‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Reviews: ‘Triumph,’ ‘Explosive Sugar Rush of Spectacle,’ But Has Flaws

Film has more than 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes so far

Last Updated: December 12, 2017 @ 10:26 AM

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is upon us, and according to critics, the new entry in the franchise is “the real deal” and “a triumph.”

“It is one of the best ‘Star Wars’ movies we’ve seen thus far, standing alongside ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ as a visually dazzling and character-driven spectacle which sets itself apart from the blockbuster pack,” Forbes’ Scott Mendelsohn wrote. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw said, “‘The Last Jedi’ gives you an explosive sugar rush of spectacle.”

TheWrap’s film critic Alonso Duralde wrote in his review, “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.”

Currently holding a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi” is the best-reviewed “Star Wars” film, followed by “The Empire Strikes Back.” “The Force Awakens” and “A New Hope” are tied for third.

However, many are criticizing the film for it’s middle act. Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty wrote, “The film simply drags too much in the middle. Somewhere in the film’s 152-minute running time is an amazing 90-minute movie.” However, he agrees that the would-be blockbuster redeems itself in the final act.

The Tomatometer score is subject to change in the coming hours and weeks. “The Last Jedi” will hit theaters on Dec. 15.

Read the 9 best reviews below.

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“‘The Last Jedi,’ written and directed by the gifted indie auteur Rian Johnson, nails the balance of novelty and nostalgia in much more satisfying fashion.”

Molly Freeman, ScreenRant:

“Johnson has helped usher this latest ‘Star War’s trilogy into new territory that not only brings plenty of fresh ideas to the table, but honors the original movies as well. And the writer-director has done so with such breathtaking visuals and a deft hand that it’s not hard to see why Lucasfilm would give him his own Star Wars trilogy. Johnson has not only met what were undeniably high expectations with his installment in one of the biggest movie franchises in history, he’s exceeded them. As ‘The Force Awakens’ proved with its success in 2015, ‘Star Wars’ is a massively beloved franchise, and ‘The Last Jedi’ elevates what was already a storied sci-fi/fantasy saga – and sets expectations even impossibly higher for Abrams’ return to the trilogy with ‘Episode IX.'”

Scott Meslow, GQ:

“I loved ‘The Force Awakens,’ but ‘The Last Jedi’ is even better. The greatest strength of the new Star Wars trilogy is how effortlessly it has integrated a series of instantly lovable new characters into the Star Wars universe. ‘The Force Awakens’ brought Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Maz Kanata, and BB-8, as well as promising new baddies like Kylo Ren and General Phasma. ‘The Last Jedi; doubles down on everything that worked about those characters in ‘The Force Awakens.'”

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Evil is ascendant. The Resistance — an intrepid, multi-everything group whose leaders include a battle-tested woman warrior — has been fighting the good fight for years but is outnumbered and occasionally outmaneuvered. 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).”

Tasha Robinson, The Verge:

“‘The Last Jedi’ feels like a deliberate, thought-through corrective. It sums up its theme in its title: it’s trying, as respectfully and carefully as possible, to let go of some of the old traditions, and look for the next steps for a world that’s rapidly expanding, and needs to escape its old, familiar conflicts if it’s going to grow. Johnson acknowledges, through the characters and the dialogue, that letting go of familiar things is hard, and he holds his audience’s hands through the process. But he’s also admirably merciless about it. Audiences will likely come away from ‘The Last Jedi’ with a lot of complaints and questions. But they’re at least likely to feel they’re in the hands of someone who cares about the series as much as they do, someone who loves its history, but sees the wide-open future ahead of it as well.”

Scott Mendelson, Forbes

“Now that’s more like it, Ms. Kennedy. After a crowd-pleasing but derivative franchise restarter that introduced interesting new characters but tied them down to previously established templates and an ambitious prequel/spin-off that sold its soul for a crowdpleasing third act, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is the real deal. It is one of the best Star Wars movies we’ve seen thus far, standing alongside ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ as a visually dazzling and character-driven spectacle which sets itself apart from the blockbuster pack. It is a long, sprawling and sometimes messy movie about messy conflicts and moral ambiguity in a time of relative immorality. It doesn’t always work as intended, and there will be plenty of ‘Hey, wait a minute?!’ fodder for the Honest Trailers folks, but it is terrific and intelligent entertainment.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“‘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.”

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

“‘The Last Jedi’ tries to do a little too much in its overlong 2½ hours, yet writer/director Rian Johnson still turns in a stellar entry that owes much to George Lucas’ original films while finding a signature vibe of its own and unleashing a few welcome twists.”

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly:

“‘The Last Jedi’ is a triumph with flaws. But through those flaws, it leaves us with a message as old as time. Our heroes don’t live forever. Death is inevitable. But their battle, if passed down to the right hands, will continue along with their memories. Both in front of and behind the camera, Star Wars has been passed to the right hands. The Force will live on. In these troubled, angry, and divisive times, that message of resistance isn’t just the stuff of innocuous tentpole diversions, it’s the closest thing we have to A New Hope.”