ATLAS on Netflix is a new sci-fi action movie starring Jennifer Lopez in the title role. Despite the very familiar plot – which is made up of many other famous movies – it actually works. Read our full Atlas movie review here!

ATLAS is a new Netflix science fiction action movie starring Jennifer Lopez. After watching the trailer, I had no expectations of this Netflix movie. It looked extremely generic and predictable, but it turned out to be surprisingly entertaining.

I mean, yes, it is very much a hybrid of various sci-fi movies. Some imagery seems like a tribute to a few of them. However, the execution of this story just works. It even has well-timed comedy to make light of moments that could otherwise have been very cringey.

Continue reading our Atlas movie review below. Find it on Netflix from May 24, 2024.

Simple plot with an AI core

Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez) is a brilliant data analyst who grew up with AI but now has a deep distrust of artificial intelligence. Still, as humans are in direct battle with the AI, she joins a mission to capture a renegade robot. This AI robot is the one leading the battle against humans.

Of course, nothing goes much according to plan as the AI robots have already predicted the human’s plan. Before long, she finds that the future of humanity lies in her trusting the new generation of AI. However, this one is linked to a human which means an even deeper trust is needed from her.

Look, much of this plot is predictable – to a point, anyway. However, it’s also very charming, and against my expectation (perhaps even better judgment), I had to surrender to it.

A strong cast makes it work

Jennifer Lopez is good in the title role (though overall I found her to be better in The Mother) while Lana Parrilla was perfectly cast as her mother. Don’t worry about the age difference – Lana Parrilla is younger than Jennifer Lopez – as it’s explained. Visually, however, they work as mother and daughter.

As the main AI villain, we have Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) while the always charming Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther) plays the man leading the human battle. As the voice of the AI that Atlas is forced to trust, we have the smooth voice of Gregory James Cohan.

Finally, Mark Strong (Nocebo) is the boss of everyone in the resistance and Abraham Popoola is perfect as another AI, we come across several times.

Atlas (2024) – Review | Netflix Sci-fi Action Movie

A genre hybrid with familiar elements

Atlas is very much a sci-fi action movie, but there is also quite a bit of comedy used in all the right ways. The movie as a whole seems like an AI was fed a few iconic sci-fi action movies and came up with its own “unique” storyline.

This was also the case for Rebel Moon, but unlike that mess, it actually works with Atlas. I suspect the sometimes tribute-like moments and ability to recognize that this is made to entertain, not be a new cinematic genre-breaking masterpiece, is the explanation.

Atlas is fun when it works the whole “Anti-AI person is forced to work with AI to survive”-element that was also key to I, Robot. And when an AI robot has half of its face smashed in to reveal tech rather than flesh and bone, it’s a direct nod to Terminator (without the red glowing eyes).

In Atlas, it works because it combines elements of other stories and doesn’t seem shy about making it so obvious that it becomes part of the lore of the movie. Yes, including how the AI robots have an uprising and take over… Skynet, anyone?!

A character arc by way of hair

I never want to shame anyone for the way they look, and I hate focusing on anyone’s looks. However, in Atlas, it seems like the hair of the title character is a character all in itself. What I do question is the decision of the hair and make-up department.

Or whoever made them do her hair this way.

When Atlas opens, she just needs a second to put on clothes and she’s out the door. However, anyone with long hair styled this way will be baffled. That particular curly hairstyle does not come naturally. It takes a small army of hairstylists to keep those curls in check.

And the way it’s virtually a comb over where the hair from the back of the head is pushed forward.

Look, my point is that this is the opposite of simple. For continuity alone, it must have been a nightmare. Fortunately, as things progress in the story and Atlas is forced into battle, the hair calms down and is flatter and more natural.

Before the end credits, the curls are gone altogether and instead, Atlas now opts for a more practical and sleek hairstyle. Thus we now have a full character arc symbolized by way of hair!

However, the change from the very big and curly hairstyle to this smooth style seems to reveal that the curls were indeed the result of an overworked hairdresser.

So, why am I going on and on about hair? Because it does not work for this character. She was indifferent about getting ready and bounced out the door when her alarm went off. This tells us that she had no desire (or time) to style her hair in such an intricate hair. If anything, it should have been reversed!

Also, the hair is so big and bold that it gets in the way of everything else. It seems stupid and grossly impractical which – again! – is something an analyst would consider.

Watch Atlas on Netflix!

The director of Atlas is Brad Peyton. He previously directed pretty solid action movies like the disaster movie San Andreas (2015). Also, he directed the monster movie Rampage (2018) and the horror thriller Incarnate (2016). Even the post-apocalyptic Netflix series Daybreak.

The screenplay comes from writers Leo Sardarian (StartUp) and Aron Eli Coleite (Daybreak). Against all expectations, I had fun with this movie. Even the fact that Atlas Shepherd becomes “A. Shepherd”. While it is heavy on symbolism, it’s also a cool enough detail to work in a movie like this.

With Atlas, I had no expectations and actually just wanted to get the viewing over and done with. However, within the first 15 minutes or so, I noticed I was enjoying it. I wasn’t thinking that it was stupid (except for that damn hair). And I did laugh out loud and allowed myself to just enjoy it.

If you can do the same then Atlas is a solid sci-fi action movie perfect for Friday night entertainment at home. So, enjoy it and just have fun noticing all those details that feel familiar and see what this movie does with that!

Atlas is out on Netflix on May 24, 2024.


Director: Brad Peyton
Writers: Leo Sardarian, Aron Eli Coleite
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown, Gregory James Cohan, Abraham Popoola, Lana Parrilla, Mark Strong


A brilliant counterterrorism analyst with a deep distrust of AI discovers it might be her only hope when a mission to capture a renegade robot goes awry.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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