Variety calls it an "expansive, expensive adventure whose creativity outweighs its more uneven elements". The Atlantic calls it "a visual sensation that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible." The Guardian describes the plot: "The film is based on a French comic-book series that has been running since the 1960s, and it stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as Valerian and Laureline, sleek and preposterous space agents in the 28th century" and has a negative review.
Esquire closes with this: "There was never a dull moment. Do with that information what you will. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sit in a silent, dark room for a few hours. I need a dull moment." Rolling Stone says, "It's as gorgeous as anything the French filmmaker has made and as empty as a Trump tweet. You either go with it or you don't."
The New York Times titles their review, "‘Valerian’ Is a Rave in Space (but Not Much Fun)" and concludes, "“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” feels as if it were made up on the spot, by someone so delighted by the gaudy genre packaging at his disposal that he lost track of what was supposed to be inside." The Washington Post calls it "little more than meets the eye."
Empire Online concludes, "A wildly ambitious space opera, but also a self-indulgent narrative morass. Sometimes, it seems, creativity can benefit from a few limitations." Hollywood Reporter has a negative review. Roger Ebert's site has a glowing reviewing and says it's "a deliriously entertaining film that finds writer/director Luc Besson swinging for the fences in his efforts to make a weirdo sci-fi epic for the ages and coming up with a virtual home run derby."
Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics illustrates how mixed the reviews are.