Critics share strong initial reactions


The reviews are in and the first reactions to Zendaya's challenger Film glows.

The sexy tennis drama from Call me by your name Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino sees the ever-popular Zendaya (from MCU Spider-Man Fame) play Tashi Duncan, a former tennis star and coach who becomes the center of a love triangle between her athlete husband and one of his rivals.

After initially being delayed from 2023 due to the SAG-AFTRA strike that dominated Hollywood for months, the wait is on challenger is finally over for fans who have been waiting patiently.

Challengers receives excellent reviews

Zendaya in Challengers
Amazon MGM Studios

The first reactions to challenger (starring Zendaya, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist) were released after critics saw the film for the first time.

The first reviews for the exciting erotic thriller are mostly positive. The film is praised for its ability to build suspense and the gripping performances at its core.

Isaac Joel from Agents of Fandom called out Zendaya's work in the film “wild,” she calls too “Fascinating plot, breathtaking cinematography, [and] intense soundtrack:”

“I'm speechless after hearing 'Challengers!' have seen. The intriguing plot, stunning cinematography, intense soundtrack and Zendaya's fierce performance make this film a must-see. Close friends competing against each other added extra excitement. Bravo!”

Deputy Editor of Clapper, Carson Timarsaid challenger Is “an incredibly well-made drama” This makes it one of the “Best films of 2024:”

“'Challengers' is an incredibly well-made drama from Luca Guadagnino that unfolds and reveals its layers with great style and intensity. The biggest highlights here are the performances from Zendaya, O'Connor and Faist, all of whom over-deliver. One of the best films of 2024.”

Accordingly Rob Hunter by Reject Nation is the film “extremely sexy [and] wild excesses”, And “Zendaya [owns] every scene:”

“I have a soft spot for tennis movies, and 'Challengers' is a damn great tennis movie. Extremely sexy, wild excesses, driving film music, extremely powerful male leads, Zendaya dominates every scene, the boys hang around, the third act did it.” My stomach clenches. Adult movies are back, baby!”

In a review full of tennis puns, Critic Kit Stone noticed that “Zendaya, Faist and O'Connor all deliver in a thrilling battle of desire, competition and control:”

“In Luca Guadagnino's 'Challengers,' winning isn't half as fun as playing. Zendaya, Faist and O'Connor all deliver in a thrilling battle of desire, competition and control. They will come for the stars, but leave.” In short: good game.

While many reviews highlighted Zendaya's performance as a particular point of praise, Cosmopolitan's performance was particularly notable Tamara Fuentes revealed that she will do it “Forever remember the Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor scenes:”

“Okay, looks like I can finally talk about 'Challengers.'” Y'all, this movie is WILD! I am absolutely obsessed in so many different ways. It's definitely not what some of you are thinking, but God, I'll think about the Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor scenes forever.”

Leo Ryder announced the film as “SPICY Throuple Romcom” Heaping praise for the film's cinematography:

“'Challengers' was the SPICY throuple romcom I didn't know I needed! Zendaya is INCREDIBLE and Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor are great too! The camera work is creative with perspective shots and slow motion that creates suspense. And this film music was a character itself! Loved!”

“I think this is Luca Guadagnino’s masterpiece” Lauren Veneziani posted online and noticed it was her “Favorite film of the year so far:”

“'Challengers' is my favorite film of the year so far. Excellent performances from Zendaya, Josh and Mike as these complex and entertaining characters. The Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack is intense and highlights the story. I think this is Luca Guadagnino's “masterpiece.”

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Bleeding Cool's Kaitlyn Booth summed up her thoughts by saying she can't wait “Word vomit, how much [she] Love[d] It:”

“To the surprise of no one, I'm once again a huge star for a Luca Guadagnino film. At least I'm predictable. Anyway, 'Challengers' has decided, and I'll wallow in it for a while before I write.” My review, in which I have to say how much I love it.

Josh Parham from Next Best Picture was similarly positive, describing the tennis drama as “Slim, sexy, [and] exciting:”

“'Challengers' is a kinetic, fast-paced ride that captivatingly captures the human drama on and off the field. The Reznor/Ross score is absolutely rocking and perfectly matches the intensity of the three captivating lead performances. Slim, sexy.” and an exciting experience.”

Given challenger is a romantic thriller after all, Lauren Bradshaw said, “The chemistry between Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor will make you sweat:”

“Luca Guadagnino's 'Challengers' is a crazy, twisty thrill ride that's as exciting to watch as a Grand Slam tennis match. A suspenseful, sexy relationship thriller, the chemistry between Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor will have you sweating.” . One of my favorite Zendaya performances!”

The next best pictures Daniel Howat exclaimed that the film is “electric” with “intense score”, “gripping sound work”, And “brilliant editing” the highlights are:

“'Challengers' is a sweaty, pulsating love triangle. Zendaya, O'Connor and Faist are undeniable superstars who are used perfectly here.”

Intense score. Thrilling sound work. The story swings back and forth in time, but the brilliant editing ensures that the drama remains high.

Really electric.”

What you can take away from the challengers' initial reactions

For fans who have patiently waited for it challenger (A wait made even more unbearable after the six-month delay), these glowing early reviews will lift a weight off your shoulders.

While some may not be surprised that the film is receiving the praise it is receiving – especially given the talent behind it – this level of enthusiasm could be seen as a bit shocking.

Audiences have seen Zendaya do a lot in her young career, taking on roles like the awkwardly lovable MJ in Marvel Studios. Spider-Man Trilogy on the steamed, skinned Chani in the Dune films. However, she has never done anything like this before.

If there were any doubts that Zendaya could star in a film – an erotic thriller, no less – those doubts seem to have disappeared.

challenger It looks like the young actress is sitting on her shoulders as she proves once again that she is a superstar with a few different skills under her belt.

One point of praise that may surprise some is the multiple mentions of the film's music. The music, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was mentioned in several reviews, and one even called it that “a character [in] himself.”

Reznor and Ross come to Luca Guadagnino after composing the scores for tracks like The social network, Pixar's Lucaand the current one Shogun FX series.

They are a proven composer duo with another hit on their hands.

challenger hits theaters on Friday, April 26th.