The year 2019 and 2020 treated Tom Holland very well, giving him plenty to do in terms of testing out his different acting muscles. From voice roles in Spies in Disguise and Onward to more intense live-action work as seen in The Devil All The Time, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the English thespian has quite the range.
He clearly plans to continue pushing his limits in 2021, as evidenced by his involvement in the dystopian thriller Chaos Walking and the crime drama Cherry. However, it appears as though these projects won’t ascend to the top of his filmography any time soon.
According to many critics, neither of them is worth the price of admission or the time required to watch them. Here’s where they feel both Cherry and Chaos Walking missed the mark.
Critics think Cherry is all flash and no substance
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On paper, Cherry had all the tools needed to become a massive success. With Tom Holland in the lead role, the Russo Brothers — the directing duo behind Avengers: Endgame — at the helm, and the highly acclaimed source material of the same name to work from, how could it have possibly gone south?
Granted, Cherry isn’t all bad, with many praising its unique aesthetic and Holland’s crazed performance, but ultimately, the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Currently resting at a disappointing 38% rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics made no bones about Cherry’s weaknesses. Brian Lowry of CNN credits Holland’s acting, but describes the feature as “an uneven film that too self-consciously works at mirroring the form of a novel.”
Kevin Harley of Radio Times refers to the plot as “predictable,” and calls the dizzying presentation of the movie “wearisome,” adding that it does nothing to enhance the story.
Meanwhile on Metacritic, Cherry holds a 46 Metascore, with many of the critical reviews echoing similar sentiments. “There’s hardly a moment in Cherry that’s believable, but the film’s true crime is that there’s hardly a moment in it that’s enjoyable either,” says Variety’s Owen Gleiberman. Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair likens Cherry’s sporadic style to a bell curve, which makes viewing the film “an exhausting experience.”
Chaos Walking left critics unimpressed and unentertained
Chaos Walking, starring Daisey Ridley of Star Wars fame alongside Tom Holland, has had quite a rough go. Originally shot in 2017, the movie had to undergo extensive reshoots following abysmal reactions at test screenings.
This prevented it from reaching its intended premiere in 2019, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a no-go as well. At long last, Chaos Walking hit the big screen in the United States on March 5, 2021, and sadly doesn’t appear worth the wait.
The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus reads “Chaos Walking sets out on a potentially interesting path, but this dystopian adventure badly bungles its premise and limps toward the finish,” justifying its rotten 25% critical score.
Glenn Kenny of The New York Times calls it “standard issue roughing-it-in-a-dystopia stuff,” and Robert Denerstein of Denerstein Unleashed laments that it “lacks sci-fi scale.” James Verniere of The Boston Herald tossed in the succinct note that “Rey Skywalker and Spider-Man deserve a better film [than] this.”
Chaos Walking doesn’t fare much better on Metacritic either, sitting at a 40 Metascore and enduring some more brutally honest reviews. Hoai-Tran Bui from Slashfilm feels it’s “a grim retread of the YA dystopian story” that fails to “elevate the genre through a darker, more ‘adult’ tone.” David Fear of Rolling Stone believes it struggles to attain the status of “high camp, where pleasure is found in the sheer badness of it all.”
Even in the face of such negative press, a handful of folks gave Holland and Ridley credit for their acting work and cited Chaos Walking’s worldbuilding as one of its strengths.
All in all, it’s fair to say that Cherry and Chaos Walking aren’t Tom Holland’s most popular titles to date. Be that as it may, each boasts its own set of positives, as well as negatives, that vary in importance from person to person. Therefore, they’re both worth checking out at least once, if for no other reason than to see for yourself how they stack up.