Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
That first hour cooks. And the second hour brings Emily Blunt into the story, which is a fine thing for any second half to offer.
A fanciful film with the patina of hyper-realism, Looper is well served by actors who behave not as if they were dropped carelessly into the future but spent their whole desperate lives there.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Johnson doesn't explain too much, but he explains just enough about how two people can be one person, and how the younger entity's actions, in real time, can affect the memory of the older entity.
Good news: Not only is the smart, sexy, sophisticated but still slam-bang sci-fi action-thriller not dead, it's just gotten itself a potent shot in the arm by way of writer-director Rian Johnson.
New York Times:
Mr. Johnson throws a lot at the screen, blasted corpses included, yet little here is as initially transfixing as Mr. Gordon-Levitt's mug.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
If high-toned futuristic time-travel pictures with a splash of romance float your boat the way they do mine, you'll have yourself a time.
Wall Street Journal:
It's safe to predict that "Looper" will transform Mr. Johnson's career, and give pleasure to popeyed audiences for a long time to come.
Johnson establishes the machinery of the time-travel concept, then steadily pushes it into the background in favor of exploring his characters and the difficult questions they face.
Though this is a shadowy, violent film, Johnson wisely inserts just enough humor to create shades of gray rather than blackness.
This is a "you know what would be cool?" movie that considers the real-world ramifications of its science-fiction whiz-bang, and a film of ideas that doesn't skimp on the action.
The best advice is to not overthink "Looper," as Johnson's already done that. Instead, just sit back and enjoy it.
"Looper" pedals furiously and largely successfully to keep our disbelief from crashing to the ground.
The dystopian setting... makes for some bold cultural commentary, but as usual with Johnson, the engaging ideas feel like affectations rather than products of a fully developed sensibility.
Yes, it's a B movie sci-fi thriller, but not many prestige pictures have this much going on underneath the surface.
Dallas Morning News:
Even with its echoes of sci-fi thrillers past, from La Jette to The Terminator, Rian Johnson's mind bender feels fresh - fresh enough to be forgiven for sputtering off the rails in the final act.
Looper has more heart than Brick and the 2008 con-man flick The Brothers Bloom. Both fine achievements, they could also be described as viscerally cerebral.
"Looper" looks like and is a blast; what's really cool is it's even more than that.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com:
There hasn't been much lately for those who crave some brain power along with their effects-driven firepower. Now comes Looper, the time-travel tease from Rian Johnson that is an immensely fun yet thought-provoking ride.
Looper imagines a world just near enough to look familiar, and just futuristic enough to be chillingly askew.
Rian Johnson's third and most ambitious feature keeps the action popping while sustaining interest in the long arc of a story about a man assigned to kill the 30-years-older version of himself.
Los Angeles Times:
This is a highflying, super-stylish science-fiction thriller that brings a fresh approach to mind-bending genre material.
San Jose Mercury News:
"Looper" is a superior genre film, an engrossing thriller that engages not only the senses, but our minds as well, just as good sci-fi should do.
This is an exciting, exceptionally well-made futuristic thriller that also happens to be loaded with lived-in touches and punchy ideas.
The New Republic:
I found myself dreaming of the days when Willis would take a rest from Die Hard-ing to do character cameos of unexpected depth and pathos: Pulp Fiction, Nobody's Fool, and a few others. Now he clings to stoic longevity, and shoots people.
Johnson's action scenes occasionally stumble, but the devilishly clever script makes "Looper" a thrilling, dizzying ride.
The reasoning behind all this may not reward prolonged inspection, but Johnson is smart enough to press onward with his plot, leaving us with neither the time nor the desire to linger over the logic ...
If the whole thing leaves you rubbing your temples, just a bit... well, this headache's sort of worth it.
Looper is a self-consciously good-looking, profoundly silly movie that nevertheless comes off as high-minded.
New York Daily News:
Gordon-Levitt is flinty, and Willis, on his A-game, is fiery. Together, they take us on a helluva trip.
New York Post:
An indie-inflected popcorn movie with major brains, brilliant acting and a highly satisfying payoff, "Looper'' is the first must-see movie of the season.
Looper grounds itself in the commonplace realities of moments ... and then takes off on wild flights of science fiction-y suspense. The combination is cool.
Looper is a tremendous motion picture experience. Not merely a "very good" one, but a great one.
Writer-director Rian Johnson establishes himself as an original talent who clearly believes storytelling must prevail.
"Looper" weaves between past and present in a way that gives Johnson and his actors opportunities to create a surprisingly involving narrative.
However long it takes to get your bearings, Looper is worth it. Bruce Willis expertly blends tough and tender and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is at the top of his game in this rip-roaring mind-bender.
This is a genuinely tough-minded and unpredictable movie, one of the fall's most enjoyable entertainments ...
Looper felt to me like a maddening near-miss ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Johnson wears his new maturity with confidence, delivering a tense, twisty story with an unexpected emotional wallop.
A mind-bending ride that is not afraid to slow down now and again, to explore themes of regret and redemption, solitude and sacrifice, love and loss. It's a movie worth seeing and, perhaps, going back to see again.
The second Rian Johnson movie in a row (following The Brothers Bloom) that looks great but meanders while doing it.
This is a hugely satisfying, enjoyable and thought-provoking piece of work.
Looper tries (and fails) for a love-against-all-odds resonance, but the shortcomings are minimal. Johnson's still got plenty of unlooped time to grab that brass ring.
It will likely have moviegoers gathering outside the theater afterward to hash out details of its intricately constructed universe.
[Rian Johnson's] grandly conceived, impressively mounted third feature shows a giddy, geeky interest in science-fiction, then forces it into the back seat and lets the multidimensional characters drive.
In short, for all its affectionate pastiche, Looper is a humanist movie, and is all the better for it.
[It] may begin as a "Terminator"-like piece of time travel escapism, but ultimately gathers Old Testament-worthy force and fury.