The critics' verdicts are in, and according to them, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is... *drum roll*
Pretty damn positive.
After what seems like an endless wait, critics are lavishing praise on the next instalment in the Star Wars saga, directed by Rian Johnson.
While there were some criticisms on pacing and parts of the film that do not work as well as others, the general consensus is that it is a worthy Star Wars movie that takes bold risks.
So let's not wait to find out what the verdict on the further adventures of Rey, Finn, Luke, Leia and BB-8 – here's a handy round-up of what critics are saying:
"In the way that The Force Awakens echoed A New Hope, there are definitely some (although far, far fewer) parallels between The Last Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back, but Johnson has a much lighter touch than JJ Abrams. And when the bits of serious fan service do come, they feel earned rather than rammed down your throat. The film doesn't wallow in nostalgia – it acknowledges the past while moving Star Wars into new, uncharted territory.
"At two and a half hours, the film is lengthy, but events move at such a pace that it doesn't drag or threaten to outstay its welcome. Johnson has created a movie that is both quintessentially Star Wars and richer than anything that has come before. Abrams has his work cut out if he wants to match this quality for Episode IX. It's either that or give up and drown in Ewoks."
"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. What there is, admittedly, is an anticlimactic narrative muddle in the military story, but this is not much of a flaw considering the tidal wave of energy and emotion that crashes out of the screen in the final five minutes. It's impossible not to be swept away."
"The Last Jedi delivers everything you want from a Star Wars movie - fierce lightsaber action, space dogfights, exotic creatures, people off British telly as bad guys (hello, Ade Edmondson as a First Order Officer) - but layers it with story twists, character arcs and an emotional wallop that you could never have predicted. It doesn't all work, but it's a long time since a huge franchise movie has delivered the thrills and feels in such surprising ways."
"Rian Johnson's film certainly feels like Star Wars: it even has a supporting cast made up of British character actors and gorgeously CG-augmented rubber creatures, including porgs, a kind of hyper-marketable cross between a puffin and a young Justin Bieber.
"But 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."
"Although, like The Force Awakens, it takes more than a few beats from the Original Trilogy, Johnson feels eager to subvert our expectations, challenge the archetypes the series was founded on, and take bold steps to establishing a new concept of what a Star Wars movie can be while still feeling very much in line with previous films in the franchise. Although the movie suffers from a few pacing issues, they ultimately don't detract from the film's stunning craft and confident storytelling."
"The real success of The Last Jedi lies not in the affection it clearly holds for George Lucas' original trilogy, but the way it manages to move the story forward. 'Let the past die,' urges Ren, and he has a point. One of the criticisms levelled at The Force Awakens was that it felt too much like a greatest hits package tailored towards an audience who had grown up wielding plastic lightsabers around their backyard. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, it's difficult to level the same argument at The Last Jedi."
"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. Commercially, Disney is counting on another haul soaring past a billion dollars in worldwide theatrical box-office alone."
"Yes, the latest Star Wars installment is here, and, lo, it is a satisfying, at times transporting entertainment. Remarkably, it has visual wit and a human touch, no small achievement for a seemingly indestructible machine that revved up 40 years ago and shows no signs of sputtering out (ever)."
However, not everyone was impressed:
"As it turns out, although The Last Jedi meets a relatively high standard for franchise filmmaking, Johnson's effort is ultimately a disappointment. If anything, it demonstrates just how effective supervising producer Kathleen Kennedy and the forces that oversee this now Disney-owned property are at molding their individual directors' visions into supporting a unified corporate aesthetic - a process that chewed up and spat out helmers such as Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. But Johnson was either strong enough or weak enough to adapt to such pressures, and the result is the longest and least essential chapter in the series."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 14 in the UK and December 16 in the US.
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