What Critics Are Saying About Rise of Skywalker

'A bot would be able to pull off a more surprising movie'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2019 7:40 AM CST

Some 225 critics have weighed in, deciding the new Star Wars movie is, well, not great. The Rise of Skywalker from director JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens), the ninth and closing episode in the so-called Skywalker Saga, has a 58% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes—a far cry from the rating applied to its predecessor, The Last Jedi. Four spoiler-free takes:

  • "Rather than making a movie some people might love, Abrams tried to make a movie no one would hate, and as a result, you don't feel much of anything at all," writes Slate's Sam Adams in a review titled, "The Rise of Skywalker Is So Bad It Actually Makes the Trilogy Worse." Though beautiful to look at, the film is "frenzied" with "a hack-sitcom quality," Adams writes. "It's like being force-fed fandom: Your belly is filled, but there's no pleasure in the meal."
  • "This new world order, in which fans decide what they want and don't want in their cherished franchises, is the enemy of creativity and imagination," Stephanie Zacharek writes at Time, acknowledging the hate some hardcore fans felt for The Last Jedi. "In its anxiety not to offend, it comes off more like fanfiction than the creation of actual professional filmmakers," she writes. "A bot would be able to pull off a more surprising movie," though there are "one or two pleasures to be had."

  • But Brian Lowry sees the film as "a welcome course correction" that "seeks to recapture some of the fun and playfulness that has been a hallmark of the series." It's not perfect—Carrie Fisher's return, with unused footage from The Last Jedi, "proves awkward and limiting," for example. But "the strong sense of nostalgia … feels especially appropriate" for a film "aimed at the people who love it best," Lowry writes at CNN.
  • The film is "often chaos," but "it's also a euphoric blast of pulse-quickening adventure, laced with humor and heart," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone, where he gives the film 3.5 stars out of 5. "John Boyega doesn't have much to do as Finn" but "[Adam] Driver is terrific at bringing danger and depth to the conflicted Kylo," Travers writes. "His haunted presence makes the movie."
(Just don't make him watch it.)

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