Atomic Blonde

Critics Consensus

Atomic Blonde gets enough mileage out of its stylish action sequences -- and ever-magnetic star -- to make up for a narrative that's somewhat less hard-hitting than its protagonist.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 335

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 34,249
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Movie Info

A high-stakes, global action-thriller that takes place in the city of Berlin, on the eve of the Wall's collapse and the shifting of superpower alliances. Charlize Theron ("Mad Max: Fury Road") portrays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6, who is dispatched to Berlin to take down a ruthless espionage ring that has just killed an undercover agent for reasons unknown. She is ordered to cooperate with Berlin station chief David Percival (James McAvoy of "X-Men"), and the two form an uneasy alliance, unleashing their full arsenal of skills in pursuing a threat that jeopardizes the West's entire intelligence operation.

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Critic Reviews for Atomic Blonde

All Critics (335) | Top Critics (45)

  • Who do we thank for this refreshing take on the smash-'em-up genre and this thoroughly modern woman in a Bechdel-beating blockbuster?... Thank Charlize Theron

    Aug 23, 2018 | Full Review…
  • In a victory for style over substance, it forces the instincts to follow the plot and care about the characters to surrender to its and Theron's unrelenting cool.

    Aug 11, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • What Theron sells superbly, as she did in Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015, is, simply, ferocity.

    Aug 10, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Most of Leitch's energy goes into the stunts, which have a mesmerising rhythm to them, together with ingeniously intricate choreography.

    Aug 9, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • While it's not a perfect female-centric spy thriller (let's keep trying), Atomic Blonde winks to the future with exciting possibilities.

    Aug 9, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Tomris Laffly

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Theron carries it off with style of course ...

    Aug 9, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Atomic Blonde

  • Jun 26, 2019
    Set in the late 80's around the fall of the Berlin Wall, 'Atomic Blonde' is yet another swish spy thriller that kinda rides on [i]James Bond[/i] coattails but also throws in some 'John Wick' and 'Jason Bourne' for good measure. This film is actually based on a graphic novel called 'The Coldest City' which is something I never knew. Sounds like all the ingredients for an absolute sizzler. The Twisty Plot: Under MI6 orders and with the help of the CIA, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is trying to get her hands on a list, a list of spies that if it gets out will naturally compromise said spies lives. David Percival (James McAvoy) is an MI6 Station Chief located in Berlin who is assigned to help Broughton. Delphine LaSalle (Sofia Boutella) is a French agent who falls for Broughton whilst trying to help her. And of course there are various other (Russian) characters who are trying to get their hands on said list to either sell or utilise. Oh and there is also an East German secret police (Stasi) agent who originally had the list and also memorised it, so Broughton has to save his ass too. I must also point out that this entire story is actually told in flashback as Broughton recalls her entire mission in a debriefing to both MI6 and CIA heads. Personally I thought this was a daft thing to do simply because it just gives the whole game away doesn't it. Broughton is all beat up so we know she's gonna get into some major fisticuffs. She's alive so we know she isn't gonna die at any point. She also seems to have no major visual injuries (other than cuts scrapes and bruises) so again this takes away from any possible tension. And lastly she's alone so that could indicate no one else survives. Basically this direction kinda takes away the stakes of the plot, cos you know she's OK at the end. These sequences also tend to bring the film to a halt, But the real problem with this film is the fact it's trying way too hard with all its various little branches. There are so many twists and turns which lead to you the viewer not really trusting anyone or anything you see. It sounds devilishly cool but it isn't, it's actually frustrating. Every character has their own basic reason for wanting the list, but you don't really get much beyond that. Yeah some wanna sell it, some wanna use it, Broughton is trying to presumably save the spies on it. But despite all the spy intrigue the characters are pretty shallow. Also, as I said you can't really trust anyone so again you can never be sure what their actual motivations are. The absolute epitome of this is the ending. Spoiler alert, this film has around three different endings and each one makes a complete U-turn on Broughton. It literally feels like the writers and director couldn't decide on which ending they liked best so they rewrote them in order to cram them all in! You think it's over...and it isn't. You think Broughton is on this side...and she isn't, or that side! I couldn't even be sure if she was actually on the side she finishes with, fully expected another twist. Yes all the reports are correct in that the action is superb, what there is of it. Yes the action is very John Wick-esque (director David Leitch directed 'John Wick') when it happens, but this is far more of a complicated spy thriller than 'Jane Wick'. Pretty much all of the action sequences are top notch in execution (except for the odd bit of greenscreen and CGI) and highly savage. Theron trained to do the scenes and it shows. One scene in particular, in a stairwell, seemed to be one long continuous shot of non-stop bone cracking, impossible to live through, carnage. Highly impressive, highly unrealistic if you think about it, but highly engaging. Had this come before the original Wick flick then it would be even more impressive. I don't wanna keep bringing up the [i]John Wick[/i] franchise but considering the links here it's kinda hard not to frankly. So yes overall this film does essentially [b]look[/b] like a [i]John Wick[/i] film only with a lot more neon and 80's nostalgia. On one hand it looks great, on the other hand it again looks like they're trying too hard. Seriously why so much neon?? Its like Leitch tried to make the entire film look like that nightclub scene from 'The Terminator', or an early MTV music video. This also goes for the soundtrack which becomes wholly annoying. Almost every scene has an 80's tune in it for no real reason other than to remind you its the 80's. A lot of this simply felt like style over substance and overall it tries to be too clever for its own good.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2019
    Goddammit, why couldn't this film have a smarter, more surprising script? Because the execution, editing, fight choreography, cinematography and the usage of music is absolutely fantastic. The atmosphere also feels exactly like Berlin in the year 1989. Unfortunately, all scenes that don't have a really cool song in the background or aren't about people trying to kill each other are a tiny bit boring.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 30, 2019
    If you want to read the review I wrote for this, go to letterboxd.com/HankIsDead514. I can no longer post long reviews on here and I'm not writing two separate reviews for the same movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 24, 2018
    Based on a graphic novel, Atomic Blonde is a stereotypical Cold War spy thriller. Set in 1989 an MI6 agent is sent to Berlin to investigate the death of a fellow agent and recover a spy list. It's a pretty standard, formulaic plot with all of the usual twists and turns that one would expect. And while it has a strong cast (Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, and John Goodman), none of the performances are especially good. Theron, in particular, does nothing to give her character any depth or personality, and McAvoy is stuck playing a clichéd rogue agent who's out for himself. Still, the fight scenes are exciting and the retro '80s soundtrack is done extremely well; bringing a certain energy that helps set the right tone. It has its problems, but Atomic Blonde is entertaining and delivers some thrilling action.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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