Move over “The Last Jedi,” there’s a new “Star Wars” installment to debate ad infinitum.
At 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Rise of Skywalker” has the second-worst score of all the live-action “Star Wars” films, right behind “The Phantom Menace” at 53%. That’s right: critics hate the J.J. Abrams-directed flick almost as much as they hate Jar Jar Binks.
More from Variety
- 'Rise of Skywalker' Dominates Box Office, but Future of 'Star Wars' May Lie in Streaming
- China Box Office: 'Rise of Skywalker' Beaten by Martial Arts Finale 'Ip Man 4'
- Meet Victoria Mahoney: The First Woman to Direct a 'Star Wars' Film
The official critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes cites that the film “suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion.”
Variety‘s chief film critic, Owen Gleiberman, gave one of the more positive reviews, conceding that while it was impossible to fully capture the thrill of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker” is “the most elegant, emotionally rounded, and gratifying ‘Star Wars’ adventure since the glory days of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.'”
“What no contemporary ‘Star Wars’ movie can have, no matter how slavishly it imitates the template that Lucas invented, is the primal awe of the original films’ space battles. At the time, the gritty-yet-frictionless, zipping-through-the-canyons joystick stuff was miraculous. It anticipated the digital era, and the only place you could see it — could live it — was at a ‘Star Wars’ film,” Gleiberman wrote. “But ‘Star Wars’ turned Hollywood into an industry devoted to space-race fantasy and action candy. So the only real dimension of ‘Star Wars’ that’s defining anymore is … the cosmology. No wonder the thrill isn’t there the way it was.”
The first of the latest trilogy, “The Force Awakens,” is certified fresh with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. “The Last Jedi” stands at 91%.
Despite polarizing reviews, the trilogy conclusion will likely be a box office smash. “The Rise of Skywalker” reached $40 million in domestic ticket sales in Thursday night previews, making it the fifth-highest Thursday preview after “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is in theaters everywhere now.
Best of Variety
- The Best TV Performances of the Decade
- TV's Top 25 Episodes of the Decade
- The 25 Best TV Shows of the Decade