Nolte: ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Earns Second-Worst Reviews in ‘Star Wars’ History

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Inset: Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy.
Lucasfilm/Disney, Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney

With 127 reviews in, The Rise of Skywalker has the second-worst reviews of any Star Wars movie in the franchise’s 40-year history.

Rotten Tomatoes averages the Skywalker review score at 56 percent rotten (this could get worse or better as more reviewers file), which is only three points better than worst-reviewed entry in the floundering franchise’s history, 1999’s The Phantom Menace, which crash-landed with a rotten score of 53 percent.

But even most of the positive reviews are reluctant and qualified. Some examples:

The Guardian:  “The movie snaps together like a jigsaw puzzle, a series of concluding beats that seem inevitable and perfect, and designed to please all parties, so long as you don’t dwell on the logic too much.”

ScreenRant: “The Rise of Skywalker gets bogged down in exposition and course-correcting The Last Jedi, but does have some fun moments and fan service.”

Esquire: “In the end, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is fine, it is mostly satisfying-but unexpected or bold it is not.”

Empire Magazine: “It looks gorgeous and offers strong performances from Driver and Ridley in particular, but ultimately the saga ends with neither a bang nor a whimper but something in-between.”

There are no unqualified raves I could find. No one is screaming “masterpiece” or “best ever” or “perfect” or even “great!”

So basically, what w have here is a $500 million (production and promotion) with worse reviews than Attack of the Clones, which somehow earned a 65 percent fresh rating.

Actually, other than Phantom Menace, Rise of Skywalker is the only Star Wars movie to earn a rotten rating.

Here’s the rundown, from best to worst:

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 94 percent

The Force Awakens (2015) – 93 percent

The Last Jedi (2017) – 91 percent

Star Wars (1977) – 93 percent

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – 83 percent

Return of the Jedi (1983) – 82 percent

Revenge of the Sith (2005) – 80 percent

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) – 70 percent

Attack of the Clones (2002) – 65 percent

The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – 56 percent

The Phantom Menace (1999) – 53 percent

A good-faith look at the reviews seem to all focus on two problems: 1) how the largely reviled Last Jedi and all of its terrible ideas painted Rise of Skywalker into a corner that takes at least an hour of exposition to rescue itself from, and 2) the franchise is so out of ideas, it is not only repeating itself over and over — it only has nostalgia to run on.

You couple this with the new cast, who, other than Oscar Isaac, cannot come close to living up to the charisma and star power of their predecessors, and what you have is a big, CGI’d blah.

Rise of Skywalker will make a ton of money, no question, but these reviews will definitely hurt a franchise everyone was already wary of, already disappointed by, a film franchise that desperately needed a reason to go on.

Unlike the prequels, which were disappointing but at least got progressively better, these are getting progressively worse, and it’s hard to see how this won’t affect the box office.

Last Jedi performed well below expectations. Whatever Rise of Skywalker does, this is not going to be an Avengers: Endgame type of event — an event this beloved, 40-year-old franchise should have surpassed — and would have, had producer Kathleen Kennedy not botched it with her obnoxious, feminist agenda. The franchise just worked too hard to antagonize its fan base and to appeal to all the woketards on Twitter when all we wanted was some adventure and romance.

Star Wars is dead as a film franchise, and Disney killed it.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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