The first reviews for the big-budget Netflix action outing, The Gray Man, are now in. So, how does the streaming giant’s latest attempt to launch an action franchise fare? Led by Hollywood heavy hitters Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, many reactions to The Gray Man have been hugely positive, thanks largely to its no-nonsense explosions and 80s action movie attitude.
Empire Magazine’s John Nugent awards The Gray Man a seriously impressive rating of 4/5, heaping praise on the movie’s entertainment value and the unending charm of its two A-list leads.
“Tinkering with the spy-action wheel rather than reinventing it, this is a pacy, ruggedly entertaining romp, with a punchy pair of lead turns from Gosling and Evans.”
Charlotte O’Sullivan of the London Evening Standard also gifts The Gray Man with a rating of 4/5 and commending the Netflix outing for being an action movie “hoot” despite its somewhat shallow approach.
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“This is not a film weighed down by the need to be deep. But, dear Lloyd, it’s a hoot.”
These sentiments are echoed by Screen Rant’s Molly Freeman, who similarly praised The Gray Man for leaning into the uncluttered action mayhem of the 1980s. With all the cheesy dialogue, big explosions, and entertaining villainy that one could hope for.
“The Gray Man is a spiritual throwback to 80s/90s action movies, with pulse-pounding fight scenes, delightfully cheesy dialogue & wickedly fun villain.”
The positivity continues courtesy of Variety’s Peter Debruge, who declared that Netflix viewers are the real winners saying, “Production budgets swell, stock prices go down, but Netflix subscribers are the big winners in this Bond-level summer blockbuster from the Russo brothers.” Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt meanwhile rated The Gray Man a B- saying, “It’s red-meat candy, a Bourne Identity for brains thoroughly trained in over-stimulation, and already long gone on summer holiday.”
Not Everyone Has Been Charmed by The Gray Man’s No-Nonsense Action Thrills
Sadly, the simple action on display has not charmed everyone. While Rolling Stone’s David Fear was almost enamored by The Gray Man, he could not help but wish things had been better.
“The Gray Man wants to remind you of what an old-school dopamine dump these types of entertainments are, and it has what seems to be the necessary ingredients to do it. Which, to be honest, only makes you wish this was tighter, tauter, tougher, better.”
Simon Abrams of TheWrap also left The Gray Man unimpressed, even calling the movie “forgettable” despite the presence of Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.
“An expensive (and expensive-looking) Netflix-produced action caper that sets the two marquee-topping actors against each other for instantly forgettable reasons.”
In fact, David Ehrlich of indieWire felt that The Gray Man wastes a talent of Ryan Gosling’s caliber saying, “Gosling is a great choice to play an implosive spy with a good heart and some long-suppressed family issues, and yet the character’s mottled contours are buried too deep to feel.” Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore was equally unconvinced concluding, “While the movie itself may prove nearly as unmemorable as its hero ostensibly wants to be, it’s anything but inconspicuous.”
Finally, Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw manages to sum up exactly what many of these critics felt about the lackluster action flick.
“There’s plenty of gonzo action but no heart and no real dramatic voltage.”
Based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney, The Gray Man follows Ryan Gosling as Court Gentry, the CIA’s most skilled mercenary who, after accidently uncovering dark agency secrets finds himself pursued by Chris Evans’ Lloyd Hansen, a psychopathic former colleague.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, The Gray Man is set for a limited release on July 15, 2022, followed by its release on Netflix on July 22, 2022. If you fancy a no-nonsense action movie, it sounds like The Gray Man could be just what you’re looking for.