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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ gets strong reaction from audience

A view of the audience at the World

A view of the audience at the World Premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on Dec. 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Disney / Jesse Grant

Mini-reviews of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” suggest that the much-hyped movie delivers on its promise and may be the best film in the franchise since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

Following Monday’s premiere in Los Angeles, Twitter exploded with off-the-cuff reactions from those in attendance. With few exceptions, the reviews ranged from very positive to completely breathless.

Rainn Wilson called it “epic, awesome & perfect. The cast was stellar.” A Hollywood reporter noted “a LOT of smiling faces” among the exiting crowd. Patton Oswalt praised the movie’s “BEST final shot of any Star Wars film. Wow.”

Critics in attendance were mostly silent, as Disney has placed a Wednesday morning embargo on reviews.

The largely positive response to J.J. Abrams’ movie -- the seventh in the franchise and the first since 2005 -- isn’t surprising. With a multi-billion dollar investment in Lucasfilm, Disney was unlikely to let “The Force Awakens” suffer from the kind of mundane script problems or sub-par special effects that plague other movies. What’s more, any minor flaws would hardly matter. Fans have been primed to love “The Force Awakens” for years as Disney steadily leaked crowd-pleasing names such as Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan (a writer on “The Empire Strikes Back”), Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Barring absolute failure as a film, “The Force Awakens” is virtually guaranteed a warm reception.

Here in New York, critics are seeing the film Tuesday at 8 p.m.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens nationwide on more than 4,000 screens Friday, Dec. 18. Early showings the night of Dec. 17 are also planned.

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