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'Rings of Power' reviews praise 'awe-inspiring,' 'stunning' new Tolkien series

The first reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are here, and we're in for a gorgeous journey.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1

For roughly three years now, we've been hearing about just how invested Amazon Studios is in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. We've heard the reports about just how high the budget is, been told how devoted the creators and executives are, and seen gleaming trailers that show off beautiful New Zealand locations and practical sets and costumes that call to mind Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning film trilogy. 

Now, at last, the public is just days away from seeing for themselves if The Rings of Power was worth not just the investment, but the wait. The prequel series, set in the Second Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth and focusing on how and why the title rings were forged, arrives on Prime Friday with a two-hour series premiere, and the first longform reviews of the series have finally arrived today to get us ready for what's coming. 

So, what's the verdict? Well, while critics aren't in universal agreement, major reviews hail the show as an epic new adventure that was worth all the hype, or at least a promising start with plenty of potential for what's to come.

Here's a look at what critics are saying about this long-awaited, much-anticipated new series.

"Rings of Power is dense with lore and characters. Multiple viewings may be required, but it won’t be wasted time. It’s rare to feel that one is stepping into another world; the seams of our reality are frequently present. Get lost in the beauty of this series. While it may feel heavy, there is an attempt to bring in comedy and heart with the dwarves, and the writers and directors (J.A. Bayona directs the first two installments) have tapped beautifully into fantasy-romance and horror to bring layers of texture to the script. Overall, Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power makes for an engaging and awe-inspiring watch," Joelle Monique wrote at The Wrap.

"Rings of Power is not just good, it’s great: a gorgeously immersive and grandly ambitious spectacle packed with stunning imagery and compelling plot threads. Most importantly, it captures the same sense of awe we felt while watching the Lord of the Rings movies — one we don’t often get to experience on the small screen," Dave Nemetz wrote at TVLine.

"With a whopping 50 episodes reportedly planned, it’s hard at this point to say how successful The Rings of Power will ultimately be as a whole. There’s plenty of time for some plots to overstay their welcome as their paths intersect with more intriguing ones, or for the series’ overall narrative to get tangled in the weeds of Tolkien’s dense Lord of the Rings appendixes. For now, however, it’s safe to say that Amazon throwing the weight of its coffers at this property has resulted in a perfectly winning adaptation that unfolds swashbuckling adventures with clear reverence and affection for the considerable mythos behind it," Caroline Framke wrote at Variety.

"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," Rebecca Nicholson wrote at The Guardian.

"Will The Rings of Power continue to hold together as more characters are added, as directors after [director J.A.] Bayona take their turns behind the camera, as the focus on a singular plotline intensifies, as the race to the end forces an accelerated schedule on visual effects? Unclear, but after two episodes, it’s a promising start," Daniel Fienberg wrote at The Hollywood Reporter.

Find out what you think for yourself when the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power arrive Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.

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