Has Netflix just wasted a couple hundred million on its most expensive movie ever in The Gray Man? It might be too early to tell but the Ryan Gosling and Chris Evan's feature has been slated by critics ahead of its premiere on the streaming service.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, best known for their work on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, The Gray Man follows CIA operative Court Gentry (Gosling), aka, Sierra Six. who becomes the target of Lloyd Hansen (Evans), a former cohort at the CIA, who will stop at nothing to take him out.
With a reported production budget of almost $200 million dollars and an all-star cast, the expectation was sky-high for the action thriller based upon the novels by Mark Greaney. So far it doesn't seem to have lived up to the hype with The Gray Man being awarded a lacklustre 49% rating from 59 critics on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) (at the time of writing).
Check out the trailer for The Gray Man below:
The blockbuster was awarded two stars from The Guardian (opens in new tab) with critic Peter Bradshaw saying that "there’s plenty of drama but no heart in this Netflix tale of CIA assassins". This was echoed by The Telegraph (opens in new tab)'s Robbie Collin who said "Netflix squanders millions on an action film that’s more bland than Bond" similarly giving The Gray Man two stars.
A five out of 10 review from IGN's Siddhant Adlakha couldn't get over the "impression of much better action films" that had come before. Adding that: "while it eventually becomes watchable, it spends most of its runtime being visually and emotionally indecipherable". Next to this, Nicholas Barber of the BBC concurred with the verdicts in a two-star review, explaining that: "The Gray Man borrows from a slew of secret agent thrillers, but doesn't match them in quality".
Writing for Empire, John Nugent was more kind to the film saying that the Russo brothers "return to blockbuster cinema in fine fettle with this assured, energetic, consistently compelling caper". He awarded the movie four stars.
While not the response Netflix would have wanted, historically this sort of reception hasn't stopped its original movies from still being watched by millions. Red Notice starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot reportedly cost around $200 million and was panned by critics in 2021, however, still went on to become the most-watched film on the platform within 28 days of release. So there's still hope.
The Gray Man stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwish and Billy Bob Thornton. It premieres in limited theatres on July 15th and then globally on Netflix from July 22nd, 2022.