Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 47
  2. Negative: 4 out of 47
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 8, 2013
    88
    Damon’s everyman workhorse is tragically sympathetic, plodding ahead against all odds. Copley is brilliant as the sadistic villain. Foster is … well, you gotta see it to believe it. In the meantime, you’ll be treated to one of the most entertaining action films of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 7, 2013
    83
    I wish that the film had more of the tasty futuristic detail promised by that dummy parole officer. I also wish that Blomkamp took us deeper into the world of Elysium.
  3. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Aug 1, 2013
    83
    With Elysium, Blomkamp has made good on the promise of "District 9" and proven that working on a bigger canvas doesn't mean compromising on smarts or aspirations to deliver tentpole sized stories with a thoughtful backbone.
  4. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Aug 22, 2013
    80
    In lesser hands, Elysium might have played like a Lib Dem manifesto with extra spaceships, but the South African filmmaker wants to explore ideas, not wave placards, and whether or not you agree with the film’s politics, the fire in its belly is catching.
  5. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Aug 6, 2013
    80
    Not perfect, but a much more satisfying Earth-in-ruins film than Oblivion or After Earth. It is a little more conventional than District 9 (what isn’t?), but confirms Blomkamp as one of the potential science-fiction greats of this decade.
  6. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Aug 5, 2013
    80
    At last, a good big film. The legacy of the summer, thus far, has been jetsam: moribund movies that lie there, bloated and beached, gasping to break even. But here is something angry and alive: Elysium.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Aug 1, 2013
    80
    Even working within a more conventional framework, Blomkamp again proves to be a superb storyteller. He has a master’s sense of pacing, slowly immersing us into his future world rather than assailing us with nonstop action, and envisioning that world with an architect’s eye for the smallest details.
  8. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Aug 9, 2013
    75
    In a summer of antiseptic effects spectacles, Elysium stands out for its grime and intensity, as well as the bluntness of its class allegory.
  9. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    Among the slew of recent futuristic hell-in-a-handbasket spectacles, Elysium takes the cake.
  10. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    Elysium proves better at social polemics than escapism, a balancing act Blomkamp managed well in District 9, with its allegory of South Africa's apartheid era.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    Decidedly more thought-provoking than most big-studio summer fare.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    This vision of a violent future makes Elysium well worth seeing, even as the conventional violence of the thriller finale makes it a missed opportunity.
  13. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    The film provides an intelligently imagined future world.
  14. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    Blomkamp's universe is a fascinating place to visit and the movie is stuffed with ideas - there's far too much here to satisfactorily explore in 109 minutes, especially when one considers that room must be made for action scenes. I departed the theater satisfied with what I'd seen but wanting more.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    With most films, that'd be enough to cut out half the potential American audience. But effective, evocative science fiction, which Elysium is, has a way of getting by with an ILA (Insidious Liberal Agenda) in the guise of worst-case dystopia.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    Like District 9, an allegory of apartheid that took four Oscar nods and put Blomkamp on the map, Elysium delivers sci-fi without dumbing it down. It's a hell-raiser with a social conscience.
  17. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 7, 2013
    75
    Elysium, the second movie from writer-director Neill Blomkamp, isn’t quite as inventive or fresh as his knockout debut, 2009’s "District 9." But the new picture is cut from the same cloth — furiously exciting sci-fi, carefully considered and loaded with allegories and social commentary.
  18. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Aug 6, 2013
    75
    Appreciate Elysium for what it is, sci-fi that’s smarter, more topical and more invigorating than most of what passes through that genre these days, and another sign that its director is the most promising chap to enter the field since the inception of Christopher Nolan.
  19. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 5, 2013
    75
    If Elysium is the brainiest Hollywood movie of the summer, it's also the most conflicted one.
  20. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 9, 2013
    70
    If Elysium isn’t the post-millennial sci-fi masterpiece I was hoping for, it has tremendous resonance and is pretty doggone good for its category.
  21. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 8, 2013
    70
    Mr. Damon brings both a weary optimism and convincing physicality to Max, who is no revolutionary. He just wants to live, and is willing to don an exoskeletal combat suit and fight robots to do it.
