Luther: The Fallen Sun review round-up: what the critics are saying

Luther: The Fallen Sun
(Image credit: Netflix)

Luther: The Fallen Sun is nearly here – and reviews seem more or less split down the middle. We gave it 4/5 stars, calling the film "a propulsive thriller that’ll appeal to die-hard fans and newbies alike. The sun’s just rising on this film franchise."

A feature-length sequel to the award-winning BBC drama, Luther: The Fallen Sun sees a gruesome serial killer terrorizing London while brilliant but disgraced detective John Luther (Elba) sits behind bars. Haunted by his failure to capture the cyber psychopath (Andy Serkis) who now taunts him, Luther decides to break out of prison to finish the job by any means necessary.

We've rounded up what the critics are saying about Luther: The Fallen Sun to give you an idea of what to expect – and don't worry, everything we've included below is spoiler-free.

Total Film – 4/5

"...Here, it’s explored from an unusual angle, as cutting-edge surveillance melds with biblical morals: let he who is without sin webcast the first stone. True, events ultimately build up to a final act that’s not as original as it might have been, somehow managing to evoke both Bond flicks and the Hostel films while straying a little too far from what Elba called 'Luther-land' into movie-land. But that’s surely inevitable when the ultimate goal is to grant Luther a licence to thrill on a global scale. This is a confident first step."

IndieWire – C+

"It’s extra frustrating when so many of the quieter moments have some of that classic 'Luther' touch. There’s a small bit of grace in a sequence where Luther comforts someone who thinks they’re about to die. There’s a tiny thrill in seeing Luther outsmart someone who’s told him too much but doesn’t realize it yet. There’s ruthlessness and emptiness on screen for a good portion of this movie’s 129 minutes, but there are also glimpses of a beating heart underneath. Holding onto a little humanity in the face of cruelty led to the show’s best moments. There’s just not enough in Luther: The Fallen Sun that’s worth fighting for."

Collider – B

"...The story and its leads more than prove that it could have also been revived in a longer format, which is where Luther and his dedication to dismantling darkness have always thrived best in the past. The character, and who he tangles up with while falling down the rabbit hole into yet another investigation, will never not be enough to entice viewers to tune in once more, regardless of how much time we get to spend in this world. Ultimately, The Fallen Sun proves that Idris Elba never needed to be James Bond when he could just be DCI John Luther."

The Guardian – 2/4

"The serial-killer accessories feel hand-me-down; the Scandi noir touch is spurious and storylines in the movies about evil criminal plans to livestream snuff-porn are frankly always lame and implausible [...]The insidiously gurning bad guy is played by Serkis, who certainly gives it some welly. It’s all socked over with great and gruesome conviction, but there isn’t the same character-related interest as the TV series could generate."

Roger Ebert – 3/5

"For all its glowering atmosphere and hard-boiled dialogue, though, most central to the film’s pleasures are the unerring instincts of its actors, some returning to roles they’ve been playing for a decade. When Elba shares the screen with Dermot Crowley, as former superintendent Martin Schenk, both actors bat self-serious cornball dialogue around with the steady rhythm and good humor of seasoned scene partners. They’re professionals at work, with a nasty job ahead of them. Erivo, too, fits comfortably into the equation as a detective initially tasked with tracking down Luther, supplying the matter-of-fact gravitas needed to go toe-to-toe with the hero, even if the requisite third-act twist that partners them up is a little too far-fetched, even by the film’s graphic-novel logic."

The Independent – 3/5

"The Fallen Sun isn’t much of a Bond audition for Elba – who’s had to shoot down rumours he’s the next 007 yet again this week – but it’s a solid argument for making him the next Batman. Here’s a neo-noir London soaked in perpetual rain, with a Soho far sleazier than in real life. There’s no sign of all the media professionals popping out for a quick Joe & The Juice. For director Jamie Payne, who was behind several episodes of the series, this is cinematic with a capital 'c.' It’s the sort of stuff no one would have dreamed of for Luther back when it first aired in 2010."

NME – 4/5

"If this is the end of Luther, The Fallen Sun serves as the perfect send-off. It’s surprisingly grounded considering the leap from TV (a Dover ferry is about as exotic as it gets) but constantly ambitious enough to warrant the two-hour runtime. And if you’re not familiar with the detective’s adventures, this serves as a brilliant introduction to the character too. Of the supporting characters, only former police inspector Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley) returns from previous episodes and it’s not difficult to work out that Luther is a passionate, brilliant cop with a troubled past."

Luther: The Fallen Sun is set to hit Netflix on March 10, 2023. For more, check out our roundup of the best Netflix movies to add to your streaming queue. 

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.