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Netflix’s ‘Atlas’ – A Familiar But Predictable Story About AI

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On May 24, Netflix premiered its latest feature film, Atlas, starring Jennifer Lopez as Atlas Shepherd, a highly intelligent analyst with a grudge against AI, and people in general. In the aftermath of a war caused by an AI called Harlan (Simu Liu), Atlas becomes part of a mission off-world to find him and capture him. After a devastating attack by Harlan’s forces, Atlas finds herself stranded with little time to survive needing to depend on a mech suit and the AI contained inside. 

Netflix’s ‘ATLAS’. Photo: Netflix

If any of this sounds at all familiar, it’s for good reason. The Terminator franchise, iRobot, the Alien franchise, Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ex Machina, The Matrix, Robocop, and, heck! Even Wall-E have played with the concept of AI getting out of control. So in that respect, there is no new ground made on the topic. But where Atlas does shine is the actual AI that engages with with our main character because it is downright delightful. The suit’s AI, Smith (Gregory James Cohen), acts as a counterpart to Atlas who not only helps her survive but also conquer the demons of her past. Smith challenges her and provides a source for humor in contrast to Atlas’ rude and rigid demeanor. 

Simu Liu as Harlan in ‘ATLAS’. Photo: Netflix

Unfortunately, even with top billing of noticeable names like Jennifer Lopez, Mark Strong, Simu Liu, Abraham Popoola, and Sterling K. Brown, many of them were either not fleshed out very well or very underutilized.

Overall, Atlas is a paint by numbers CGI heavy action/sci-fi film about robots. There is heart, and some fun moments of action. But it’s not nearly enough to garner a second viewing. With that, Atlas received a 5.5 out of 10 rating.

Netflix’s Atlas is streaming now.

Tony Abdullah
Tony Abdullahhttps://nerdinitiative.com
Better known as “MrMARVELite” on TikTok, Tony is a die-hard MARVEL fan, comic book historian, pop culture connoisseur and content creator in the truest sense of the word. Combining his vast knowledge of the MCU and comics with his overflowing passion for connecting and collaborating with other creators, MrMARVELite has quickly blazed his own trail and forged a hugely loyal and engaged fanbase. Tony is the co-host of the Reel Study Podcast. He is a proud husband and father to a very hyper little boy.

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