The upcoming saga-ender now holds a green 53 percent splat on Rotten Tomatoes. And while director J.J. Abrams is being applauded for tackling so many narratives in one visual epic, it appears the convolution that has caused as a consequence is the biggest concern.
It's not all bad, though. The acting and cinematography sounds as insane as ever and — look on the bright side — if this film does actually suck, you can always save the theater ticket cash and watch The Mandalorian at home instead.
It's not the perfect ending but it's not a disaster
'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' might not be the perfect ending that everyone envisioned when they thought about the Skywalker Saga coming to a close but it’s not a disaster either. There are moments when this movie truly soars and, when it does, you’ll be reminded why you fell in love with this franchise in the first place.
Consequence of Sound
'The Rise of Skywalker' was never going to be perfect, and neither was this sequel trilogy. the franchise itself has been what it’s always set out to be: a trip. Because if we’re being completely fair, none of the Star Wars films under the Disney banner have been outright bad. They all have their share of warts, true, but they’ve all hit the right buttons to varying degrees of success. The Rise of Skywalker is a monumental feat for the veteran filmmaker, whose impossible trench run should be seen as a remarkable save by Disney.
It's better than other recent 'Star Wars' movies
What I can say is that 'The Rise of Skywalker' is, to me, the most elegant, emotionally rounded, and gratifying 'Star Wars' adventure since the glory days of 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Strikes Back.' (I mean that, but given the last eight films, the bar isn’t that high.)
It's vaguely coherent
Let’s just say some old Star Wars traditions die hard. As do old Star Wars characters. There are so many returning old faces in this movie, you start to wonder if anyone ever actually dies and stays dead in this far-away galaxy. But if you’re going to do a send-off this huge, there are a lot of goodbyes to say, and a lot of loose ends to tie up. The fact that 'The Rise of Skywalker' manages most of them and within a vaguely coherent story is something of an achievement in itself.
Nah, it's convoluted
J.J. Abrams’ 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' is the most convoluted of all the Star Wars movies. It feels like three full movies worth of plot crammed into one film. The stories in the other Star Wars movies, even the Prequels, have a way of bringing a viewer into that world. 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' never lets us in. It, instead, keeps us at arms length so it can use almost its entire first half as exposition. Just character after character explaining things.
A final battle meant to evoke the conclusion of 'Return of the Jedi' contains so many unmotivated twists and surprises that the whole film nearly collapses just as it reaches what should be the emotional climax. The only thing holding it together is the wonderful cast, particularly Daisy Ridley as the soulful Rey and Adam Driver as the conflicted Kylo Ren.
Watch 'The Mandalorian' instead
The final film in this trilogy, 'The Rise of Skywalker' feels like such a desperate scramble to win back fans’ affection, to re-create that probably uncapturable sense of awe conjured up by the original series. The movie never rests, relentlessly ardent in its grasping for mythos ... If you want some of the real good times of Star Wars, all that scrappy space marauding and oddball pluck that made the original films so endearing, you could just watch 'The Mandalorian' on Disney+.
The film plays like a 150-minute checklist of cool stuff and surprises designed to please as many fans as possible. That may sound great, but in the process, that densely packed highlight reel fails to tell a story that’s narratively interesting, thematically cohesive, or that builds any impactful stakes. It’s a film designed to tantalize and delight in the hope those things cover up its many shortcomings.
It’s hard to even tell who it’s even really for, as it’s borderline insulting to those who legitimately appreciate the merits of 'The Last Jedi,' and too chaotic to be seen as satisfying for those open to its revisionist choices – especially after serious reflection. It's a disappointing end to what still exists as a mostly good trilogy.