“The 5th Wave”

LOUISA:    4 STARS     MATT:   3.5 STARS


The 15 year old girl in me was absolutely giddy and enamored with this movie. Even as an adult, I really, really liked it! “The 5th Wave” is similar to other young adult films like “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “The Maze Runner,” but this classic kids vs. adults story demonstrates much more maturity and intellect than all of those films put together. This post-apocalyptic tale is as sophisticated as it is enjoyable, and it kept me completely entertained and engaged.

That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of eye rolling moments (like the cue-the-harps dopey love story elements and a few of the plot twists and surprises), but at least these more unsuccessful elements come into play very late in the story: so late and so minor that they didn’t take away from the previous 90 minutes of good material. The storytelling is skilled, the disaster special effects are satisfying, and Chloë Grace Moretz gives another strong performance as Cassie, our heroine who goes from a carefree high school girl to a gun toting survivalist in less than 24 hours. Her character is one that will undoubtedly resonate with tween and teen girls.

There are some real surprises and unexpected turns to the story as well as some really, really, (REALLY) stupid plot elements. My advice is to let your suspension of disbelief take over and enjoy the ride. You just might be surprised at how enjoyable this movie is.


One of the better entries into the recent rash of young adult movies, “The 5th Wave” is about an alien invasion that leaves most adults dead or powerless, and leaves the fight to the teenagers and children.

The film has a strong cold opening followed by a series of flashbacks that explain both the history of the invasion and the title. We learn how the main character, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) was cut off from her friends and family. As a lone and lonely fighter trying to learn about the new, post-invasion world, Cassie’s struggles are compelling. When she finally connects with other people, the film remains interesting but logic in the storytelling quickly disintegrates. One of the big reveals seems to temporarily address one of the film’s huge plot holes, when it fact it only raises more questions that are hard to ignore.

What the movie gets right are the tone and the adolescent struggle, both macro (being forced to grow up quickly to deal with very adult problems) and micro (dealing with attraction, relationships, and love both romantic and familial). It’s an entertaining watch, but by the end the logical problems weigh a little too heavily to make this one to strongly recommend.

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