The critics have spoken on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The review embargo for the latest chapter of the beloved sci-fi franchise lifted Tuesday. The critical results for The Last Jedi (in theaters Thursday evening) featured mixed reviews ranging from "stellar" to "disappointing."
USA TODAY's Brian Truitt raved about writer/director Rian Johnson's space opera with a glowing 3½ star review. Truitt had quibbles with the 2½ hour length, calling it "overlong."
"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," Truitt wrote.
The New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis released the secret: "Psst … Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is really good."
"Lo, it is a satisfying, at times transporting entertainment. Remarkably, it has visual wit and a human touch, no small achievement," Dargis wrote.
Variety critic Peter Debruge said the new chapter, while a "relatively high standard for franchise filmmaking," was "ultimately a disappointment."
He said there was plenty for Star Wars fans to appreciate in the new movie. "It may sound like a backhanded compliment, but with so much on the line, Johnson deserves credit for not messing things up," Debruge wrote of the effort.
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy placed the eighth film in Star Wars franchise perspective with some praise: "Far from the last or the least."
"Maybe the film is a tad too long. Most of the new characters could use more heft, purpose and edge to their personalities, and they have a tendency to turn up hither and yon without much of a clue how they got there," McCarthy wrote. "But there's a pervasive freshness and enthusiasm to Johnson's approach that keeps the film, and with it the franchise, alive, and that is no doubt what matters most."
CNN's Brian Lowry wrote that The Last Jedi "falls short of sky-high hopes" despite the return of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
"Even with Luke integrated into the story, the film feels like a significant letdown, one that does far less than its predecessor to stoke enthusiasm for the next leg in the trilogy," Lowry wrote.
EW's Chris Nashawaty said The Last Jedi "is (mostly) a triumph."
"There are a handful of truly spectacular moments in The Last Jedi — some as visually sumptuous and others as emotionally poignant and raw as anything in the intergalactic ring cycle so far," Nashawaty wrote, stopping short of calling the film "the masterpiece that some desperately want it to be. The film simply drags too much in the middle. Somewhere in the film’s 152-minute running time is an amazing 90-minute movie."