Chris Hemsworth’s new Netflix movie gets first reviews – and they’re seriously mixed

Chris Hemsworth in Spiderhead
(Image credit: Netflix)

Reviews have started to land for Spiderhead – the latest movie from Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski. 

Chris Hemsworth stars as a prison boss with a unique approach to the justice system. He administers mind-altering drugs to the inmates in exchange for shorter sentences. Although, things get complicated in the Netflix thriller when his experiments on two subjects, played by Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett, go awry.

The movie is currently sitting at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes as the first reviews have landed. TV Guide’s Jordan Hoffman praises Hemsworth’s performance in the thriller. "He's pure charisma one minute, menacing mad scientist the next," he writes. "I'd go so far as to say this is the best thing he's ever done. And no, he's not pumping me full of a love drug to get me to say it, either."

The Hollywood Reporter’s Frank Scheck brands the movie "an unclassifiable good time", writing: "The film doesn’t fully succeed in navigating its stylistic twists and turns, feeling all too familiar by the time it reaches its action-packed final act. But it’s imaginative fun along the way, thanks to the audacious premise and a clever screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland) that doesn’t take itself too seriously."

Chris Hemsworth gives his "best performance yet," according to Collider’s Ross Bonaime. He writes: "Kosinski has already made one of the best year's best movies with Maverick, and with an extremely intriguing concept and fantastic performances all around the board, Kosinski has for the second time this year made one of the best movies of this summer."

However, not all critics enjoyed Netflix’s latest thriller. Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt calls the movie’s plot a "maze". She concludes: "There's a version embedded in here somewhere that could have been fun, even camp, if not for the constant laborious effort of telegraphing every plot twist and motivation."

While The Wrap’s Carlos Aguilar writes: "It feels derivative and only superficially invested in its big ideas about second chances and the conundrum of appropriating the bodies of individuals whom society has deemed irredeemable."

Variety’s Peter Debruge says the movie is a "new low for Netflix". The critic argues: "All the ingredients are there for a daring satire – a George Saunders story, adapted by the Deadpool duo and directed by Joseph Kosinski – but the icky execution gets every creative decision wrong."

Spiderhead is released on Netflix on June 17, 2022. Check out our guide to the best Netflix movies to watch right now.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.