Transporting, Stellar, Joyous: Critics Hail Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson has a lot riding on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Before the director’s latest movie even premiered, LucasFilm announced that he would be charged with creating an entirely new trilogy in the Star Wars universe. His future with the franchise will be greatly affected by the success of the latest film, but it looks like all systems are a go. The initial embargoed reviews glowed brighter than the snowy terrain of Hoth.

Now we’re getting a broader picture with the full reviews tumbling out. Granted, what the critics say doesn’t necessarily translate into your ultimate enjoyment of a movie. Added to that are the exorbitant expectations of a franchise like Star Wars in which even level-headed folks can sometimes set the bar so high that it is nearly impossible to separate a single Star Wars’ film’s merits from what is expected of it, how it stacks up to previous films, and whether or not it achieves the likely impossible goal of attaining the awe and wonder that the very first films in the franchise achieved. Sometimes, when you have a film that is this highly anticipated, the fan reactions are just as important. Luckily, the reviews for The Last Jedi indicate that the latest adventures of Rey, Luke, and Finn is a worthy addition to the legacy. In fact, it may be the greatest chapter since The Empire Strikes Back. The reviews promise that the story moves the entire plot forward, rather than holding us off for the next sequel.

The Last Jedi is now holding strong at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, so we can all breathe easy and enjoy the movie. Here are some of the highlights that show just how great this movie is going to be:

Brian Truitt, USA Today “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.”

Justin Chang, The 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.”

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic “Johnson is to be lauded for not locking himself into a retelling of the same old story. While there is plenty of familiarity — this franchise basically demands it — he isn’t afraid to go in new directions.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time: “Director Rian Johnson’s] movie has a sense of humor about itself and a sense of joy, but its emotional generosity, even in the midst of all the extravagant green-screen work, is its best special effect.”

Michael Phelps, The Chicago Tribune “This is the longest movie in the franchise. It just doesn’t feel that way. I haven’t been this into a Star Wars picture since the Empire struck back in The Empire Strikes Back.”

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times “Still, this is no mere placeholder of a story. Huge, important things happen to characters secondary and primary. Surprises big and small abound.”

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter “Loaded with action and satisfying in the ways its loyal audience wants it to be.”

Manohla Dargis, New York Times “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).”

As if you have not already purchased your tickets, Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters Friday.

Featured Image: Daisy Ridley in The Last Jedi. Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.