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‘The Rings of Power’ First Reactions Praise ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series as ‘Big, Bold and Beautiful’

Morfydd Clark - Rings of Power
Ben Rothstein/Amazon Studios

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” Amazon Studios’ ambitious fantasy series based on the works of author J.R.R. Tolkien and reportedly the most expensive television series ever made, premieres Sept. 2 on Amazon Prime Video. But as the social embargo lifts, critics and fans who have seen the first two episodes ahead of time are flocking to Twitter to share their opinions on the highly anticipated series.

Eric Francisco, senior film/TV writer at Inverse, hailed “Rings of Power” as “big, bold and beautiful” but indicated uncertainty as to whether the prequel series will “sit alongside” Peter Jackson’s film trilogy or “deserve Tolkien’s name.”

“For now, it’s all the maximalist pizazz one might expect from a historically expensive production,” he wrote.

“The first two episodes of #LordoftheRings #RingsofPower are a spectacular sight to behold,” added Brandon Katz, senior TV reporter at The Wrap. “The scale, scope, ambition and grandiosity is unrivaled on TV. It also has the laborious task of introducing SO much necessary world building that it takes a bit to set flight.”

Rodrigo Salem, an entertainment journalist at Brazilian outlet Folha, wrote: “Rings of Power” is a cinematic experience. In a perfect world, we would watch it on a big screen. It’s pure Tolkien and yet feels very connected to Peter Jackson’s movies. The FX are brilliant, the acting is superb and the PROLOGUE itself will destroy any awful feeling you had.”

Devan Coggan, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, shared on Twitter: “I have seen the first two episodes of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” and they are a total joy. Watching it feels like stepping back into Middle-earth. I cannot wait to see where this story goes.”

“Having seen the first two episodes of #RingsOfPower, I have to admit I was surprised how much I liked it,” wrote Stacy Lambe, senior editor of TV and streaming at Entertainment Tonight. “The lush and expansive series very much breathes new life into the franchise. And it’s a show that I think people will enjoy once they allow themselves to be sucked into it.

Set thousands of years before the events of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” the series takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, which covers the rise and fall of Númenor, the creation of the titular rings and the formation of the Last Alliance. “The Rings of Power” also re-introduces iconic “Lord of the Rings” characters such as a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo).

Along with Clark and Aramayo, the cast includes Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman.

Amazon Studios started developing “The Rings of Power” in 2017 in an effort to produce more mainstream content, spending $250 million to purchase the rights from Tolkien’s estate. The series’ budget for its first season was an estimated $465 million.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is directed by J.A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip and Charlotte Brändström. Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series.

Read more first reactions below: