Last night, Furious 7 debuted in a not-so-secret screening at the SXSW Film and Music Festival. The director, James Wan, even photographed his private jet arrival.

Okay, so the secret screening escalated to a very public midninght screening almost immediately. But that's how the the Fast and the Furious series works: zero to 60—instantly.

So what were some takeaways from the first screening? 

The Fast and Furious films are about two things, family and getting to watch a slew of explosive car stunts, and in that respect, Furious 7 delivers big, and perhaps even bigger than ever.
 

If you’re concerned about director James Wan making the move from horror to his first big budget action-driven studio film, rest assured, he makes the transition exceptionally well. He manages to strike the perfect balance between making Furious 7 feel like another Fast and Furious film while also giving it some personal flair. There are loads of picturesque hero shots and tons more with some very familiar camera moves, but Wan also tosses in a number of striking techniques we’ve never seen before in these films. There are countless visual achievements well worth discussing, but as someone who’s a big fan of this one shot in The Conjuring when the camera essentially flips over a banister and back again, it’s exciting to see Wan use similar rotating shots in this movie. [via Collider]

"If you’re willing to play along with some eye-popping nonsense that seems to enjoy treating the laws of physics as something more akin to guidelines, then you’re probably already a fan of this series and will be pleased to know that Furious 7 is easily the most maniacally entertaining chapter in the whole damn series. (Although Fast Five runs a close second.)" [via Nerdist]

Awesome! But how did Wan handle the untimely death of 6-time Furious star Paul Walker—who died in an off-set car accident while the film was still shooting?

"The knowledge of his death in a November 2013 car accident colors our experience of this unintentional swan song in many ways, of course, but viewers trying to spot the scenes in which stand-ins and CGI played Walker's part for him will find it hard enough that they may do the right thing: Stop trying, and instead go along with a reworked screenplay that ushers him off the stage with as much grace as any other development in this muscle-car melodrama." [via The Hollywood Reporter]
"The energy in the room and the deep, heartfelt reaction to the movie’s subtle yet very moving way of honoring Walker was truly electrifying." [via Collider]

Cool. The rest of us will get to experience the spinning camera, and attempt to not compare the real-Walker with the digitally-inserted Walker on April 3.

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