Atlas review: Underwhelming sci-fi drama fails to hold interest

Atlas follows the titular character, who must overcome her distrust of AI to survive in a dangerous territory. The film is now streaming on Netflix.


In a world threatened by AI robot terrorists, Atlas is a top analyst at the International Coalition of Nations (ICN), a global counterterrorism organization. 

The house robot that Atlas’ mother created and raised alongside Atlas, Harlan, was the first AI terrorist who overrode his own and other AI robots’ programming. 

Harlan and the robots under his control killed millions of people before Harlan was forced to flee. Due to that, Atlas is deeply distrustful of AI.

Now, twenty-eight years later, the ICN is planning a mission to capture Harlan. Atlas joins the mission and finds herself stranded on a planet in a high-power AI suit. 

Atlas must learn to trust again and work with the suit’s computer program called Smith to make it out alive.


Atlas is a film that heavily relies on Jennifer Lopez, who plays the titular character. Lopez’s performance is passable at best. 

She receives more screen time than any other character, yet her performance fails to make a lasting impression on the audience.

Simu Liu, on the other hand, fits the part of a villainous AI robot perfectly. His performance breathes life into the character whenever he appears onscreen.


The banter between Atlas and Smith adds a touch of humor to the film. Smith’s sarcasm keeps the audience entertained when the plot fails to do so. 

Central to the film is a dilemma that is relevant to current times: the fear that AI might do more harm than good for humans, but also the fear of being left behind if one does not make use of it. 

The protagonist grapples with this throughout the film, and the audience can relate to it, as the future depicted in the film could very well be the future of humanity. 

The film also succeeds in creating a believable setting through the depiction of ARC suits, defense systems, and the planet Atlas visits.


Another significant aspect of the plot revolves around Atlas’ struggle with trust, as she finds herself unable to rely on anyone or anything. She can only change that by taking a leap of faith.

The relationship that becomes central to her character development is supposed to be meaningful and deep, but the film falls short of portraying it as such. 

In fact, it feels quite absurd, as this relationship lacks the tangible connection that is seen between Atlas and Harlan. 

This relationship fails to evoke any emotion, happy or sad, in the audience, making it difficult to empathize with Atlas. 

Similarly, while the film’s attempts to humanize AI succeed with Harlan, they fall short with Smith, who is only present as a voice.

Additionally, the action in the film also fails to impress, with the fights seeming to have been taken straight out of a video game.


Atlas is a sci-fi drama that attempts to envision the increasingly complex relationship between humans and AI in the future as AI becomes more human-like.

While this premise is interesting, the film fails to deliver on it, as it does not quite succeed in connecting with the audience or engaging them with the plot and action.

Atlas review: Underwhelming sci-fi drama fails to hold interest 1

Director: Brad Peyton

Date Created: 2024-05-24 06:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Yoon Palbong’s death in Uncle Samsik explained

More from The Envoy Web