Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has finally arrived, and to celebrate this long-awaited return to Middle Earth, critics and fans were graced with a two-episode premiere. But ever since this expensive series was announced, it’s been walking a tightrope.
Fans have debated the source material for this series for years, so Amazon’s had its work cut out trying to satisfy fans of Peter Jackson’s beloved, Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy while attempting to entice new audiences at the same time. The whole situation is all too reminiscent of one of Galadriel’s famous quotes: “The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all.”
So, with two episodes under its belt, has Amazon’s The Rings of Power hit the mark or missed it completely? Read on to see the range of opinions from critics and fans.
“Shiny, Not Yet Precious,” James Poniewozik
“Its first season offers fans well-executed versions of familiar things: balletic archery, squabbling frenemyship among elves and dwarves, a rising evil, even a tempting, cursed artifact.
But if the ambitious first season does not reinvent the ring, it is a breathtaking reproduction that adds a few new filigrees. It immediately conjures the visual spell of the movies. More important, it manages, eventually and occasionally, to create its own swashbuckling, storytelling magic.”
You can read more about Poniewozik’s thoughts on The Rings of Power over at The New York Times.
“Kind of a Catastrophe,” Darren Franich
“Viewers hungry for Middle-Earth Anything could be satisfied, and I guess you could argue ‘Rings of Power’ is no worse than all the other expensively empty genre adventures (‘Altered Carbon’, anyone?) that have proliferated through the streaming era. But this series is a special catastrophe of ruined potential, sacrificing a glorious universe’s limitless possibilities at the altar of tried-and-true blockbuster desperation.”
You can read more about Franich’s thoughts on The Rings of Power over at Entertainment Weekly.
“A Cinematic Feast,” Rebecca Nicholson
“It is so rich and gorgeous that it is easy to spend the first episode simply gawping at the landscapes, as it swoops and swooshes between the lands of elves and dwarves, humans and harfoots. This is TV that is made for big screens, although surely destined to be watched on smaller ones. It is so cinematic and grand that it makes ‘House of the Dragon’ look as if it has been cobbled together on Minecraft.”
You can read more about Nicholson’s thoughts on The Rings of Power over at The Guardian.
“A Sigh of Relief,” Michael Nordine
“It may take some time yet to fully absorb the fact that Amazon literally dropped $1 billion on its ‘Lord of the Rings’ show, but at least you can see where the money went. It’s difficult to think of a single television production not named ‘Game of Thrones’ that has ever felt quite so vast and, yes, epic.
‘The Rings of Power’ doesn’t feel small compared to the movies, nor does it feel unworthy of them. We can bemoan the fact that seemingly everything has to be an expanded universe these days, but we can also be happy when they’re good.”
You can read more about Nordine’s thoughts on The Rings of Power over at Variety.
You can stream the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime now. Tune in for new episodes every Friday.