Twisters review: A surface-level storm that’s still a good time

Jessica Cullen
Twisters review: Glen Powell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Tyler and Kate, standing in the middle of a street and looking past the camera as debris flies past them in Twisters

As the legend goes, when Twister was released in 1996, the film’s bass-heavy surround channel and intense volume became known for destroying speakers in movie theaters around the world. 

For an action movie about storm chasers who get caught in the most frightening examples of mother nature’s grip, that’s a pretty pitch-perfect achievement. 

The appeal of the cinematic twister is multi-generational. Thankfully, for 2024’s Twisters, director Lee Isaac Chung is more than aware. He knows what he’s got to work with, and gives the audience exactly what they want: power, destruction, and spectacle. 

Unfortunately, anything deeper than that won’t be found in this sequel

The tornado scenes prevail 

For a standalone sequel, Twisters is surprisingly similar to its ‘90s predecessor. There’s the ragtag team of storm chasers hellbent on sending pods up into the twister itself (only this time, it’s in an attempt to “tame” a tornado rather than simply understand it), as well as a talented individual who has a sixth sense for predicting storms.

Where the new movie lives up to the original is in the tornado scenes themselves. Effort has been made for each and every action scene to feel real, and as the levels of destruction tend to get bigger and bigger, there’s an increasing sense of danger.

Glen Powell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Tyler and Kate, standing in a field and staring at a twister in Twisters

One of the most memorable scenes in the ‘90s original comes at the climactic end, when Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt run into a barn for safety from the approaching storm, only to find it covered wall-to-wall in scythes and other lethal objects. It’s a beautiful tease of a moment, and satisfies a need for threat the earlier half of the movie doesn’t necessarily have. 

Twisters, on the other hand, always has a sense of impending doom whenever those winds start to blow. Thanks to an intense opening sequence and strategic increase in each twister sequence, the stakes feel very real. 

The big screen isn’t just a recommendation for this movie, but a requirement. The scale and wind-whipping atmosphere are the big sells here, since the tornadoes themselves bring about both the drama and the fun, of which there’s a decent amount. 

Hurricane Glen

Aside from the storms themselves, everyone remembers Twister for its charismatic cast and their incredible – and very ‘90s – fits. The Twisters cast unfortunately isn’t able to match the charm and uniqueness of the original storm chasing crew, but they’re as close as they’ll get thanks to the fun-lovin’ “tornado wrangler,” Tyler Owens, played by Glen Powell.

I’ll be honest, the Glen Powell hype train has passed me by in recent times. But if you put a man in some cowboy boots, a wet white t-shirt, and call him a “cowboy scientist,” I’m buying a First Class ticket and riding the rail to the end of the line. That’s a movie right there, and by God, that’s America.

Twisters review: Glen Powell as Tyler Owens walking through the rain in a white t-shirt in Twisters

It’s no exaggeration to say Powell saves the film. Twisters only really begins when he makes his entrance, because he’s the only person there who knows what kind of movie he’s in. He provides a touch of camp and a tongue-in-cheek attitude that shows he’s in on the joke, drawing a link between this and the semi-kookiness of the original. 

Daisy Edgar-Jones puts in a good turn as Kate Carter, the storm chaser with PTSD who finds herself pulled between the corporate tornado seekers led by Anthony Ramos and Superman (aka David Corenswet) and the free-wheeling group of misfit chasers. 

Powell and Edgar-Jones are the true stars of this movie – and, in all honesty, the only ones. It’ll be difficult to remember the names or roles of any other characters, mostly because the non-action parts of the story don’t give them much to work with.

Twisters lets itself down

As above, everything that’s not directly related to a tornado attack is very forgettable. The script is thin, fairly unfunny, and mostly just has you waiting around for the next storm to hit. The original Twister has the same problem in parts but is willing to be corny enough so that it doesn’t matter. 

There’s no corniness to carry through the duller moments of Twisters, since the film itself is preoccupied with being cool above all else. It’s a big misunderstanding of what made the source material so great – Twister was never cool. It was fun.

Among other problems are the excessive needle drops (how many country hits can you fit into a two hour and two minute movie? That’s what Twisters is trying to find out!), the underwhelming decision to end the film in an airport of all places, and a final line that’s confusing at best and bad at worst. 

Twisters verdict: 3/5

At the end of the day, Twisters is a good time at the theater and a solid level-up in scale and dramatics. Make no mistake – it’s a weak script with only a few moments of genuine heart, but if you’re looking for a disaster movie that’s likely to get your heart pounding at least once, then it’s a contender. 

You never really get a “cow moment” that’ll be talked about in years to come such as the original had. And because of this, debates over whether a sequel was needed will likely follow. That said, would I watch more Twister movies if they maintained this level of action? You bet.

Twisters is in theaters from July 17.

For more, check out our guide to all the new movies to stream this month. You can also take a look at our list of the best movies of 2024 so far, as well as the highest-grossing movies of all time.

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