Review: Kick-Ass’ Chloë Grace Moretz Kicks Alien Ass in The 5th Wave

Chloë Grace Moritz as Cassie Sullivan in The 5th Wave (Chuck Zlotnick/Columbia Pictures)

Chloë Grace Moritz as Cassie Sullivan in The 5th Wave (Chuck Zlotnick/Columbia Pictures)

Based on the best-selling young adult novel by Rick Yancey, in the new film The 5th Wave, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur). As the survivors of the first four waves prepare for the inevitable and even more lethal fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man, Evan Walker (Alex Roe) who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

If you need a young heroine fix until Shailene Woodley appears in the next Divergent film, Moretz fits the bill. Both films feature young women leading groups of other good-looking young adults to fight evil. In The 5th Wave, the evil is the alien force which is able to infiltrate humans like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

If Divergent wasn’t your thing, but you need a young adult love triangle with a young female heroine torn between two impossibly good looking suitors like Twilight, then The 5th Wave fits the bill too. Cassie eventually teams up with her new crush, Evan, and her high school crush, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson). Though the sexual tension isn’t allowed to reach full boil, I assume this will play a more prominent role in the next two films (as with Divergent and Twilight, The 5th Wave is the first in a series of novels).

If the moral ambivalence of The Hunger Games is more your thing, then The 5th Wave also fits the bill. People, good and bad alike, are killed – though in a PG-13 way – by the heroes. The opening scene in The 5th Wave is great in that Cassie must choose to let a man live or die, knowing that he might kill her if she lets him live. As with any PG-13 movie, this moral turpitude must be glossed over to preserve its teen-friendly rating. Though this is only touched upon in the first movie, I hope the next two movies explore the gray moral issue of this new world order more.

Like Woodley, Moretz has the acting chops to carry a film and makes a believable, unlikely heroine – a young woman forced to be a hero to survive due to circumstances out of her control. I enjoyed The 5th Wave and see great potential in the proposed trilogy. A little less gloss and a little more grit, like the best Harry Potter adaptations, could make The 5th Wave stand out among its young adult peers.

The 5th Wave
Sony Pictures Releasing/Columbia Pictures
In theaters Jan. 22

3.5 Stars

Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (must-see), 4 stars (exceptional), 3 stars (solid), 2 stars (average) and 1 star (unworthy).

Frederick Mintchell is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter: @Fmintchell

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