Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    90
    In what has been a pretty remarkable career up to now, it's this performance that fully affirms Smith as one of the great leading men of his generation.
  2. The Manhattan movie of the year, Francis Lawrence's I Am Legend, offers a stunning glimpse into how the city - as we know it today - might look in 2012 if it were abandoned in 2009.
  3. The first two thirds and change of I Am Legend is terrific mindless fun: crackerjack action with gnashing vampires barely glimpsed (and scarier for that) and how’d-they-do-that New York locations that retroactively justify the traffic jams.
  4. 75
    Trouble enters only when the script overcomplicates things in the end. Until then, especially in a growling dogfight, director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) keeps you squirming.
  5. 75
    If it is true that mankind has 100 years to live before we destroy our planet, it provides an enlightening vision of how Manhattan will look when it lives on without us. The movie works well while it's running, although it raises questions that later only mutate in our minds.
  6. Smith carries it, even after the story loses its nerve. This film is the opposite of “Transformers”: It’s all about the unsettling silence, not the noise.
  7. 75
    For horror fans, Halloween came a little later than usual this year, but it was worth the wait.
  8. 75
    A scary, inventive, exciting and breathless adventure that combines the best elements of “Children of Men," “Escape from New York" and “The Road Warrior," but leaves out the worst stuff - such as the story-clogging despair and political allegory in “Children," a movie that made apocalypse look like kind of a downer.
  9. 75
    It's neither a neat little allegory about faith nor a transcendently entertaining one. I Am Legend is actually about the last man on earth played by one of the last real movie stars on earth. To be honest, Smith was all I was thinking about while I sat through I Am Legend.
  10. 75
    As Tom Hanks did in "Cast Away," Will Smith pulls off this half-insane role perfectly.
  11. The first two-thirds are classic science fiction, technologically plausible and emotionally resonant. It's only when God enters the picture that things slide downhill.
  12. In spirit, I Am Legend is caught in some abstractly doom-laden sci-fi past. For what it is, though, the film is well-done, a case of suspenseful competence trumping questionable relevance.
  13. The movie year's most expensive and ambitious sci-fi spectacular, I Am Legend, is three movies in one: a futuristic effects-o-rama, a zombie thriller and a survivalist parable. Each is better than average, and the experience is fairly gripping.
  14. 75
    While I Am Legend is reasonably absorbing, it can be difficult to focus on the film that actually made it to the screen, instead of the many versions that didn't.
  15. Smith, sporting a newly buffed physique, delivers an extraordinary performance as a man slowly coming unglued under the strain of no human contact and a constantly alternating role of hunter and prey.
  16. 70
    I Am Legend is a blockbuster like no other, one that finds its grandness in modesty. It's a star vehicle with a star who knows his place in the universe.
  17. Slick, adrenaline-fueled fun.
  18. 70
    There is something graceful and effortless about this performance (Mr. Smith's), which not only shows what it might feel like to be the last man on earth, but also demonstrates what it is to be a movie star.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Remarkably eerie yet annoyingly larded with cheap horror-film shock effects, I Am Legend stands as an effective but also irksome adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic 1954 sci-fi novel.
  20. Instead of maintaining its edgy sense of constant discomfort, the movie is compelled to make Neville as fuzzily adorable and messianic as possible.
  21. 70
    The popcorn elements are well handled, but what lingers is the sense of urban despair: watching old videotapes of the Today show, carrying on friendships with mannequins, Smith turns out to be no legend at all, just another New Yorker slowly dying of loneliness.
  22. Smith, it should be noted, has compared Neville in interviews to Job. Tone down the highfalutin references. In the end, this is a sci-fi zombie movie, folks.
  23. I Am Legend is essentially "28 Days Later" . . ., or "28 Weeks Later" . . ., only with millions more for special effects, and with nothing approaching the heart-pounding, bloodcurdling power and smarts of the two British-made yarns.
  24. 63
    Matheson's bitterly ironic ending -- which pivots on the nature of Neville's legend -- is gutted and turned into formulaic pap.
  25. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    A little more than halfway in, Legend, based on the book by Richard Matheson (which also spawned 1971's Omega Man and 1964's TheLast Man on Earth), deteriorates into a schlocky zombie horror flick and loses its steam.
  26. After its promising opening, I Am Legend devolves into a generic zombie slaughterfest.
  27. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    60
    Instead of being the science fiction masterpiece Matheson fans have been salivating for since the 80s (when Schwarzenegger was once attached), it’s just another average Hollywood popcorn flick.
  28. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    60
    While the sun shines, it’s a four-star thriller with a superb turn from Smith. When the moon rises, it’s a two-star horror cartoon with some of the worst FX we’ve seen all year. So, really, it has to average out at…
  29. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    60
    I Am Legend can't seem to make up its mind just what kind of movie it wants to be.
  30. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    60
    A big part of the reason for this movie's nose dive around the one-hour mark is that, seen up close, the Infected just aren't that scary.
  31. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    The word "mixed" isn't mixed enough to fit my response to this film.
  32. 58
    I Am Legend has one undeniably cool thing about it, namely the vision of Manhattan as a semi-feral wasteland.
  33. If you want lots of Will Smith and industrial-strength special effects, the movie delivers.
  34. 50
    The credits list a couple of dozen medical and scientific consultants. What this film really needed was a script doctor.
  35. The star, as solo practitioner, does a terrific job of holding our attention when we're not taking in surreal vistas of a deserted Manhattan that are fascinating in their own right. Still, zombies are zombies, and this nasty lot, mostly digital creations of variable quality, keep draining the distinction that the movie seeks and occasionally finds.
  36. Reviewed by: Eric Alt
    38
    Overall, I Am Legend is a wasted opportunity -- a rickety, weather-beaten framework around an otherwise strong central performance from Smith.
  37. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    30
    Unfortunately, after those first 10 minutes it’s all downhill for I Am Legend, as the film descends into a monster-movie malaise starring a horde of balding CGI monsters that look like refugees from a video game and that will scare absolutely no one, save those who worry that green-screening is ruining the movies.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 544 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 261
  1. SeanF
    Jun 7, 2009
    10
    An interesting updating of the original novel. Will Smith shows that he can actually act. Sometimes when I make that statement people give a quizickle look, but, remember that most of the film is Smith acting on his own with a dog, and he holds the audiences interest. One of the few films that brings a tear to my eye during one certain scene. However, what the hell is up with the new ending? It sucks,and also makes the film title itself nonsensical. Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2011
    5
    "I Am Legend", a horror movie starring Will Smith, could have become a better movie with the idea it pertains. However, all I saw was a monotonous movie where Will Smith was running away from infected zombie-like creatures with a unexplained horrific ending. Full Review »
  3. Feb 4, 2012
    1
    Will Smith is an especially popular actor who makes particularly bad movies. He is usually serviceable in his performance, but never any good. This film is a remake of the far more enigmatic and entertaining B-movie from the 1970s, Will Smith walks around abandoned Manhattan and tries to survive against heavily CGI vampires. There is no villain. There are no great action sequences. There aren't any great lines. It's actually boring. The only part of the movie that was somewhere good was the opening sequence where the US Military has to shoot down the Brooklyn Bridge to quarantine Manhattan because the plague is starting. But that part had nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Full Review »