  22. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Aug 8, 2013
    70
    Mr. Damon’s performance helps keep the movie from sinking under the weight of its artfully constructed horrors.
  23. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Aug 8, 2013
    67
    What made “District 9” special was attention to details: You believed in the characters, their society and their surroundings. The big effects in Elysium work fine. But the people never become individuals, and the vagueness and coincidental nature of the storytelling undermine its structure.
  24. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 8, 2013
    63
    A high-low tension runs through Elysium, not only in the narrative itself, but in Blomkamp’s own cinematic language, which can be lofty one moment and gleefully pulpy the next.
  25. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 8, 2013
    63
    It’s a letdown, but this director’s still a talent to be reckoned with.
  26. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Aug 2, 2013
    63
    A cheekily gruesome and genuinely urgent entertainment, Blomkamp's latest nevertheless can't help but beg the question: Where's Snake Plissken when you need him?
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Aug 22, 2013
    60
    Nothing in the movie matches the fascination of its premise and its opening 10 minutes: the undisturbed status quo is mesmeric. Once the narrative grinds into gear, however, the film's distinctive quality is lost.
  28. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 8, 2013
    60
    Although the pulp energy that Blomkamp brings to this material makes it consistently watchable, the film doesn't feel as singular as we would have hoped.
  29. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Aug 8, 2013
    60
    This is a messy, poorly structured film, riddled with plot holes and lacking any kind of satisfying conclusion.
  30. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Aug 8, 2013
    60
    For all its simple politics, clanging dialogue, and underwritten roles—only Damon’s natural, and deepening, ability to suggest unspoken disappointment gives his character dimension—Elysium works, though never as well as it should.
  31. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 7, 2013
    60
    Unfortunately, Elysium devolves. It doesn’t address the ramifications of making everyone healthy for eternity, or what it is on Earth they’re making or digging up that fuels whatever economy is left on the space station. For such a well thought-out premise, there’s not a mention of how capitalism works in this futureworld.
  32. Reviewed by: Jane Crowther
    Aug 6, 2013
    60
    This perfectly alright actioner will entertain newcomers, while leaving Blomkamp fans in a holding pattern until his next project.
  33. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Aug 6, 2013
    60
    Hollywood loves these apocalypse-soon stories, however, because they function as blank canvases for ruin porn, and if nothing else, Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium gives us the realistically trashed tomorrow we suspect we deserve.
  34. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 6, 2013
    60
    Granted, Elysium could be more clever as it goes about its business. This is smart sci-fi, but it's not as smart as it could have been -- or as many "District 9" fans were probably hoping it would be.
  35. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Aug 2, 2013
    59
    Frankly, Elysium is a bit of a liberal’s wet dream: the good guys want accessible healthcare, while the bad guys want to do away with undocumented immigrants.
  36. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 9, 2013
    58
    Blomkamp overdoes even his best effects. (I would have welcomed more vistas of Elysium to break up the grungefest.) If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywood intends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let’s hope the studios don’t also bring back Smell-O-Rama.
  37. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 6, 2013
    58
    With Elysium, the director proves that he still has one hand on the X-Box controller; maybe he should give the allegories a rest already and just get back in the game.
  38. 50
    The action is bludgeoning. When Max gets pummeled by fists and lethal objects, we get pummeled by light and noise and rock-'em-sock-'em editing. No shrimp, though. As a narrative, "District 9" wasn't particularly original, either — in the end it was a standard conversion melodrama. But everything is better with shrimp.
  39. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 8, 2013
    50
    Kudos to Blomkamp for not shying away from social issues in his films, but here the execution doesn’t live to the intentions.
  40. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    Aug 6, 2013
    50
    While the movie may not, in the end, be so effective in tapping into our current class anxieties, that hardly seems to matter. Like a trip to Elysium, it’s a wild ride.
  41. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Aug 7, 2013
    40
    Ultimately, Elysium ends up with explosions, running gun battles, and summer non-blockbuster tedium. The outcome is never in question, and while Blomkamp has proven himself to be a master of sci-fi social commentary in the past, this dull wheel in the sky just lands with a resounding thud.
