Does ‘Lucy’ Use More Than 10% Of Its Brain? Reviewers Weigh In

Critics weigh in on whether Luc Besson's latest lady assassin kicks butt, or falls flat.

Luc Besson’s latest ass-kicking lady is in theaters today, using her 100% of her brain to blast a burning swathe through the summertime movie landscape. Featuring Scarlett Johansson as the movie’s titular dumb blonde-turned-killer genius, “Lucy” promised everything that fans of Besson have come to expect: a wild urban sci-fi storyline, visuals frantic and lush at once, and of course, an action heroine who can look on with cool sensuality as the world explodes.

But now that the film is finally here, is it worth the price of a ticket? Or should those jonesing for a Besson fix stay home and watch “The 5th Element” for the fiftieth time, instead? MTV News has the roundup of reactions from critics across the internet, from the delighted to the disappointed. (Obvious jokes about how much of your brain you’ll use in order to watch the film pointedly excluded.)

Scarlett Johansson: perfect, per usual
“Scarlett Johansson plays the central role of Lucy in two parts, first as a teary-eyed ingénue who finds herself the victim of events beyond her control before she morphs into a clear-eyed super-genius rapidly discarding all vestiges of her humanity… It’s a deftly textured performance by the exceedingly versatile Johansson, especially the subtle moments when she realizes her former identity is slipping away.” — Bruce DeMara Toronto Star

Not the action-packed flick the trailers promised
“But if the movie fizzles somewhat as action, it’s because Besson seems more interested in engaging, playfully yet seriously, with the various biological, philosophical and metaphysical riddles that his story raises. Pointedly, Lucy gets a couple of eloquent monologues in which to ponder such weighty matters as the impermanence of all life, the preciousness of every moment, the human tendency to prioritize feeling over thinking, the depressing myopia of human experience in general, and the fact that life gains meaning only with the passage of time.” — Justin Chang, Variety

And there might be too much monologuing
“At first, it’s dazzling. Besson forgets, however, that he’s promised us pulp entertainment and instead delivers a serious treatise on next-step metaphysics. As Lucy evolves into an all-knowing, all-powerful force, the humans around her become useless. In the end, “Lucy” is gobbledygook.” — Rafer Guzman, Newsday

But if you can get past the lie trailers…
“Lucy is visually unlike anything Mr. Besson has ever made, even if it once again concerns a woman forced into a life she did not choose but nonetheless excelling at her new-found calling. It’s not the “lady warrior kicks butt” action spectacular that the marketing has promised, but it is an equally interesting and engaging bit of sci-fi pulp.” — Scott Mendelson, Forbes

It’s Besson at his best
“The result is crazy, but in the best way. ’Lucy’ hangs together, not only through sheer velocity, but from the unmistakable sense that this is no cynical product. It’s an honest expression of the filmmaker’s mind – his prurience, his paranoia, his grandiosity and his aspiration.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle