Luther: The Fallen Sun Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About Idris Elba's Netflix Movie

Idris Elba in Luther: The Fallen Sun.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Whodunnits and howcatchems seem to be seeing a resurgence right now thanks in large part to Rian Johnson’s projects like Glass Onion and Peacock’s refreshing detective anthology Poker Face. But before Benoit Blanc or Charlie Cale, there was John Luther, and Idris Elba has long hoped to bring the detective chief inspector to life in a movie. That time has finally come, as Luther: The Fallen Sun will be available for Netflix subscription holders on Friday, March 10 following a limited theatrical run that starts today, February 24. Luckily for us, the reviews are in to give us a clue as to whether it was worth the wait.

Luther came to an end in 2019 after five seasons. When Idris Elba returns as the character, it will be alongside newcomers Cynthia Erivo as DCI Odette Raine and Andy Serkis as serial killer David Robey. Dermot Crowely also reprises his role of Detective Superintendent Martin Schenk. Let’s hand it over to the critics, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Luther: The Fallen Sun. Eric Eisenberg rates the Netflix film 2.5 stars out of 5, saying the film feels like a full season was crunched into a shorter run time, but is still a hell of a lot of fun to watch. He concludes: 

It may not be much of a mystery, but Luther: The Fallen Sun is certainly watchable, and it’s mostly because of the work put in by Andy Serkis. The character is ludicrous – from his ridiculous swath of blond hair to his act as a gleeful P.T. Barnum of cruelty – but Serkis is clearly loving every minute of the performance, and it’s infectious for the audience. ... His monstrous over-the-top-ness invites you to take the whole thing less seriously, which, given its weird plot problems, is alleviation that the film needs.

Siddhant Adlakha of IGN thinks the pacing of Luther: The Fallen Sun robs the audience of the most enjoyable part of a detective story — watching the master piece together the mystery. This critic rates it a “Bad” 4 out of 10, saying: 

After five great seasons, Luther’s feature film adaptation proves to be a major let down, robbing the title character and his loyal fans of the little delights that made the series work. Andy Serkis makes for a fittingly over-the-top villain – he’s Jigsaw by way of Mark Zuckerberg – but Idris Elba is afforded little opportunity to return to the role of Luther, the tortured human being. Instead, he plays Luther the idea, a broad-strokes detective type with familiar attire but no internal life, and no narrative purpose beyond chasing bad guys from place to place.

In fact, many of the critics commented on how The Fallen Sun might have played out better as a series, thus giving the story room to breathe. Carly Lane of Collider says the movie starts at a quick pace that only ever shifts to breakneck speeds. The critic likes the movie overall though, grading it a B: 

The biggest drawback to making this story a sequel film rather than a revival season is the part where The Fallen Sun doesn't seem to have enough time to develop all of its elements, leaving many plot components either half-baked or barely established before the story demands its characters move on. … A verifiable network of hackers at Robey's fingertips, capable of infiltrating internet-connected devices in everyone's home, is a more insidious concept than the film has time to fully address and might have been even better explored in a series of episodes rather than with a limiting two hours and change.

Sam Haysom of Mashable says the movie sticks the landing, but just barely. The critic says it's an entertaining and well-acted story that can't help but get tangled up in itself: 

The tone is muddled, with the end result feeling like not quite one thing or the other. People who want the graphic novel-style adventure might be put off by the gruesome nature of the violence, while people who want the creeping dread of the original Luther might not like the big action set pieces. In this way, and like its protagonist, The Fallen Sun risks itself by trying to do too much at once. The good bits are good enough to make us forgive the worst of its sins, but the end result is still a way off the original Luther — and a long way from perfect.

Steve Greene of IndieWire grades the movie a C+, pointing out that bigger isn’t always better, and that The Fallen Sun proves to be a messy TV expansion that’s ultimately out of its depth. The review continues: 

It’s that mismatched spirit that’s symptomatic of Luther: The Fallen Sun as whole. It’s not that Serkis or Erivo or Elba is necessarily failing. It’s that they all seem to be plucked from different worlds and smushed together out of necessity, something that comes across most in an overstuffed climactic showdown filled with ideas that Luther has done more practically and effectively before.

The critics all seem to agree on the quick pacing of the Netflix film, but they were split on if the end result was still worth it. If you want to catch Luther: The Fallen Sun on the big screen, you have a small opportunity during its limited theatrical run starting today. Otherwise, it will become available to stream on Netflix on March 10. In the meantime, you can check out some of Idris Elba’s other best performances, as well as everything new and coming soon to Netflix

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.