Film journalists (and a very excited Hayley Kiyoko) have weighed in on Niki Caro's remake.

By Joey Nolfi
March 10, 2020 at 12:36 PM EDT

Mulan (2020 movie)

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Disney's live-action Mulan remake has early screening attendees feeling the warrior spirit.

Following the Niki Caro-directed film's Los Angeles premiere Monday night, audiences (including recording artist Hayley Kiyoko) have called Mulan "easily Disney's best live-action reboot" to date.

Caro's take on the classic Chinese legend stars Liu Yifei in the title role, a young woman who disguises herself as a male warrior to join the Imperial Chinese Army in place of her ailing father. Initial reactions confirm the film has nixed the whimsy of the 1998 animated version's musical numbers, though, according to Mashable's Angie J. Han, the updated story "finds new notes" while "delivering gorgeous action, heart, and humor" before singling out Yifei's performance as a standout.

Kiyoko also noted the differences between both the animated and live-action interpretations of the traditional Chinese legend, though she feels the 2020 release is "just as good" as its cinematic predecessor: "So empowering and so important for the newer generations to see it," she wrote.

Critic Michael Lee similarly praised the film's timely themes, noting that it pays tribute to Chinese Wuxia epic films of the past and "honors the 1998 film and the ballad by modernizing themes of empowerment and iconic scenes, while also standing out w/great cinematography."

While the animated film is often regarded as a subtly queer entry into the modern Hollywood canon, the live-action remake is being praised for the sexual chemistry between its leads, with Alison Foreman calling the magnetism "steamy," as in "chanting 'kiss' in a silent theater steamy."

In the end, Insider's Kristen Acuna sums up the overall sentiment from the film's premiere, writing that Mulan could be "the first great superhero movie of 2020," as Yifei "soars over rooftops, flies across walls, shoots arrows, and is just a general badass" in a film that "little girls are going to look up to."

Read more reactions to Mulan — which also features Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li, and an updated version of the iconic soundtrack tune "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera — below, before the film hits theaters on March 27.

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Mulan (2020 movie)

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