movie out to be epic and dramatic, but it sadly ends up being another run-of-the-mill ****ty summer action movie. But, I'm sure this movie will gross millions and millions of dollars and the "public" will say that it's a "great movie, so entertaining and funny!" and blah blah blah. The dialogue is boring as hell and some scenes are so over-acted that it almost feels as if they are making a parody of themselves. If you have any sense of the many possible quality that defines a movie as "good", stay away from this one. If you want to sit for two hours and have your intelligence insulted with unoriginality and bland mediocrity, go see it. I was anxiously waiting for this movie to come to its predictable, dumb ending, so I could GTFO out the theater.
    I know that this movie was intended to be just an entertaining summer blockbuster, but jesus, actually make it worth my time and bring SOMETHING new to the table. This movie had virtually nothing to offer, which ultimately made it completely unentertaining and pointless.
    Full Review »
  3. drm
    Jul 30, 2011
    8
    When I read Roger Ebert's review of this, it went something like this, "Why couldn't this have just been a western?" At the time, I thoughtWhen I read Roger Ebert's review of this, it went something like this, "Why couldn't this have just been a western?" At the time, I thought that was kind of a harsh review, since I know of his childhood bias toward western cinema. He's right though. This totally could have stood on it's own without science fiction assistance. Daniel Craig is so f***ing cool in this movie. Harrison Ford is too. It's almost like too many dope actors got trapped in 'ordinary film syndrome'. Please don't misunderstand, I liked this movie, and I had fun watching it. I think people beat up Olivia Wilde too hard. She is very beautiful, but this role didn't really exploit her talents correctly. I could go on and on about the ways modern film makes female leads ineffective, compared to their 20th century counterparts, but that's a whole other thing. Bottom line, this was fun. Go see it. :] Full Review »