Spoilers ahead for The Cloverfield Paradox.
The Cloverfield films have morphed into a weird anthology. Only the first movie, 2008’s Cloverfield, was the movie that was intended from start to finish. It wasn’t until 10 Cloverfield Lane was in production that the filmmakers realized that the movie, codenamed Valencia during production, had similarities to Cloverfield’s core story and that the film could be morphed into a new installment. Now we’ve got The Cloverfield Paradox, which was formerly titled God Particle and clearly became a Cloverfield movie after filming wrapped. And The Cloverfield Paradox ending raises some questions.
Most of the film takes place on Cloverfield Station (although none of the characters say “Cloverfield Station”; that title comes either from radio messages or news footage), but we occasionally cut back to Earth where we see Hamilton’s husband Michael (Roger Davies) helping a young girl (Clover Nee) while giant creatures stalk the Earth. We also see from news footage with scientist Mark Stambler (Donal Logue) cautioning that the work being done on Cloverfield Station could rip apart space-time and cause monsters, demons, and other bad things to come into our universe.
At the end of the movie, we see Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Schmidt (Daniel Bruhl) taking an escape pod back to Earth, but when Michael learns about this from mission control, he screams that they can’t come back and that Earth isn’t safe. However, his pleas are too late as the pod has already launched, the space station is destroyed, and as the pod comes back into our atmosphere, a Cloverfield monster comes roaring out of the clouds. Basically, what Stambler predicted came true: the particle accelerator that launched the station to another dimension caused a rip in space-time, and that the Cloverfield monster came from another dimension.
Theoretically, all of this could still fit into one universe. In the first Cloverfield, everything we’ve watched to that point has actually been an attempt to get footage of Rob and Beth on Coney Island, and in the background we can see an object fall out of the sky and into the ocean. That object could have come from the rip in space-time caused by Cloverfield Station. And then 10 Cloverfield Lane is just a thing that’s happening after or during the events of Cloverfield.
The problem with retrofitting these movies together is that it drains the impact of the film’s primary tone. It’s more egregious in a movie like 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is pretty damn great without all the Cloverfield stuff in it. But for a film like God Particle, it definitely feels like a crutch. You could remove all the Cloverfield stuff and you’d be left with a perfectly forgettable sci-fi movie. But because brands are everything and no one would tune in to watch a movie called God Particle despite the talented cast (unfortunately, no one in the movie is really a household name), it gets rebranded as The Cloverfield Paradox and then the Cloverfield stuff is tossed in haphazardly.
This leads to an unintentionally hilarious final shot where the Cloverfield monster just comes out of nowhere. Yes, we know it’s coming because we’ve seen it’s shadow earlier and the movie has “Cloverfield” in the title. But because it’s shoehorned into the story, it doesn’t get that great build that Matt Reeves worked to in the original Cloverfield. The monster is just dropped in, and it feels like a desperate attempt to make the movie bigger than it actually is.