"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" reviews: Critics rave about new installment

Critics are raving about the new "Star Wars" installment, which lands in theaters on Friday.

The film, which had its world premiere Monday in Los Angeles, finds director J.J. Abrams resurrecting familiar characters and introducing new ones to the hit franchise.

The seventh film marks the first "Star Wars" release in a decade and the first to be made without creator George Lucas. The movie stars previous stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, along with newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong'o, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac.

"When we started casting the movie, it felt incredibly important to me that the movie look like the world in which this movie is being released," Abrams told "60 Minutes."

Reviews for the film are positive -- at last check "The Force Awakens" has a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review aggregator site. Critics sound confident that even the biggest of "Star Wars" fans won't be disappointed.

Read on for a round-up from movie critics, but be warned -- full reviews may have spoilers.

"'The Force Awakens' has succeeded where it counts most, in creating a cast of characters that viewers can spend the next several years rooting for, especially the spirited, resourceful heroine at its center. Put another way -- and hallelujah for it -- there's not a Binks in the bunch." - Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens delivers exactly what you want it to: rollicking adventure wrapped in epic mythology, a perfect amount of fan service that fires your geekiest synapses, and a just-right cliffhanger ending that paves the way for future installments. 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." - Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

"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. But whereas the fundamental touchstones of George Lucas' original creation remain, in director J.J. Abrams' hands there is a shift in tone that brings the material closer to the feel of a Steven Spielberg film." - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

"'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is no more and no less than the movie that made us love it in the first place. In fact, it's basically the same thing. Isn't that what we all wanted anyway?" - Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press

"The big news about 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is -- spoiler alert -- that it's good! Despite the prerelease hype, it won't save the world, not even Hollywood, but it seamlessly balances cozy favorites -- Harrison Ford, ladies and gentlemen -- and new kinetic wows along with some of the niceties that went missing as the series grew into a phenomenon, most crucially a scale and a sensibility that is rooted in the human. It has the usual toy-store-ready gizmos and critters, but it also has appealingly imperfect men and women whose blunders and victories, decency and goofiness remind you that a pop mythology like "Star Wars" needs more than old gods to sustain it." - Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"Everything you need to know about the movie is precisely where it belongs, in the movie. Just see it. You'll love it." - Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"Not everyone will love the new 'Star Wars.' Maybe some fans and critics won't find the fresh characters nearly as memorable as the classics. No doubt some will be flat-out ticked off at certain developments. Better to take such risks than to give us a "Star Wars" sequel that plays it safe or ventures into weirdness and goofiness and Jar Jar Binks." - Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times