The Critics Are Loving ‘The Last Jedi.’ Here’s What They’re Saying
If you haven’t heard, there’s a super-obscure movie that came out today — The Last Jedi. We’re not sure what a Jedi is, other than it has to do with some wars happening in the stars? Of course, we’re kidding — everyone knows about the latest film in the Star Wars saga. And though the superfans have been lining up to see it for the last six months, the rest of us have been waiting to read some of The Last Jedi reviews to decide whether or not we’ll see it. That day is here — and it looks like it’s a winner!
Just to bring everyone up to speed, The Last Jedi is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. It’s directed by Rian Johnson, famous for the high-school noir Brick and the time-travel hitman film Looper. The film continues the story of The Force Awakens, looking at young rebel Rey as she trains for the upcoming fight against the First Order. The Last Jedi reviews say that the film stands on its own as a new installment in the long-running sci-fi series.
Obviously the film, which is out today, Dec. 15, will be a huge hit — there hasn’t been a Star Wars movie that hasn’t been — but it’s good to know that The Last Jedi reviews all agree that the film earns its hype.
Here are a selection of The Last Jedi reviews to whet your appetite:
The Guardian‘s Jordan Hoffman gave it a full five stars.
While there are some solid nuggets of deep-cut easter eggs for hardcore fans, what is so extraordinary about The Last Jedi is that this is the first post-Lucas Star Wars film that feels free to dance to its own beat. It is thrilling that this franchise, which looked like it was lumbering after some behind-the-scenes woe, is evolving in its prime storyline. The callbacks, reappearances of old friends and in-jokes surely gave me what physicians of the day now diagnose as “the feels,” but they were not my favorite part of the movie. Instead I was more thrilled that this isn’t just a trace-over job; The Last Jedi, truly, is its own movie.
The Daily Beast‘s Ira Madison III called it the best Star Wars in decades.
It’s a sign that Johnson understands the series well enough to upend it and deliver things we’ve never seen before… It’s the work of a master helmer and writer who has operated in the sci-fi, pulp, and noir genres and knows how to blend them effortlessly to breathe new life into stories that pop culture has been telling for years. There are many familiar beats to The Last Jedi, yes, but they’re done with such aplomb, such reckless abandon, that they feel not only fresh but absolutely fucking awesome.
Peter Travers in Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 stars out of 4.
Still, The Last Jedi belongs to Hamill in a portrayal that cuts to the core of what Star Wars means to a generation of dreamers looking to the heavens. In the 40 years since the actor first played Luke Skywalker, we’ve followed him from callow youth to Jedi master. But it’s here that Hamill gives the performance of his career, nailing every nuance of an iconic role and rewarding the emotional investment we’ve made in him.
The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde says The Last Jedi is a “ripping intergalactic yarn.”
If having pure fun at a Star Wars movie is wrong, I don’t want to be right. So for me, The Last Jedi falls right behind The Empire Strikes Back and maybe the original film in providing the thrills and the heartbreak, the heroism and villainy, and the romance and betrayal that makes these films such a treat even for those of us who can’t name all the planets or the alien species or even the Empire’s flunkies. (Sorry, the First Order’s flunkies.)
A.A. Dowd in The AV Club gives it a B+.
The Last Jedi is a middle chapter in most of the right ways. Unburdened by the necessity for introductions or tying up loose ends, it operates in a rollicking present tense, never stopping to catch its breath as it races through two and a half hours of running time. This isn’t a nostalgia trip through another film’s highlights, à la the franchise reset J.J. Abrams offered two years ago, though as the second episode in a new trilogy, it does contain perhaps inevitable echoes of The Empire Strikes Back.
Tasha Robinson of The Verge likes Johnson’s twists on the Star Wars canon.
Johnson doesn’t go nearly as far as Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi in re-creating a tentpole franchise in his own image. He doesn’t radically reinvent Star Wars with the looseness of his film The Brothers Bloom, or the creative rigor and conceptual daring of Brick. But he does dig into the impulses behind the new trilogy’s younger characters, cracking them open and examining their psychology in a way Star Wars rarely has.