Critics Have Seen The Equalizer 3, And They’ve Got Thoughts About The Finale Of Denzel Washington’s Gory Trilogy

 Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3.
Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3.

Robert McCall is back for one more action-packed adventure to close out a summer of blockbusters. The Equalizer 3 will see the ex-DIA officer once again exacting his violent brand of vigilante justice — this time upon the Sicilian mafia — before potentially bringing the series to an end. Antoine Fuqua is back at the helm to complete the trilogy, which is set to hit theaters on September 1. Critics have already seen Denzel Washington’s latest project, and they’re here to share what they know about The Equalizer 3.

In addition to Denzel Washington in the leading role, The Equalizer 3 cast includes Gaia Scodellaro, David Denman, Sonia Amma, and more, while reuniting Washington with decades-long friend Dakota Fanning. Let’s see what the critics have to say, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of The Equalizer 3. Our own Eric Eisenberg rates the threequel 3 stars out of 5, saying that if you enjoyed the first two movies, you’ll probably like this one too, because it’s more of the same. He continues:

This is not a movie with a great deal of ambition. It’s not constructed to significantly build on the existing continuity (in the sense of utilizing the canon or playing to loyal fans who are paying close attention to details), and it doesn’t try to do anything radical with its characters to purposefully change things up just because it’s a second sequel. Whether or not it’s purposeful, The Equalizer 3 is reflective of the series’ source material in that it has the vibe of an episodic/syndicated TV show – it just takes the hero and drops him into a new location surrounded by new faces and conflicts. It’s built to be understood by fans and newcomers alike, and it’s… fine.

Emily Garbutt of GamesRadar also rates the movie 3 out of 5 stars, calling it an “uneven sendoff” for Robert McCall. The reunion between Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning isn’t as satisfying as it could have been, according to the critic, who writes:

Fanning's character, however, feels like a wasted opportunity, risking sinking into cliché. Callbacks to the previous two movies are cheapened by sepia-tinged flashbacks, too, and a minor, somewhat eyeroll-worthy twist in the final act. The emotional beats still hit, though, with a ludicrous yet satisfyingly cyclical conclusion. The result is not quite a bang, not quite a whimper, but something in between.

Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence says in terms of violence, The Equalizer 3 definitely earns its R-rating, but isn’t quite as intense as the John Wick series. Don’t worry if you’re new to the Denzel Washington franchise either, Miller says. She grades the movie a B, writing:

If you’re intrigued by the idea of watching Denzel Washington straight-up murder a crap-ton of bad guys this weekend, but have never Equalized before now, don’t worry about being lost. While there are elements that tie into the previous films, The Equalizer 3 is exceptionally accessible for newcomers.

Fran Hoepfner of The Wrap says while the first two Equalizer films were drab, dire affairs, the third offering allows Denzel Washington to let loose a little. The movie still falls victim to some of the series’ worst instincts, including lackluster villains. However, Hoepfner continues:

[It] helps that The Equalizer 3 is gorier, too, its action a little more thrilling, playing into the almost-superhuman-like combat skills of its protagonist like a running joke. With everything a little bigger and the film significantly more beautiful — the wonderful Robert Richardson (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Casino) behind the camera — the stakes feel worthy of their larger-than-life star.

For all the middling opinions, however, Chris Bumbray of JoBlo is all in for the straight-forward action thriller and considers it the perfect way to close the book on Robert McCall’s story, should this actually be the final movie. Bumbray gives The Equalizer 3 a “Great” 8 out of 10, noting that Antoine Fuqua really ups the ante in terms of gore in this one:

Fuqua’s always done a skillful job balancing character beats and carnage in his Equalizer films, and he certainly doesn’t skimp on violence. Indeed, this is likely the most gruesome of the series to date, with McCall dispatching his opponents in ways that make him almost more of a slasher than an action hero. I feel like McCall could go up against Jason or Freddy Krueger at this point and come out on top as far as gore and kill counts go.

While it doesn’t seem like The Equalizer 3 is breaking any new ground in the vigilante action genre, any fans of Denzel Washington’s movies playing Robert McCall should be satisfied with this supposed ending to the trilogy. In fact, even those who haven’t partaken in the 2014 and 2018 blockbusters will be apparently just fine purchasing a ticket to this one when it hits theaters Friday, September 1. Be sure to also check out our 2023 movie release schedule to see what else is coming soon.