MILD SPOILER CONTAINED HEREIN: Both Variety‘s Justin Chang and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy sound underwhelmed in their just-up reviews of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus (Friday, 6.1), although not to the extent that you’d call either response a pan. They’re both more or less saying “very decent, at time very stirring and technically impressive but with a rote scary-alien finale and some philosophical questions about the origins of man…meh.” Or something like that.

At least they were kinder to it than Le Monde‘s Isabelle Regnier.

McCarthy: “Prometheus, a visual feast of a 3D sci-fi movie, has trouble combining its high-minded notions about the origins of the species and its Alien-based obligation to deliver oozy gross-out moments. Ridley Scott’s third venture into science-fiction, after Alien in 1979 and Blade Runner in 1982, won’t become a genre benchmark like those classics despite its equivalent seriousness and ambition, but it does supply enough visual spectacle, tense action and sticky, slithery monster attacks to hit the spot with thrill-seeking audiences worldwide.”

“As the survivors are pared down to a precious few, the grisliness and gross-out quotient increases; a self-inflicted Cesarian section may be a screen first (certainly the result of it is), while Fassbender’s fate is similarly imaginative and far funnier. This project started life as an intended prequel to Alien but morphed into something else. Unfortunately, the closer it comes to a climax, the more you feel the elements being lined up to set the stage for a sequel to this film, most of all in a coda that feels like a craven teaser trailer for the next installment.”

Chang: A mission to uncover the origins of human life yields familiar images of death and devastation in Prometheus. Elaborately conceived from a visual standpoint, Ridley Scott’s first sci-fier in the three decades since Blade Runner remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own.

“Technically, Prometheus is magnificent. Shot in 3D but without the director taking the process into account in his conceptions or execution, the film absorbs and uses the process seamlessly.”