  42. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Aug 5, 2013
    40
    Damon is as buff as ever, maybe even more so... But watching him lumber through Elysium's bramble of lofty ideals is no damn fun.
  43. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Aug 1, 2013
    40
    All the interest and good will built up by the sharply conceived preliminaries is washed away in a succession of scenes that feel crushingly routine and generic, not to mentioned guided by ideological urges.
  44. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Aug 8, 2013
    38
    One of Blomkamp’s most unlikely conceits is a machine – apparently standard-issue in all of Elysium’s made-to-order McMansions – that can heal all injuries and infections at the flick of a switch. He could have used one to fix Elysium’s battered and broken screenplay.
  45. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 6, 2013
    38
    For a 99 percenter movie, then, Elysium is kind of a head-scratcher. It throws away its best opportunity for drama. It’s as if Han and Leia parked on the Death Star and started asking, “How much is a two-bedroom around here?”
  46. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 8, 2013
    30
    Blomkamp proceeds to spend the last two-thirds of his film crashing spaceships into lawns, or staging high-tech fistfights between Elysium’s stolid hero and his even duller arch-nemesis. It’s a waste of a perfectly good dystopia.
  47. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Aug 8, 2013
    30
    The result is a grim and predictable adventure saga that is not nimble but leaden. Dystopia has rarely been so dysto-pointing.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 715 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 208
  1. Aug 9, 2013
    10
    Just caught the matinee and feel a little guilty this one deserved a full price! No soph0more slump for Blomkamp I loved District 9 this to me even surpasses it.We get developed characters that we actually care about the performances by all were stellar,especially Damon as the guy we can relate to and Copley in a scene chewing performance delivering one of the best villains in recent memory,Foster was the too as the cutthroat politician .Blomkamp has balls and his vision of two separate societies one of the diseased, overpopulated planet and Elysium where the rich flourish disease free was richly brought to life truly a beautiful the effects by Weca are amazing! I bought in to this future world and the plot actually had a purpose with something to say about our modern society while still being balls to the wall entertaining and affecting its audience. Blomkamp delivers another classic go check it out i can't recommend enough Full Review »
  2. Aug 9, 2013
    3
    I just got back from the 10 o'clock screening of Elysium, and boy am I disappointed. I mean, talk about underwhelming in pretty much every way possible. There were tons of fairly sizable problems with the film, one of the most damning being the reliance on generic cookie-cutter characters (excluding Kruger, who was kinda awesome) and a convoluted chase-movie plot that lacked real motivation since the audience wasn't brought up to speed on the stakes of the mission or the endgame of the heroes.

    However, I would argue the greatest flaw of the movie is just the fact that it doesn't have a whole lot going for it. Once you get past the clever premise and fantastic world-building, the movie doesn't have a whole lot of originality to spare. Its few creative weapons concepts (like the air-burst gun and shield you see in the trailer) are only used for a few seconds a piece before being traded for something more uninspired. A few characters look promising from the get-go, like the bonkers Kruger and some of Max's gangster buddies, but all these guys end up going the safe and dull route. Even the climax of the film, which I was hoping would do something daring and different to solve the character's predicament, went the trite path of a million different feel-good endings that were nothing but convenient B.S. that wrapped up everything with a nice bow, regardless of how little sense it made.

    TL;DR

    Elysium may have a fantastic setting and some cool ideas, but its let down by blah characters, a messy story, and a lack of creativity
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 9, 2013
    4
    I'm able to suspend my disbelief a fair amount, especially if there's something to be gained from it. But I feel like Neil Blomkamp took the easy way out of every difficult situation during his first draft of the screenplay and then never went back to edit it. Almost nothing interesting happens the entire movie and every difficult situation is resolved the boring, predictable way. The main characters don't act like people, and the minor characters and robots are on screen precisely when it the plot asks for them to be there and no more. Elysium did not surprise me or make me care about anything that was happening, and the times it made me laugh were mostly from the ridiculousness of it. The thing I liked the most about the film was the cinematography, but most of that was reminiscent of District 9. In fact, District 9 was just a better movie in every single way. I recommend watching that again (or for the first time!) instead of watching Elysium. Full Review »