When it came out in 2010, Inception — a massively-budgeted, densely-plotted science-fiction film — shattered every piece of conventional wisdom in Hollywood. Despite a distinct lack of superheroes, 3D effects, or tie-in video games, the movie was a smash, earning $825 million worldwide and a nomination for Best Picture at the 2011 Academy Awards. But despite Inception's success, no comparable movies have hit theaters — until now. Friday sees the release of Looper, a twisty sci-fi thriller in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hit man tasked with murdering people sent back in time by future mob bosses — which seems like a lucrative career, until he has to assassinate a future version of himself. (Watch the trailer below.) Critics are already raving about Looper, which has 92 percent positive reviews on RottenTomatoes.com. Will Looper be the next Inception?

Finally, a worthy successor to Inception: Looper is "surely the smartest and most enthralling film to hit cinemas since Inception," says Rich Trenholm at CNET. Looper is "smart, funny, and jaw-droppingly audacious," combining several genres into a surprisingly coherent film packed with mind-blowing twists.  And like Inception, Looper is best enjoyed by knowing as little as possible before seeing it, so moviegoers should rush to theaters before the secrets have been spoiled.
"Looper review: Bruce Willis does the time warp, kicks ass"

Looper resembles Inception, flaws and all: Like Inception, there's a lot to admire about Looper, but it's not a perfect film, says Duane Dudek at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Both the texture and the narrative of the film are dense, and that complexity means the "many moving parts don't always fit together." Looper generally manages to smooth over its rough patches with its audacity, but its insistence on challenging "definitions of perception and reality" may frustrate audience members who were left cold by Inception.
"Looper is a baffling, audacious thriller"

If anything, Looper is better than Inception: Looper is every bit as smart as Inception, says Erik Henriksen at The Portland Mercury, with one key difference: It doesn't ask moviegoers to "spend its runtime trying to glue together its logic." This is an action movie first and foremost, but Looper stands out from the rest of the genre with a surprising story that keeps moving "in bigger, weirder, directions." Anyone who goes to the theater hoping to find the next Inception will leave hoping to find the next Looper.
"Looper: Time traveling for fun and profit!"

Consensus: Looper is a surprising, brilliant film that's more than a worthy successor to Inception — it's a bold new step forward for the sci-fi genre.