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The first reviews for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are in, and they are not good. The J.J. Abrams-led film, which closes the chapter on the newest trilogy, as well as the nine-part Skywalker saga that has spanned more than 40 years, was always going to be divisive. Fans take the Star Wars franchise very seriously, and everyone has different ideas on how it should end. But no one expected the film to be panned this hard from critics, especially since the previous two films, The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens, both hold more than a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
As of Wednesday afternoon, The Rise of Skywalker was at 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviews counted from 147 critics. It’s still early—some critics have yet to post their reviews, and the movie doesn’t officially open to the public in the U.S. until Thursday, Dec. 19. Right now, however, the consensus is that the movie is plot-heavy and cares too much about fan service. In other words, it seems like a strong departure from The Last Jedi, which took creative risks and made a different kind of Star Wars movie—which some people didn’t care for, but that’s another story.
On Twitter, people reacted to The Rise of Skywalker‘s Rotten Tomatoes score by comparing it to previous Star Wars films, as well as previous blockbusters that Abrams directed.
The Last Jedi: 91% on Rotten Tomatoes— Michael Martin Garrett (@MichaelMGarrett) December 18, 2019
The fans: *incoherent screaming*
The Rise of Skywalker: 56% on Rotten Tomatoes
The fans: *incoherent screaming*
It's almost like no hates Star Wars as much as Star Wars fans
solo has a higher rating on rotten tomatoes than the rise os skywalker, thank you emilia clarke pic.twitter.com/UMKwe8xpgj— amy (@dcaenerys) December 18, 2019
rise of skywalker reviewing so low is genuinely surprising. jj abrams has always made terrible movies but it is left to people on the tl to say so. curious what changed. into darkness got 84% on rotten tomatoes!!!! everyone hates that piece of shit!!!!— spacenoid jackson (@headfallsoff) December 18, 2019
And people are guessing how director Rian Johnson, who endured a lot of hate over the divisive The Last Jedi, is feeling right about now. His Star Wars film was well-received by critics, with a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
rian johnson checking rotten tomatoes rn pic.twitter.com/YpmntGVE4o— trey!!! (@treyoncinema) December 18, 2019
Some fans remain optimistic that The Rise of Skywalker will be good, or at least enjoyable since audiences sometimes love movies that are panned by critics.
Since Rotten Tomatoes seems to be the focus of discussion once again, here are a few films that I think are great, despite mixed or negative critical scores. pic.twitter.com/d8Tf4i6Kij— Jeremiah Valeska (@TheSpiderling16) December 18, 2019
As of yet, The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the worst-reviewed Star Wars film: The Phantom Menace holds a 53% rating, while Attack of the Clones holds a “fresh” 65% rating. To become “fresh,” The Rise of Skywalker would need several more positive reviews to push it over the 60% mark.
Tom Hooper’s Cats movie, which also comes out this weekend, has no critic reviews yet. But what a weird week this would be if Cats scored higher than a Star Wars movie.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.