Online Critics’ Early Reaction to ‘The Social Network’: Like, Like, LIKE

David Fincher’s highly-anticipated drama drawing strong reviews from across the blogosphere

Sony's savvy publicity department recently invited a handful of online writers to an early screening of David Fincher's "The Social Network," and has now allowed those critics to post early impressions of the studio's Oscar hopeful, though many reactions read like full-length reviews. Needless to say, TheWrap called this one very early on. Traditional media outlets will have to wait a while longer to post their own reviews, but here's what the blogosphere has been buzzing about all day …

Eric 'Quint' Vespe of Ain't It Cool News:

"I was blown away… The flick has zero fat on it… All the characters pop… All the dialogue, whether sad, funny or serious, is sharp and most important of all, entertaining… Mark Zuckerberg is the character Jesse Eisenberg was born to play… I have a feeling a lot of geeks will be solidly behind [Andrew Garfield] as Peter Parker after seeing this movie, and I think you'll get why David Fincher settled on Rooney Mara for his Lisbeth Salander… This flick doesn't really tell you to root for Zuckerberg or those that claimed he ripped them off. Did he or didn't he? That's kinda left up to you… Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor's score [is] amazing. Jeff Cronenweth's cinematography is also brilliant… Fincher himself is in top form. I loved this movie and I think it officially kicks off the 2010 Oscar race."

Drew McWeeny of HitFix:

""The Social Network" represents the very best of both Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher… Emotionally intense, surprisingly funny and genuinely significant. This is an astounding film about one of the most important seismic shifts in communication in the modern age, and the way innovation and ethics are not often related… I wasn't expecting to be hit emotionally the way I was… The surprise of the film though? Justin Timberlake. Good god — he is genuinely impressive as Sean Parker… In this film, Fincher is working on a whole different level. His use of digital photography is impressive, and he manages to make even the simplest moments in the film visually arresting… The score by Trent Reznor is spare and effective, and really builds a mood over the course of the film… Every one of Fincher's collaborators seems to have been working at the top of their game, and the result is entertaining from start to finish."

Devin Faraci, formerly of CHUD:

"It's dense and deep and often delightful… It's a great film not just about the founding of Facebook, not just about living in the modern digital age, but also about the very impetus for creativity. In the end, "The Social Network" is a movie about why we invent things…  David Fincher seems to have found the perfect partner in screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Because [they're] more interested in the people and their motivations, "The Social Network" remains gripping… It's bolstered by frankly incredible performances from a young cast. Eisenberg is phenomenal. The other heavy hitter in the movie, believe it or not, is Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker. Garfield is also very strong, and his performance here displays a range and a sympathy that bodes well for the "Spider-Man" reboot… Absorbing and hilarious and smart, "The Social Network" is a very old fashioned movie about a very new world. It's the most accessible movie Fincher may have ever made… and I'm also excited to see it again… I walked out of it knowing that this was a damn fine film, but I suspect a second viewing may reveal it to be a great film, an "All the President's Men" for the Farmville generation."

Peter Sciretta of SlashFilm:

"The Social Network" is Fincher's best film since "Fight Club," and it's also my favorite movie of the year (so far)… After returning home from the screening, I was tempted to read the screenplay — that's how good it is… Jesse Eisenberg perfectly captures the awkward and impassive qualities of Mark Zuckerberg… Andrew Garfield will win audiences over and Rooney Mara finally shows us why she was cast as the lead in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub of Collider:

"A masterpiece… one of the best films I've seen in 2010… Eisenberg's performance is on another level. He delivers one of the best performances of the year… "The Social Network" proves two things: Justin Timberlake is great at whatever he does, and Andrew Garfield might turn out to be a pretty awesome Peter Parker. Both are better than you might expect… Aaron Sorkin's script is great, and the opening scene alone is worth the price of admission… I think it's some of the best work Sorkin has ever done… What's really exceptional is that it never dumbs down the story… Fincher's direction is brilliant, amazing, perfect. It proves he's one of the best in the business… Fincher delivers a captivating film that had me engrossed from beginning to end."

Erik Davis of Cinematical:

"The film opens with what will go down as one of the great break-up scenes of all time, and from there, Fincher rides Sorkin's hilariously addictive script like a wild bull at a rodeo. It moves fast like a manic Internet surfer, and it never really lets you catch your breath. It's a film about connecting, except you won't really connect with anyone… Deliciously watchable… While the film's greatest strength is that it moves at a hip, brisk pace, that's also its greatest weakness… Jesse Eisenberg turns out a terrific performance as Zuckerberg… but we're never able to connect with him or root for him since, in the end, it's hard to tell whether Zuckerberg was a hero or a villain… Fincher clicks through story points so fast and aggressively that we never find the time to care about friendships being lost, or dreams being crushed… Both Garfield and Timberlake toss in decent-enough performances… First-time movie scorer Trent Reznor adds a familiar, dark, moody, metallic score that sometimes works and sometime doesn't… It's very difficult to truly connect with — or care much about — its characters… "The Social Network" will define a generation for a generation that couldn't care less about its generation, but it's as entertaining as anything you'll watch all year."

Austin Lugar of The Film Yap:

"Aaron Sorkin is back, and hiring him as the screenwriter for this adaptation was genius. This is one of the rare examples when the movie is better than the book… This was a blast… Jesse Eisenberg was brilliant as Zuckerberg. I sadly don't think he will be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar… Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Rooney Mara are all stellar… See this movie. It's one of my favorites of the year so far."