If there’s any movie that’s critic-proof, it’s the finale of the “Star Wars” saga that some fans have been following for more than 40 years. But still…
Critics’ reviews for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which premieres Thursday night, are the worst for any movie in the epic series since “The Phantom Menace” back in 1999, according to movie-review site Rotten Tomatoes.
The site gives “Skywalker” a 57% score — certified “rotten” — a notch above “The Phantom Menace’s” 53% and a far cry from the 91% “fresh” score for 2017’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Audience scores have not yet been tallied.
“’The Rise of Skywalker’ suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion,” Rotten Tomatoes summarizes.
Here’s what a few leading critics had to say (don’t worry, no spoilers):
Jake Coyle, Associated Press: “A scattershot, impatiently paced, fan-servicing finale that repurposes so much of what came before that it feels as though someone searching for the hyperspace button accidentally pressed the spin cycle instead.”
Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post: The movie “panders wildly” and “it may not be the closure this epic, now 42 years in the making, deserves.”
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com: “Feelings like joy and wonder are smothered by a movie that so desperately wants to please a fractured fanbase that it doesn’t bother with an identity of its own.”
Still, they weren’t all bad:
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: “The result is often chaos, but it’s also a euphoric blast of pulse-quickening adventure, laced with humor and heart.”
Does it really matter though? Pre-sales of tickets have reportedly been strong, and even a poor performance by “Star Wars” standards would qualify as a massive success for virtually any other movie. Regardless of critics, “The Rise of Skywalker” is likely to become the Walt Disney Co.’s
Box Office Pro is projecting an opening weekend total of between $160 million and $190 million — significantly less than the record $247.9 million that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” earned in 2015, and the $220 million for “The Last Jedi,” and just above the 2016 spinoff, “Rogue One,” which took in $155 million in its opening weekend.
But Box Office Pro pointed out that would still be the third-highest December opening of all time, behind the two previous installments of the latest trilogy. The site also said that the timing is different than with the previous “Star Wars” films, as it’s opening the weekend before most schools are off for winter break, likely leading to ticket sales being more spread out over the first week, as opposed to an opening-weekend mad rush.