It’s been a couple of years since we’ve last been privy to the scandal and romance of the Crawleys. Downton Abbey: A New Era will see the family inherit a villa in the south of France, thanks to a shocking revelation from the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith). While some journey out to learn more about this particular gift, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is left to oversee, interestingly enough, the filming of a major motion picture at Downton Abbey — how exciting!
Downton Abbey: A New Era doesn’t premiere in the U.S. until May 20, but the U.K. will get the film a little earlier, on April 29. For that reason, critics have already seen the movie and the reviews are in. What did they think of the Crawleys’ latest adventures?
Let’s start with CinemaBlend’s review of Downton Abbey: A New Era. Mike Reyes scored the sequel 3.5 stars out of 5, saying this film was made with die-hard Downton fans in mind. He does say it’s a comparative step back from its predecessor, but it’s still got charm to spare and embraces the franchise’s history while laying a path to the future:
Anna Smith of Deadline says the movie crams a lot into its runtime, and contains plenty of plot twists, some of which are pretty transparent. Fans won’t be mad at it though, and she says Dame Maggie Smith, as ever, is a scene-stealer:
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter says if the first Downton Abbey film was low-stakes comfort food to please fans of the series, the sequel is more of the same, despite a title that seems to promise more. As the other critics mention, this one is really just for the fans:
Matthew Bilodeau of SlashFilm seems to enjoy the film for more than its cash cow potential, rating it an 8 out of 10. He calls the sequel vibrant and emotional, saying this script brings out the charm in its characters, particularly the new additions to the franchise:
While even the toughest critics agree Dame Maggie Smith can give any line a good amount of zip, Nicholas Barbar of The Wrap says this sequel throws away any semblance of plausibility and doesn’t even offer much drama:
This sounds like one the die-hard fans aren’t going to want to miss, but those new to the franchise probably shouldn’t start here. If this sounds like a movie you’ve got to see, you unfortunately will still have to wait a few weeks. While Downton Abbey: A New Era originally set to hit theaters in March, the movie has been shifted to a May 20 domestic premiere date. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule so you can start planning your next trip to the theater.