Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review embargo is up today and the discussion about the film is beginning. Fans will have to wait another day before seeing the movie, but critics are letting their voices be heard. The film is off to a rough start in that respect, receiving the worst critical reception for a live-action Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace debuted in 1999.
Still, there are some defending the film and more who have mixed feelings. Here we've gathered some reviews from across the internet representing those varied opinions about the film. Keep reading to see what these critics have to say.
In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron's journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.
Directed by JJ Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Carrie Fisher.
"Missed opportunities for ambitious storylines aside, it's hard to deny the effectiveness of much of the film. Whether it be Poe and Rey butting heads about the condition of the Millennium Falcon and Lando commenting on Chewbacca's height putting a smile on your face, Leia's attempts to instill wisdom on members of the Resistance igniting an emotional reaction due to the real-world loss of Fisher, or the conflict of following the path of who you want to be instead of being the person you're told you are evoking philosophical questions, The Rise of Skywalker offers audiences a worthy and, at times exceptional, conclusion to the end of a 40-year journey, though the various missed opportunities will surely stick with some audiences longer than the film's accomplishments." -- Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.comprevnext
"In the end, it all feels simply empty. It should never be so clear to audiences that something in the filmmaking process has gone so terribly wrong--that the people who made the first film in a trilogy apparently didn't bother to sketch out a plan for the second and third, and that the movies' directors had visions for the series' future that were so fundamentally at odds. Star Wars deserved better." -- Mike Rougeau, GameSpotprevnext
"After the audacious but divisive Last Jedi, Rise of Skywalker will probably be a litmus test for fans. The breathless rush to tick every box on the wish list will leave some cold and others in floods of tears from the moment the opening fanfare blares. Whether it works for you or not, what's not in doubt is that this is an ending as huge as this momentous movie saga deserves." -- Richard Trenholm, CNETprevnext
"There are effective emotional punches before the end, as we say a final goodbye to Carrie Fisher and her generation of stars and as Kylo and Rey face their demons. Arguably the story more or less ends up in the right place, despite the threads left hanging. When it focuses on Rey and Kylo, this film usually works. Whatever the Dark Side says, we can make our own destiny, and we change the universe when we do." -- Helen O'Hara. Empire Magazineprevnext
The AV Club
"By the end, everyone has fallen into their proper place in the grand mythology, like the holo-chess pieces on the Millennium Falcon. What’s the point in introducing so many interesting new characters and then pushing them through the blueprints of old adventures? It leaves you pining for a Star Wars movie that charts its own path, until you remember such a movie exists already, and it’s being all but retconned before your eyes. Save the sympathy for that billion-dollar blockbuster." -- A.A. Dowd, The AV Clubprevnext
"Abrams doesn't stick to a template as much as he did with Force Awakens, but there are familiar turns that go down like comfort food. You want lightsaber tussles? There are plenty between Rey, who’s still wrestling with identity issues and her background, and First Order leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ridley and Driver fueled a lot of the emotion in those previous films, and they rise to the occasion again as the lifeblood of Skywalker." -- Brian Truitt, USA Todayprevnext
The New York Times
"The Rise of Skywalker isn’t a great Star Wars movie, but that may be because there is no such thing. That seems to be the way we like it." -- A.O. Scott, The New York Timesprevnext
"Do you think back fondly on Lucas’s episodes one, two, and three, which were rigorous and uncompromising in telling the story of Anakin Skywalker’s corruption into Darth Vader but also clunky, tin-eared, and visually flat (dull tableaux livened only by relentless CGI)? Or do you prefer the formulaic, crowd-pleasing cartoons of J.J. Abrams? Tough call. I emerged from Lucas’s films with a measure of respect, though. At the end of The Rise of Skywalker, I could almost hear an announcer’s voice asking, 'Now that you’ve defeated the Empire, Rey, what are you going to do?' and then, 'I’m going to Disney World!'" -- David Edelstein, Vultureprevnext
The Los Angeles Times
"George Lucas may have a lot to answer for, including his mostly dreadful 1999-2003 prequel cycle, but it’s hard not to admire his stubborn adherence to his own bizarre vision, rather than to some fan-tested, committee-approved notion of what a Star Wars movie should be. More than anything — more even than the billions in box office dollars that surely await it — this series needs artists willing to flood its mythology with new life, rather than turning it into another endless replay of 'The Skywalking Dead.'" -- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Timesprevnext
"Like anything with a big, diverse constituency, there's no pleasing everyone with a Star Wars movie at this point, and the naysayers have a way of wielding the loudest megaphones -- occasionally in unpleasant ways that reflect a lack of perspective. While George Lucas' creation is immersed in myth, it was never meant to become a religion all its own.
Faced with that task -- and clearly mindful of the enormity of it -- Abrams has made a Star Wars movie aimed at the people who love it best. The Rise of Skywalker isn't perfect, but seen that way, it more than rises to the occasion.: -- Brian Lowry, CNNprev