Ridley Scott makes it clear from Alien Covenant’s first scene, a dialogue between Michael Fassbender’s ‘synthetic’ David and his creator Peter Weyland, that it will continue Prometheus’ theme of gods and monsters. Scott revisiting a franchise he started 40 years ago to subvert its history is fascinating, but is it what viewers want from an Alien movie?
The best moments in Covenant are the ones involving Fassbender’s dual performance as David and his newer counterpart Walter. He’s great in both roles, and the scenes with the two synthetics alone are gripping, scary, and at times weirdly homoerotic.
In fact, the cast are uniformly great, using their varying degrees of screen time to build enjoyable characters, even when forced to lob around heavy-handed ideas about faith.
Plot details that were a bit woolly in Prometheus are clarified, but on the whole, Covenant is almost as disjointed that film. The weird pacing whips us off to the next thing before much of it can sink in.
Still, it’s thrilling to see Scott play with iconography like face-huggers again, and do it so effectively. He’s not afraid to let Alien Covenant descend into straight-up horror territory, with squirm-inducing moments and plenty of gore and slime.