Is ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Good? What Critics are Saying About Disney’s Latest

Raya and the Last Dragon hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on Friday, March 5. Considering the steep price tag it will carry on Disney+, many potential viewers are probably wondering if it’s actually any good.

While almost all of Disney’s animated releases since The Princess and the Frog have gotten at least solid reviews, it’s still smart to know what you’re getting into. Luckily, the press embargo for screenings of the Southeast-Asian-themed adventure appears to have lifted yesterday, March 1, and reactions are now trickling in.

What are critics saying about the film?

Promotional art for Disney's 'Raya and the Last Dragon.'
Promotional art for Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon.’ | Disney

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The good news for Disney die-hards is that Raya and the Last Dragon appears to be doing very well critically. As of Tuesday afternoon, March 2, the fantasy adventure boasted a strong 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 89 reviews. There are still plenty of reviews to come for a film this big, but don’t expect that figure to drop too much.

Digging into the actual content of those reviews, many writers note that, while good overall, Raya and the Last Dragon can sometimes feel a bit safe and formulaic. It certainly sounds like it won’t reach the pantheon of the greatest Disney flicks of all time, but it’ll probably get close enough to be enjoyable for most.

“As it heads into its final act, Raya And The Last Dragon increasingly takes the form of a standard Disney fable, with big action sequences and even bigger leaps of faith,” Danette Chavez wrote for A.V. Club. “But on its way to a fairly conventional conclusion, the film offers a few inspired detours, too.”

Matt Goldberg of Collider also offered praise, tempered by a sense that watching a film like Raya and the Last Dragon on a TV at home makes it lose a sense of grandeur.

“On a TV, Raya is still a fun romp where it takes a little while to get going, but once it settles into its groove it’s a propulsive journey with some thrilling action scenes,” Goldberg wrote. “But when you boil down a movie like Raya into ‘content,’ a first viewing of it makes the film feel less substantial than it should be.”

Others have been less reserved in their praise. G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle said it’s “Sure to be an instant animated classic.” Some called it Disney Animation Studios’ best film since either Mulan or Moana, depending on who you ask.

How to watch ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

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As a Premier Access title, Disney+ subscribers will have to pay an extra fee of $29.99 on top of their monthly rate to unlock Raya and the Last Dragon on Friday. This is the same tactic deployed by the Mulan remake last year and might be used more in the future.

If you don’t care to pay that much to stream Raya and the Last Dragon and don’t want to risk a trip to a theater right now, it will automatically be added to Disney+ at no extra cost around the same time as it hits Blu-ray. Disney previously confirmed this date as June 4, roughly three months after its debut.