‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Movie Review Roundup: Epic Sequel Gets Mixed Notices
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, produced and directed by J.J. Abrams, the third episode in the Star Wars sequel trilogy coming after Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). The remnants of the Resistance face the First Order one more time while dealing with problems from the past and inner turmoil. The ancient hostility between the Sith and the Jedi reaches the tipping point, bringing the Skywalker saga to an unconditional end. The Rise of Skywalker has received mixed reviews from critics leaving fans with confused feelings. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film is rated 59 percent.
It’s too bad that the Star Wars saga has saved the worst for last. Considering the overall trajectory of the series over the years, perhaps a sense of diminishing returns was inevitable. One can lament that the filmmakers didn’t come up with a better overall battle plan for the prequels before starting filming or that George Lucas wasn’t involved but it’s fair to wonder whether those things would have made any different considering the crushing weight of expectations. Episodes VII, VIII, and IX chose not to expand Star Wars but to provide fan service. The films’ questionable success in fulfilling that mandate is the reason why so many long-term aficionados have soured on the Disney trilogy.
–James Berardinelli, Rotten Tomatoes
And yes, The Rise of Skywalker does wrap up this trilogy of trilogies in a satisfying fashion, with very little left to say. The story that began in a farmhouse on Tatooine, beneath the setting of two suns, truly does bring it all home in a few final moments that – if they didn’t exactly draw a contented sigh from me – at least inspired a small and wryly satisfied smile.
–Graeme Tuckett, Stuff.co
Anyway, it’s not worth spoiling the plot of “The Rise of Skywalker” because there really isn’t one, other than the heroes having to figure out how to get to Exegol while Kylo and Rey work out their issues. The former has a crew of masked fighters called the Knights of Ren — it only sounds like a lost post-punk band — but neither they nor the hissing Emperor seem able to resolve his adolescent identity crisis. Driver is acceptable in a role he seems to have outgrown; what he’s doing in the current “Marriage Story” seems much more, well, universal.
–Ty Burr, Boston Globe
The same can be said of Abrams, who directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and returned for the conclusion of the Skywalker saga. He directs with a frenetic pace, which leads to that sloppiness early on, but once he finds the film’s groove, few will leave unsatisfied and some will wipe away tears.
–George Thomas, Beacon Journal