Ridley Scott makes it clear from

Alien: Covenant's

first scene, a dialogue between Michael Fassbender's "synthetic" David and his creator Peter Weyland, that it will continue

Prometheus'

theme of gods and monsters.

Scott revisiting a franchise he started 40 years ago to subvert its history is fascinating, but is it what viewers want from an Alien movie?

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The best moments in Covenant are the ones involving Fassbender's dual performance as David and his newer counterpart Walter. He's great in both roles, and the scenes with the two synthetics alone are gripping, scary, and at times weirdly homoerotic.

In fact, the cast are uniformly great, using their varying degrees of screen time to build enjoyable characters, even when forced to lob around heavy-handed ideas about faith.

This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Katherine Waterston in a scene from
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Katherine Waterston in a scene from "Alien: Covenant," in theaters on May 19. Almost 40 years after “Alienâ€

Plot details that were a bit woolly in

Prometheus

are clarified, but on the whole,

Covenant

is almost as disjointed that film. The weird pacing whips us off to the next thing before much of it can sink in.

Still, it's thrilling to see Scott play with iconography like face-huggers again, and do it so effectively. He's not afraid to let Alien: Covenant descend into straight-up horror territory, with squirm-inducing moments and plenty of gore and slime.

The freaky stuff is so good you wish he would linger on it a bit longer, but in the end, nothing is lingered on. Covenant winds up being a fun digression in the Alien universe, but not much more.

Cast: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: R16 (violence, offensive language & horror)
Running time: 122 mins
Verdict: A fun romp through Alien's universe

Tony Stamp is a writer for Flicks.co.nz