On Saturday night, I convinced my action movie loving family to watch The 5th Wave. “It’s an alien invasion movie!” I told them. “You’ll love it!”

At that point I had read, according to my Kindle, 32% of the book. So far, everything had been about the first four waves, the different ways that the aliens were trying to take over Earth. It had real potential and I was so excited.

Look, in hindsight I probably should have read the blurb. Or watched the trailer. I had bought the book based on a friend’s recommendation, and she isn’t usually one for romance.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this review.

I was severely disappointed in this movie. In fact, I read another review that summed it up very, very well.

Everything that comes after the confident, dangerous first half-hour just makes you pine for what could have been as this devolves into ten-a-penny teen-lit sludge.

The first half an hour focused solely on the first four waves, and where Cassie is now. It focuses a little on her life at high school, but mainly to contrast with her life now. There is a mention of a crush, but it’s quickly announced that he’s probably dead (spoiler alert: he isn’t), like the billions of other people who didn’t survive the first three waves. You found out that the aliens were inhabiting humans, and I got really, really excited. It was going to be something a little different from your average alien invasion movie, but was still going to include the action and guns and pure adrenaline that makes them so enjoyable.

Then she gets shot. Evan, a different boy, saves her. And everything goes downhill from there.

Incredibly quickly, The 5th Wave turns from an edgy, exciting, alien invasion film to a sappy, sludgy, chick flick romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against chick flicks. I love ‘em. But when I was promised aliens and I don’t get aliens, I get a little annoyed.

Things I Enjoyed

  • They focused on Cassie’s family relationships. She was more concerned with her younger brother’s safety than anyone else’s, which was a nice change.
  • The first half hour, with the descriptions of the first four waves, was exciting and really enjoyable. It was darker and more detailed than most other dystopian films we’ve seen recently, with much more structure and comprehensiveness than say,

Things I Didn’t

  • Evan Walker. Evan Walker was a walking cliché. Over-compensating for misplaced guilt? Yup. More complicated than we could have possibly imagined? Of course! We even get to see him bathing in a lake and chopping wood while Cassie sighs over him.
  • All the terrible tropes this film fell right into.
  • The corny, trying-too-hard dialogue that attempted to be heartfelt and came off as awkward and clunky.
  • The slightly confusing plot.
  • The stereotypes. All the stereotypes.
  • My absolute pet hate – disregard of what would have been a serious injury (bullet wound) and lack of research on how the injury would have healed, combined with a completely unrealistic tiny little scar with perfect stitches (despite being done by someone with no medical training). Also she does that “I’m going to yank out my own IV” thing. As someone who has had multiple surgeries, scars don’t work that way. Neither do stitches. Or IV’s. Please try to be a little bit realistic.
  • It was an alien invasion movie, and at no point do we actually see any aliens.

Surprise, surprise, this film is left wide open at the end, with the audience guessing whether or not Evan is alive. There is no real conclusion, because the movie just isn’t good enough to draw people into a sequel without the need to find out what happens next.

If this movie comprised only of its first half hour, I’d give it five stars. However, having witnessed the rest of this movie (including the line “I wasn’t human, and then I saw you.”), I have to leave it at a generous two.


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