Here’s What the Critics Have to Say About the New ‘Star Wars’

December 16, 2015, 1:11 PM UTC
Cast attends the World Premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
attends the World Premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Photograph by Alberto E. Rodriguez — Getty Images

Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Hollywood premiere is over and fans are ready to hit theaters, but will they like what they see? The consensus from the critics is absolutely: Star Wars is back.

With the Wednesday embargo lifted, the industry’s top film critics are publishing their thoughts after watching one of the most eagerly anticipated films of all time. And most have praised the J.J. Abrams-helmed seventh installment as a return back to form, and a more-than-worthy addition to the Star Wars canon.

Here’s a collection of some of the most memorable quotes from the reviews posted online:

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times:

What a beautiful, thrilling, joyous, surprising and heart-thumping adventure this is. “The Force Awakens” pops with memorable battle sequences, gives us chills with encore appearances by stars from the original trilogy and introduces more than a half-dozen terrific Next Generation characters.

If the U.S. presidential election were held this weekend, director-producer-co-writer J.J. Abrams might carry the day based on geek support alone.

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly:

In a way, Abrams has accomplished exactly what he did with 2009’s Star Trek. He took a worshiped pop-culture franchise with a rabid legion of disciples, treated it with respect, and made it matter again. If anything, the shoes were far bigger to fill this time around. Which, in a way, is exactly what The Force Awakens is about — being worthy of the legacy that came before you.

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times:

J.J. Abrams, the director of “The Force Awakens,” may not have the makings of a god or an empire builder like George Lucas, but he turns out to be what this stagnant franchise needs: a “Star Wars” superfan and pop culture savant.


Ty Burr, The Boston Globe:

Abrams understands what George Lucas never quite figured out: that we’re less interested in the science fiction future than we are in revisiting the past. We don’t really want to see what happens next in that galaxy far, far away. We want to recapture what it felt like the first time we arrived, in 1977, with a movie called “Star Wars.”

We want to go home. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” takes us there.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

The Force Awakens re-awoke my love of the first movie and turned my inner fanboy into my outer fanboy. There are very few films which leave me facially exhausted after grinning for 135 minutes, but this is one. And when Han Solo and Chewie come on, I had a feeling in the cinema I haven’t had since I was 16: not knowing whether to burst into tears or into applause.

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:

The Force is back. Big time. As the best Star Wars anything—film, TV show, video game, spinoff, what-have-you—in at least 32 years, Star Wars: The Force Awakens pumps new energy and life into a hallowed franchise in a way that both resurrects old pleasures and points in promising new directions.

There was, however, one notable critic who went to the dark side:

Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times:

Perhaps inevitably, this, the most hotly anticipated motion picture since “Gone With the Wind,” has an erratic, haphazard quality to it. Though a definite improvement on the last three abortive “Star Wars” prequels directed by series creator George Lucas, “The Force Awakens” is only at its best in fits and starts, its success dependent on who of its mix of franchise veterans and first-timers is on the screen.

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