Review Roundup: Michael Jackson – ‘This Is It’

Michael Jackson delivers the comeback spectacular he promised his fans when This Is It arrives in theaters today. Did the King of Pop thrill critics as well as his adoring fans in his final moments on stage? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: This Is It offers a raw and endearing sketch of a genius at work. By the end, though, This Is It feels like the half-complete experience that it is—a mere diagram of the excitement that Michael, for his comeback, had planned to unleash upon the world. B

USA Today: Whether presented in stripped-down sequences or as part of developing spectacles that might have been truly magical—a thrilling “The Way You Make Me Feel” is a standout—the songs remind us that early this summer, the world lost a genuine, if genuinely troubled, star. 3 out of 4

TIME: Michael Jackson will have no resurrection—in the end, that was that—but the movie does earn him a redemptive legacy. It proves that, at the end, he was still a thriller. Fans and doubters alike can look at the gentle, driven singer-dancer at the center of this up-close document and say admiringly, This was him.

PEOPLE: Ardent fans will be happy to gaze at their idol in action; moviegoers hoping to understand more fully who Jackson was and what made him tick, besides performing, won’t find answers here.

New York Post: Neither a concert film nor a documentary but a ghoulish “event” offered just in time for Halloween, This Is It is sadly—and reprehensively, if you ask me—the movie equivalent to the National Enquirer‘s infamous post-mortem shot of Elvis Presley. 1 out of 4

The Hollywood Reporter: Looks like the world has missed one helluva concert. Whatever cynicism one might harbor about this Hail Mary piece of cinema—which can be called the first concert rehearsal movie ever—what this strange yet strangely beguiling film does is capture one of pop culture’s great entertainers in the feverish grips of pure creativity.

Los Angeles Times: This Is It offers only a few such insights into Jackson’s artistic process, though enough surface to make this a useful document, as well as a beautiful one. Mostly it’s a tribute to the power of Jackson’s body and voice, which the film presents as surprisingly intact despite his age, 50 at the time of his death, and the various ailments that reportedly had plagued him in the preceding decades.

New York Daily News: For fans, This Is It offers a last, loving look at their hero in a far more favorable light than has shone on him in years. But no matter how exciting anyone finds the film, there’s no getting around the feeling of something unresolved. Ultimately, This Is It can only offer a striking suggestion of what may have been to come.