Alien: Covenant has arrived with cautious optimism from fans that, as Ridley Scott himself has promised, the movie wouldn't repeat Prometheus' mistakes, namely following a crew of braindead scientists who basically bring about their own deaths, all while ultimately asking more questions than it answers.
Though certainly entertaining to a point (largely thanks to Michael Fassbender), Covenant sadly isn't the return to brilliant form fans were hoping for, failing to make the most of a terrific cast and simply asking the viewer to jump through too many hoops in order to make sense of the rickety narrative.
Is it Alien: Resurrection bad? Certainly not, but much like Prometheus, had the script been given another pass by someone better steeped in Alien lore, a lot of the goofier issues could've been quickly ironed out.
Other complaints, though, would've required substantial changes to the plot, which neither Fox nor Ridley Scott were likely in the business of doing, if history is any indication.
And so, fans are left with the messy Alien: Covenant, which on one hand leaves a compelling mic drop of a sequel hook, but after two sloppy (if visually stunning) Alien movies in a row, are you really going to subject yourself to another? (Yes, the answer is probably yes).
Fans' collective eyebrows were raised when James Franco was cast as the Covenant's Captain, and briefly appeared in the film's Last Supper prologue, where he went to go for a nap because he was "burning up".
In the actual movie, Franco is cooked inside his cryo-pod before the movie really kicks off, and the only real screen time he has is when his wife Daniels briefly watches a video recording of him.
While one could argue, quite lousily, that Franco was cast to make Daniels' grief that much more palpable, because the audience's familiarity with and fondness for Franco would make his demise more affecting than if a no-name actor had been toasted, it still reeks of peculiar stunt casting.
At least Danny McBride's casting against-type had an awesome payoff, in that he gave a surprisingly great performance. Franco's presence meanwhile just stuck out like a sore thumb, really.