Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 259 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Clary Fray, a seemingly ordinary teenager, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary joins forces with a group of Shadowhunters who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York City called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. [Sony Pictures] Expand
  • Director: Harald Zwart
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Fantasy, Romance
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 130 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 35
  2. Negative: 16 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Aug 21, 2013
    Make no mistake, there will be a sequel. Clary may not wind up having the same pop-culture impact as Bella and Katniss, but like it or not, this won't be the last time you hear from her.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Aug 20, 2013
    There are elements worth celebrating. The movie is thankfully less self-serious than the mopey “Twilight” films. The Mortal Instruments revels in its own camp. But there is plenty of room for improvement. The action flick is overly long, complicated and, even by teen romance standards, cringe-worthy in its cheesiness.
  3. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Aug 21, 2013
    The movie blasts by for a while as an odd and busy slice of highly watchable garbage.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 20, 2013
    There’s so much bouncing around in tone and story that this film never really finds its footing. It flounders around trying to figure out what it should be, and never really settles on anything.
  5. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Aug 28, 2013
    Not only have we seen this all before, but we were probably hoping to not see it again.
  6. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Aug 23, 2013
    These kids have to contrive magical pretexts just to lay hands on each other, and boy, are their excuses rotten.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Patches
    Aug 20, 2013
    If only the fantasy surrounding her made a lick of sense. Here, the Muggle types are known as the “Mundane.” An apt label for a wanna-be franchise with plenty of sheen and nothing to say.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 74
  2. Negative: 26 out of 74
  1. Dec 10, 2013
    I haven't read the series, but I just finished watching 'The Mortal Instruments': 'City of Bones' and Loved it. I wish there were more supernatural movies. Its unfortunate that book lovers slam some movies that are based on the Novels they have read. When it comes to novels being produce into movies it's hard to make readers happy. Maybe that's why I'm not so much into reading as much as I am into watching a great movie or two, or three, (Trilogies Rock) I like to believe I have a pretty great taste in movies and this one should definitely be on everyone's watch list. Looking forward to watching this trilogy and will pray and hope it does not get cancelled! GO TEAM GO! I have faith you will get more followers! Expand
  2. Aug 27, 2013
    I don't know about the critics but this is a franchise based movie, with the majority of it's audience already being avid fans of the books. While it doesn't make much sense to the mundanes, let me assure you it makes total and perfect sense if you cared enough to know the back stories.

    They did the best they could in the brief amount of screen time they were allowed and from a fans point of view they not only succeeded in quoting from the book and creating the perfect atmosphere for our Shadowhunters. They were able to include every little nook and cranny that caused so many of us to fall in love with the books in the first place.
  3. Aug 21, 2013
    A great book-to-movie adaptation of an already much-loved book series. The cast is amazing and so is the plot which has no more than a few changes to it compared to the book. Expand
  4. Aug 21, 2013
    I'm rating this based purely on how much I liked the movie. If I focused on plot gaps or script awkwardness, my rating would be much lower. However, I watched this (yes, I actually watched it it, unlike, I suspect, the writers of earlier user reviews) purely for kicks. The kick of a hot young cast, with hot older supporting actors, battling it up fantasy-style in New York. The CGI was impeccable, the action fun, and the script mostly not cringe-inducing. That is more than can be said for your typical YA movie. All in all I got what I came for-- fun. Expand
  5. Aug 26, 2013
    Awful scenario stupid dialog disaster in a fiction! Yeah, action is good, but it's nowhere near enough! City of Bones is too long (too boring), mediocre movie at best. Expand
  6. Feb 1, 2014
    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was a huge disappointment, at least until the third act where it became halfway decent. The first two acts were a constant parade of exposition and action scenes with almost no time for character development. On top of that, the pacing, acting (save for the main actress), and script are fairly poor. Plot threads are set up and left dangling, possibly for the sequel or possibly because of the cut source material. Some reviews label it as the next Twilight, but to me it feels like the next Eragon. Twilight at least set time aside for characterization, though admittedly the romantic chemistry is just as bad. There are some redeeming moments, but those can't be discussed for spoiler reasons and they raise even more questions. The least that can be said about it is that it's entertaining, but the truth is that you've seen this movie before and better under many different titles. No need to waste your money on this one.

    Still better than Man of Steel, though.
  7. Dec 13, 2013
    This movie was the worst book to screen adaptation I have ever seen like, it was worse than Eragon they could have could have continued with the inheritance series movies but they chose not to, it is aso like the Percy Jackson movie they pull things from other books I mean sure its little things but still its enough to ruin the movie for you if you have actually read the books. So I don't think that Cassandra had any say in the writings for the movie what so ever and I'm pretty sure that they are supposed to consult the author of the book for her ideas on how she wants it. The only part about it that I liked was the midnight flower scene, I think that that is the only thing that they got right. Also I would have went with a different actor for Jace and Alec. So in conclusion I don't think that they should make the second book into a movie, and I'm sure that after seeing the first one Cassandra won't sell the rights to the second book. That was the only reason that they didn't continue with the Eragon movies. Expand

See all 74 User Reviews