Alien: Covenant [2017] ★★★

 I don’t pretend to understand everything that goes on in the “Alien” universe, but having enjoyed most of these films (including 2012’s underrated “Prometheus”), I couldn’t wait to see what director Ridley Scott had in store for us this time around. Indeed, I wasn’t wrong: “Covenant” is a first-rate sci-fi/horror movie in every aspect, and features not one, but two terrific performances by Michael Fassbender, who plays both androids: David (from “Prometheus”) and newcomer Walter. In terms of plot, the movie picks off where “Prometheus” left off, with a new crew, lead by Billy Crudup, discovering an uncharted planet that seems like paradise at first (hint: it’s not). So yes, the “Aliens” show up. And yes, there’s a lot of running and screaming. Know what? It works. Ridley Scott’s reputation as a visionary science-fiction director is still pretty much intact here and he offers up a big, impressive, eye-popping production that doesn’t pull its punches. So even when the screenplay gets confusing at times as it tries to be profound, Scott still manages to show you what real science-fiction can look like in the hands of a skilled director. Fans may or may not agree, but “Alien: Covenant” ranks up there as one of the best in the series. Hang on!

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