Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Reviews Paint A Heartbreaking Picture

Press screenings have taken place all over the world and across the United States for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and with it comes the beginning of what’s sure to be a years-long discussion of the Star Wars sequel trilogy as a whole. Critics are weighing in on the end of an era, and if we’re to believe their opinions, it’s not going out with the bang many of us had hoped it would.

So, what did critics think? Well, our own Fox Troilo wasn’t too thrilled with the film. Here’s what he had to say in his spoiler-free review that hit this morning (which you can read in its entirety HERE).

Star Wars: The Rise Skywalker suffers from a lack of long-term vision. It attempts to cobble together a story and character developments that are unfortunately unearned, and thus unsatisfactory. It commits the greatest sin imaginable—it misses its opportunity to give the Skywalkers the farewell they deserve. If one judges a film on its ability to execute on what it is attempting, regretfully The Rise of Skywalker fails.”

He went on to give the film a C- in his review…but what do others think of the film?

Some were more positive. While RogerEbert.com enjoyed the film, they still acknowledged some of the “cracks in the mask,” so to speak.

“Perhaps the best in-movie self-criticism is in the fact that Kylo Ren rebuilds his destroyed mask. Some fans of the series believe that “The Last Jedi” destroyed their favorite franchise, and here’s J.J. Abrams literally picking up the broken pieces and putting them back together. And yet, as he’s told, you can still see the cracks, meant as a criticism of Kylo’s uncertainty but reflective of the movie too. Sometimes you can’t just put things back together, and revisit history in a way that doesn’t feel craven and desperate. People will see the cracks. “

The Guardian is much more enthusiastic with their praise, though, saying:

“And that, I think, is the overall message of “Episode IX”. All the toys go back where they are supposed to go at the end. The movie snaps together like a jigsaw puzzle, a series of concluding beats that seem inevitable and perfect, and designed to please all parties, so long as you don’t dwell on the logic too much. Moreover, Chewbacca finally gets that medal denied him by Princess Leia in the throne room of the Great Temple of Yavin a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (1977, when Star Wars was a risky film venture from hot shot director George Lucas after American Graffiti, not a project dripping with toy and merchandise opportunities).”

The Washington Post gives a more middling review that ultimately skews negative, but acknowledges the effort made to deliver on something that fans would like.

“What that text crawl — which opens with the words “The dead speak!” — doesn’t tell us is that the new movie, while fast-paced, eventful, occasionally even surprising, also panders wildly, closing out this last chapter of the nine films that have come to be known as the Skywalker Saga with a story that delivers to the faithful exactly the movie they wanted.”

That last quote is most interesting to me, because it points to the idea that, even though many critics don’t like it, that it’ll please a lot of fans and be the movie they all wanted it to be.

Perhaps the most incendiary review comes from Forbes, and it’s clear from what’s being said that the writer is a big fan of The Last Jedi, and isn’t a fan at how many things are seemingly walked back.

“The problem with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t just that it absolutely walks back a number of potent reveals and plot threads from the last movie, but rather that the 142-minute action fantasy spends almost its entire running time retconning its predecessor and adding painfully conventional “plot twists” and patronizing reversals in the name of mollifying the fans who merely want to be reminded of the first three movies. It manages additional damage to the legacy of the first six Star Wars movies. It undermines the previous two “episodes” in the name of giving (some but not all) original trilogy Star Wars fans a reassuring pat on the head. It even shying away from Force Awakens’ darker real-world implications. It is so concerned with character reveals and “chase the MacGuffin” plotting that it finds no time for any real character work.”

On the whole, for me, as a fan of The Last Jedi, this is very disappointing. It seems as though after taking risks in that last film, they’ve taken efforts to backpedal and deliver a film that fans actually want, rather than making an effort to surprise fans. What will result, I’m sure, is that no one will be happy. Critics won’t be happy that risks weren’t taken, and fans won’t be happy because they’ll feel pandered to.

Perhaps Rian Johnson was right when he said filmmakers shouldn’t pander to fan expectations…

But that comes from someone who hasn’t seen the film yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if I still hold that opinion tomorrow evening. But how do these reviews make you feel? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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