The Times' Kenneth Turan said that although parts of "World War Z" are formulaic, "it's good to have Pitt in the one-man-against-the-apocalypse role. Though nothing about this part is a particular challenge, it's satisfying to see the actor handling being an old-school Mr. Intrepid without breaking a sweat."
Regarding the production difficulties, Turan wrote, "'World War Z' plays a bit like a series of separate films and the juncture where the new final act was grafted on to the proceedings is unmistakable, but unless you knew about the film's troubled past, you'd never guess it existed. Against considerable odds, the ability and professionalism of the cast and crew have carried the day."
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The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle said the film "is nerve-racking and just keeps coming," and he credits Forster for playing things straight, resulting in "real disturbance and unease." LaSalle added, "At the center of the movie, Pitt is everything he needs to be -- the face that catches your eye in a crowd, believable in action, human and thoughtful, and as pretty as the zombies are ugly. He is an exalted, but casual, representative of the human race. He also knows how to listen and let the featured players have their moments."
The Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek said that "if nothing else, World War Z shows off some horrifically effective filmmaking," including an early set piece on the streets of Philadelphia. She added, "Forster moves the action forward deftly scene by scene, yet the movie ends up feeling sprawling and empty, a 'zombies invaded the world and all I got was a lousy T-shirt' enterprise."
That said, "all that matters in 'World War Z' is Brad Pitt," who is "a deeply comforting presence, the dad who promises to take care of everything -- everything! -- and actually manages to do so."
Speaking of humans, Pitt "moves through the mayhem not as a strutting superhero but a capable and very worried guy with a wife and kids back home," and some of the film's most affecting scenes center on the relationships he forges with other characters. In the end, against "steep odds," Burr said, "'World War Z' works."