What is arguably the most anticipated film of the year has arrived in force. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the first in the series from writer-director Rian Johnson, is sure to kill at the box office regardless of reviews. But Disney will be happy, anyway. Critics say The Last Jedi, with a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is one of the best Star Wars flicks yet. A spoiler-free round-up of opinions:
- "The Last Jedi is almost as thrilling and memorable as The Empire Strikes Back" and "that's a sentence this sci-fi fan never thought she'd write," says Karen D'Souza at the San Jose Mercury News. "The movie is so good, maybe even great, it makes words like epic seem puny." There's wit, suspense, unpredictability, and potency, not to mention "the biggest mind trick ever," she writes. It all combines for a film "that's flat-out exhilarating."
- It's "truly for everyone," carrying "a sense of humor about itself and a sense of joy," writes Stephanie Zacharek at Time. "But its emotional generosity, even in the midst of all the extravagant green-screen work, is its best special effect." And while it sometimes feels "cluttered," Johnson "makes the most of individual scenes, shaping each with care and vigor. And he does well by every character."
- The film "[relies] on familiar tropes a bit more than it should … But it's still a pretty damn good movie, arguably the best the franchise has offered since Empire," writes Christopher Orr at the Atlantic. Picking up where The Force Awakens left off, it "probably does the best job of any Star Wars film of capturing the allure of the Dark Side and the spiritual turmoil that would lead to—and also result from—its embrace." Still, Orr hopes Johnson "is willing to take still greater chances" with the next installment.
- Peter Travers continues the trend: "The Last Jedi ranks with the very best Star Wars epics," he writes at Rolling Stone. It's "simply stupendous … bursting at the seams with knockout fun surprises, marvelous adventure and shocking revelations that will leave your head spinning." Johnson "eases into epic filmmaking like a pro" and "makes sure you leave the multiplex feeling euphoric," he adds, commending Mark Hamill on "the performance of his career."
(Read more Star Wars