Critics Consensus

A remarkable technical achievement, Metropolis' eye-popping visuals more than compensate for its relatively routine story.



Total Count: 63


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,709
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Movie Info

Playing like a candy-colored hybrid of Fritz Lang's film of the same name and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis borrows its plot liberally from numerous legendary sci-fi sources (despite the fact that the original manga was released in 1945, certain cinematic aspects can't help but appearing overly familiar), all the while dazzling viewers on the same cutting-edge visual level as such anime classics as Akira and Ghost in the Shell. The common anime practice of combining amazingly rendered backdrops and more traditionally hand-drawn characters continues here, though with such nuances as beautifully flowing hair and soulfully expressive faces, it becomes obvious that painstaking detail was paid to making the characters both visually and emotionally involving. However, as expressive as some of the central characters may be, it's the elaborate tri-level industrial labyrinth that encompasses the world of Metropolis that forms the film's central character, and it is a kalidescopic animated marvel to behold. Director Rintaro's beautifully composed visual design is so awe-inspiringly colorful and complex that, from the opening frames, the viewer is fully absorbed in the environment, with plot and characterization almost coming as an afterthought. And that is precisely where the film's ultimately forgivable main weakness lies. In between scenes of wide-eyed, jaw-dropping visuals, the story of human and android tension set against the backdrop of a futuristic city borrows from so many sources that it borders on cliché. Thankfully, writer Tezuka's characters are given a depth and sense of purpose that, while not altogether unconvincing or original, consistently connect with the viewer's sense of recognition and sympathy. Viewers will no doubt attest that Metropolis works almost flawlessly on a purely visual and asthetic level within the opening frames of the film. Thankfully, Tezuka's storytelling skills compliment that on a level which, while not entirely new or original, is at the very least genuinely sincere and thoughtful.


Critic Reviews for Metropolis

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (24)

  • we see the director's towering world of tomorrow being erected on the foundations of yesterday's cultural influence... a dizzying postmodern edifice, more impressive for its shimmering Steampunk architecture than for the dramas accommodated within

    Jan 16, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A fairly standard genre exercise, packed with light, detail, color, noise, and motion that add up to relatively little.

    Jul 19, 2010

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Tale of the struggle for personal freedom in a futuristic, tyrannical society is light on action by contempo standards, and pic's look is uninteresting, apart from occasionally bizarre backgrounds.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • It smoothly blends outrageously diverse visual styles and emotional tones.

    Apr 17, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Otomo's typically sophisticated script ensures slick pacing, combining humour, terror and pathos, particularly in the final scenes.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Parts of it are very silly, but it is still extraordinarily powerful as cinema and its meanings grow murkier, not clearer, with what we now know of Lang's life.

    May 23, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Metropolis

  • Nov 22, 2011
    The storyline and lip-syncing aren't as amazing as the CGI backgrounds and traditional animation blending. But Metropolis is still an enjoyable and above all emotional film for big anime fans and audiences with an open mind for beautiful yet depressing cartoons.
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2011
    One form of story telling that has, is, and always will be a test of true story telling talent will be animation. When one looks at it, animation will always be a less expensive, more breath-taking approach to films then any live action film can be. One of the best examples will have to come from Japan, their animation style known as anime. Already popular in the States, anime gives people a beyond detailed view into other worlds, creatures, and imaginations behind the people that created them that we can not help but be amazed at. Now, take anime and mix in elements from Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS, Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER, and Steven Spielberg's A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and what you get is a beautiful film with a plot that, while complex, is nothing that we have not already know. At the helm of directing is the ever wonderful Rintaro. Known for Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion, Rintaro takes the story and tries to make it move to a certain pace and style. Style, he has that down. Pace, not so much. There are numerous times when the pacing is slow and you would wish it would hurry up. While this is something of a down fall, you have all of that beautiful animation that keeps your eyes glued to all of the 150,000 stills that are in the film and you tend to forget about the pacing. Due to this being a film that was drawn, I am going to have to replace acting with voice acting for this film. In case none of you know, voice acting is when an actor only submits there voice for the characters. In a way, this is more troublesome then acting because you have to think on how you would sound when things like being shot at, being attacked, or even falling would sound like. With me seeing the English audio track for the film, I must admit that it is one of the better films to have good English dub for. Mostly I love not the voices, but all of the additional sounds that litter inside of this film. You hear so many unexpected sounds that you would normally never hear in an animated film regardless if it is the sounds of birds chirping to far off clinging of metal. I have to give props to the people who worked on sound with this film for making it all seem so life life. Next we have the script. Like I have said before, there is nothing new here that was not already thought up of in other films and literature of the science fiction genre. But the one thing I will have to comment on is how well the complexity of the characters were. Going into this film knowing not to expect anything complex with the plot, I am pleased to find out how complex these drawn characters are. I will not say anything for fear of giving away some plot elements, but I will say that you might find yourself getting attached to these characters. Finally we have something that did take me by surprise: the score. Now, answer me this: when was the last time you heard an original Dixie Land/ Jazz score in a film? Well, this film's entire score is this fresh Jazz music that really gave the film a nice bonus while setting the tone for probably one of the greatest tributes to Stanley Kubrick's DR STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. Overall, this is a beautiful film that might surprise some audiences if they watch it with no expectations. Just, do not think that this is a remake of Fritz Lang's masterpiece.
    Zach B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2010
    A sort of different movie experience, but still a pretty good one. Overall Rating:67
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2010
    Interesting. I enjoyied the overall art Deco 1930's style and music of the film and characters, but the story was just okay.
    Marion R Super Reviewer

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