The first reviews for The Last Jedi, the latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise, have started appearing online – and they’re really rather good.
By all accounts, fans can expect some genuinely surprising twists and turns, and quick, funny filmmaking that expands the Star Wars universe with an inventiveness that was perhaps lacking in the slavishly formula-adhering Force Awakens.
A bit of a triumph for indie director turned mega-director Rian Johnson, then. (The Star Wars producers have already given him an entire new trilogy to work on, so we’re guessing they’re pretty happy with it.) Check out some of the first reviews below…
Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian:
The Last Jedi gives you an explosive sugar rush of spectacle. It’s a film that buzzes with belief in itself and its own mythic universe – a euphoric certainty that I think no other movie franchise has. And there is no provisional hesitation or energy dip of the sort that might have been expected between episodes seven and nine. ★★★★☆
Ian Freer in Empire:
[Rian] Johnson finds a cinematic grammar that feels new to Star Wars; big close-ups (tender touching hands), top shots, elegant camera tracks and pulling out in-world sound, leaving just music and image. In fact, there is a moment involving Leia that is as poetic as the series has ever been. And Johnson isn’t afraid to go trippy, either – a scene in which a character repeatedly clicks their fingers could have come from a ’60s arthouse flick. ★★★★☆
Robbie Collin at The Telegraph:
It’s not a Star Wars you’re entirely sure Lucas would or could have ever made himself. Rather than playing the hits, as JJ Abrams’s franchise-reviving The Force Awakens did two Christmases ago, it flexes its fingers before riffing over old chord progressions in ways that will leave fans beaming with surprise. It’s less Star Wars as you’ve never seen it than Star Wars as you’ve never felt it. ★★★★★
Scott Chitwood at Coming Soon:
It has some fantastic, jaw-dropping moments that you’ll want to see on the big screen with fans. As of this writing, I’ve seen the film twice and there are many new things to discover with each viewing. And I was amazed to see that Rian Johnson foreshadowed a lot of his biggest surprises early in the film. Buy extra tickets. You’re gonna need them. ★★★★☆
Todd McCarthy at Hollywood Reporter:
This latest, and longest, franchise entry has the decided feel of a passing-of-the-torch from one set of characters, and actors, to the next. Loaded with action and satisfying in the ways its loyal audience wants it to be, writer-director Rian Johnson’s plunge into George Lucas’ universe is generally pleasing even as it sometimes strains to find useful and/or interesting things for some of its characters to do.
Christopher Hooton at The Independent:
The joke count may have increased, but so has the amount of time characters spend staring down the barrel of their own mortality, and there’s a brutal quality to the way the fight scenes are shot that reminds you this film was made by a guy who directed a few (action-heavy) episodes of Breaking Bad. The visuals are stunning and so is the fight scene choreography. ★★★★☆
Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com:
The Last Jedi is a sprawling, incident- and character-packed extravaganza that guides the series into unfamiliar territory. It’s everything a fan could want from a Star Wars film and then some. Even the sorts of viewers who spend the entire running time of movies anticipating every plot twist and crowing “called it!” when they get one right are likely to come up short here. Johnson’s script does a better job than most sequels of giving the audience both what it wants and what it didn’t know it wanted.
Eric Kohn for Indie Wire:
The most satisfying entry in this bumpy franchise since “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980. Johnson’s greatest achievement is while he honors the plot’s need to address the story world’s most-obvious beats, he’s rewired the telling with misdirection and a commitment to intrigue. His ability to deliver a fresh and engaging riff on this beast of an enterprise suggests that not every free-spirited storyteller can be corrupted by Hollywood’s dark side, and some may even give it a new hope. ★★★★★
Joshua Rothkopf for Time Out New York:
A triumph of comic irreverence and dramatic purpose, Episode VIII dazzles like the sci-fi saga hasn’t in decades. Rolling up with the kind of intergalactic swagger that gives us a cosmically infuriating phone prank within the first five minutes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a work of supreme confidence: witty, wild and free to roam unexplored territory. ★★★★★
Tasha Robinson at The Verge:
Johnson crams The Last Jedi with incident and sidelines, including new developments that radically shift the supposed direction of the franchise. It isn’t just a single-story movie, it’s a kind of wide-ranging, almost soap-operatic check-in on an immense cast of characters up to their own adventures. Johnson doesn’t fully justify all the side adventures, but he does weave them into the larger loss narrative, and into an ongoing attempt for the Resistance to live up to its name, while the evil First Order attempts to wipe it out completely.