‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Divides Critics in First Reactions: ‘Rude to Rian Johnson’

Fans of "The Last Jedi" will be disappointed to hear that J.J. Abrams course-corrects the franchise in "The Rise of Skywalker."
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” made its long-awaited world premiere in Hollywood last night and critics were left both thrilled and disappointed by the much-touted final entry in the Skywalker saga. “The Rise of Skywalker” finds “The Force Awakens” helmer J.J. Abrams back in the director’s chair following Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi.” The latter film opened in 2017 to vast critical acclaim, but Johnson’s script earned a polarizing response from “Star Wars” fans for the way it upended conventions and side-stepped fan theories. It appears Abrams has course-corrected the franchise with “The Rise of Skywalker” in a way that critics are finding frustrating.

The New York Times carpetbagger Kyle Buchanan respond on Twitter to “The Rise of Skywalker” by writing, “[The film] could only have been ruder to Rian Johnson if they had motion-smoothed it.”

IGN’s deputy entertainment manager Laura Prudom added, “The emotional highs are spectacular, and there are a lot of payoffs (some earned, some not). But some choices feel like an unnecessary course-correct from ‘The Last Jedi’ and some just plain don’t make sense. Need to see it again.”

The biggest early criticism being lobbed at “The Rise of Skywalker” is that Abrams and Chris Terrio’s script packs way too much plot into a final installment. Uproxx’s Mike Ryan says the film is “certainly the most convoluted ‘Star Wars.’ The first half gets so bogged down with exposition and new plot and doodads and beacons and transmitters, it feels like it should have been three movies on its own.”

While the film disappointed several critics, it still managed to impress others. Fandango’s Erik Davis called “Rise of Skywalker” a “terrific finale” and “a wonderful way to end the Skywalker story.”

Disney will release “The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters nationwide December 20.

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