The Last Jedi Review Round-Up: Rian Johnson Delivers Answers, Heart And Spectacle

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Critics have run the rule over Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it’s good news for the galaxy far, far away.

Having lifted its water-tight embargo earlier this afternoon, Lucasfilm has officially opened the floodgates to a wave of reviews for The Last Jedi, and they range from good to positively spectacular. Across the board, Rian Johnson has been praised for his deft filmmaking, which has seemingly resulted in the “most intelligent Star Wars movie by several light years.”

It also tackles those burning questions head-on, with many critics declaring that Johnson and his team are about to deliver answers, heart and spectacle to the wanting masses. Because while most reviews stay far clear of spoilers, thank the heavens, critics agree that The Last Jedi will “shock and awe in equal measure.” Is it December 15th yet?

To get an idea of the preliminary critical consensus, we’ve included a small sample of those reviews, beginning with our own:

WGTC: Star Wars: The Last Jedi is striking, stunning, visually hypnotizing, thrilling – everything “epic” about the famed franchise rolled into a tremendously overcharged start to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars career.

THR: Maybe the film is a tad too long. Most of the new characters could use more heft, purpose and edge to their personalities, and they have a tendency to turn up hither and yon without much of a clue how they got there; drawing a geographical map of their movements would create an impenetrable network of lines. But there’s a pervasive freshness and enthusiasm to Johnson’s approach that keeps the film, and with it the franchise, alive, and that is no doubt what matters most.

Empire: If The Force Awakens raised a lot of questions, The Last Jedi tackles them head-on, delivering answers that will shock and awe in equal measure. Fun, funny but with emotional heft, this is a mouth-watering set-up for Episode IX and a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher.

The review round-up continues:

Variety: The Last Jedi possesses the same reverence for the galaxy Lucas created, paying homage in all the right places (from the chills we get from John Williams’ iconic fanfare to the new-and-improved walkers that appear during the climactic siege) while barely advancing the narrative. Ultimately, there’s only so much wiggle room Johnson has to play with a property that seems destined to generate a new installment/spinoff every year until we die — which means that however many Death Stars or Sith Lords the Resistance manages to defeat, there will always be more, and no matter how few Jedi remain, there can never be none.

io9: Once The Last Jedi kicks into its final act, the film’s somewhat saggy middle is forgotten and forgiven. The final hour or so of the film is filled with truly intense and shocking moments—all while Johnson also finds time to examine more complex things that Star Wars has never dealt with before, like celebrity, war profiteering, and the importance of letting go of the past. By combining the spectacle and this thoughtfulness, Johnson has made the entire experience of The Last Jedi incredibly rewarding.

CBM: In the end, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is bound to divide opinion – but even if you’re not on board with every story choice, there’s no denying that Rian Johnson has brought us the most thrilling, emotional, and ballsy journey to the galaxy far, far away yet. Avoid spoilers at all costs, and prepare to be blown away.

A catchy critical consensus is yet to be determined – we’ll leave that one to Rotten Tomatoes – but here’s another batch of The Last Jedi reviews for good measure:

ComingSoon: The Last Jedi is a very satisfying entry into the Star Wars Saga. 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.

Polygon: But The Last Jedi winds up being its own thing. It concludes with an overwhelming note of hope. It sets its ambitions high and follows through. And it walks the tricky line of surprising a savvy audience while also following its franchise’s familiar symmetries and tropes.

Collider: Even if you can feel the film’s runtime as it heads to the climax, there’s no shortage of appreciation for what Johnson has accomplished. I won’t be surprised if fans start openly wondering if The Last Jedi is better than A New Hope or Empire, although I think it’s clear that the film surpasses The Force Awakens even if the sequel’s success is partly due to the unglamorous groundwork The Force Awakens had to accomplish. There are so many moments and details I want to dig into with The Last Jedi, but I don’t want to spoil the many reveals, twists, and turns that make the movie such a wonderful experience. I lost count of the jaw-dropping moments The Last Jedi presents, and it’s a movie I can’t wait to revisit.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi shouldered a great burden throughout its storied production – the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, the inevitable comparisons to Empire…you name it – but it looks as though Rian Johnson has pulled off the impossible. And in light of these glowing reviews, we can confidently say that The Last Jedi fully deserves a massive opening weekend ($425 million?) at the global box office.

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