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Flat characters cipher through a thinly plotted array of science fiction concepts which are new enough to the non-reading public to make the movie palatable on novelty alone. Since novelty may be the only thing that counts in what is bracketed as SciFi — look at Interstellar being undeservedly panned — a movie whose emotional range begins and ends with a side plot of a dying child now has a shot at the Academy Award. Also, and it feels wrong to even have to write this, there are other ways to elicit emotion in your audience than killing off children, dear movie-makers of 2016.

Respect where it is due: passing of Hawkeye as a plausible physicist — by having him not talk about physics the entire movie, but still — and floating the idea of world unification in anno domini 2017 are admirable feats. Not enough to offset the hours wasted on walking through a hallway and 80s-style montages, though.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, 2016

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