‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: First reactions are split
It seemed like an entire galaxy attended the world premiere of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on Monday night in Los Angeles, and the lucky first wave of viewers had several thoughts.
Initial reactions were, unsurprisingly, mixed, as is standard for just about any installment in a franchise so beloved. But some are so diametrically opposed, it’s almost hard to believe everyone saw the same film. Most, however, were able to agree on one thing about the highly anticipated finale to the Skywalker saga: It’s a lot to take in.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is the third film in the trilogy starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, who play a fresh class of resistance fighters in the ongoing struggle to defeat the corrupt First Order (led by Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren) and bring peace to the galaxy.
At Monday’s premiere of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” director J.J. Abrams and actor Ian McDiarmid detailed the surprise return of Emperor Palpatine.
Among the sequel’s champions was “When They See Us” mastermind Ava DuVernay, who called it “truly emotional,” “jawdropping” and “the perfect end to an epic saga,” with special kudos to lead actress Ridley.
“To balance scope and scale with so much heart like that is a feat,” the producer wrote. “The performances are so damn good. Especially, Daisy. A fantastic ride.”
The perfect end to an epic saga. The story is truly emotional. The direction is jawdropping. I don’t know how he did it. To balance scope and scale with so much heart like that is a feat. The performances are so damn good. Especially, Daisy. A fantastic ride. #TheRiseOfSkywalker https://t.co/06SeSS1Nla— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 17, 2019
“Charlie’s Angels” director Elizabeth Banks also appeared impressed, praising and teasing one undisclosed moment in particular.
“I cried,” she tweeted. “And ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ has the best no-sex love scene I’ve seen in a long while.”
No spoilers - I cried - and #TheRiseOfSkwalker has the best no-sex love scene I’ve seen in a long while. 🔥— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) December 17, 2019
Others were less satisfied, with many lamenting how the narrative distances itself from its predecessor, “The Last Jedi.” The 2017 Rian Johnson film is one of the most polarizing entries in the “Star Wars” universe, with supporters — including The Times’ critic Justin Chang — lauding Johnson’s decision to veer from the tried-and-true, good-versus-evil formula as refreshing, while purists found his embellishments insulting.
The lead-up to “Rise of Skywalker” had many wondering whether Abrams would run with the unconventional and controversial themes Johnson introduced. Apparently not.
“RISE OF SKYWALKER could only have been ruder to Rian Johnson if they had motion-smoothed it,” wrote the New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan.
RISE OF SKYWALKER could only have been ruder to Rian Johnson if they had motion-smoothed it— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) December 17, 2019
“The emotional highs are spectacular, and there are a lot of payoffs (some earned, some not),” tweeted IGN’s Laura Prudom, before adding, “But some choices feel like an unnecessary course-correct from ‘The Last Jedi’ and some just plain don’t make sense.”
I’m still processing #StarWars #TheRiseofSkywalker. The emotional highs are spectacular, and there are a lot of payoffs (some earned, some not). But some choices feel like an unnecessary course-correct from The Last Jedi and some just plain don’t make sense. Need to see it again pic.twitter.com/NcgBbAeCVx— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) December 17, 2019
The common thread among early “Rise of Skywalker” viewers? Overstimulation. For better or worse, the movie promises plenty of action and adventure, with journalists on Twitter calling it “9 movies of plot in one,” “stuffed with so much everything” and “a lot.”
Check out more “Rise of Skywalker” first impressions — ranging from “immensely satisfying” and “terrific” to “convoluted” and “disappointing” — below.
All I’ll say about #RiseofSkywalker is that I cried 3x ... which seems fitting for the end of the 3rd trilogy to which I’ve devoted so much of my time 😢😢😢 It was everything and nothing that I expected. Thank you @jjabrams 🤩 #starwars pic.twitter.com/JntmkuXuRE— Angelique Jackson (@angelique814) December 17, 2019
There is good in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. But there is more that is disappointing. There are a number of choices that just don't track, fan service that doesn't work, and ignored details that are missed. I'm bummed. #StarWarsRiseofSkywalker pic.twitter.com/Ztk0VzGc6H— Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) December 17, 2019
When people talk about #StarWars , they talk about their childhoods. Their best memories. The people they loved and shared it with.#TheRiseOfSkywalker brings back all those feelings. And then some.— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) December 17, 2019
I absolutely loved it.
And now I feel ... pic.twitter.com/5wkQh6v97G
#TheRiseOfSkywalker is ummmmmm a lot! tons to love here, no shortage of crowd pleasing moments and twists and cameos, but also quite a bit to 🤔. some faves: jannah 💜, d-0 💚, finn of course 🖤. and what a lovely send off for our general leia 💕🚀💫— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) December 17, 2019
#TheRiseofSkywalker is a lot. It’s like 9 movies of plot in one. Going to take me about 9 days to process.— Chris Taylor (@FutureBoy) December 17, 2019
Epic. All of it. #TheRiseofSkywalker is a terrific finale that is just stuffed with so much of everything. Action, adventure — answers!! — humor, heart, love, and grit. I spent the entire second half with tears in my eyes - a wonderful way to end the Skywalker story pic.twitter.com/K2NhHSGWzM— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) December 17, 2019
I’m gonna need a minute to digest #StarWarsTheRiseofSkywalker. There’s so much movie in this movie. But its best moments are the quietest and most human. Giving this more of a think, though.— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) December 17, 2019
So, I'm not too surprised and at times I felt too much fan service was given, but #TheRiseofSkywalker is everything and nothing that you're expecting.— Yolanda Machado (@SassyMamainLA) December 17, 2019
So I guess what my immediate reaction is: God I love this franchise and I'll miss the Skywalker saga.
My favorite Star Wars are the ones that take their time and focus on the characters. The whole first half felt like all exposition. It does get better. And Lando rules. But there’s just so much plot it feels so rushed. And the Emperor stuff is so weird.— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) December 17, 2019
All I can say is “wow.”#StarWars: #TheRiseOfSkywalker is many things: horrifying, hopeful, violent, lowkey horny, and full of the right kind of fan service.— Dan Casey (@DanCasey) December 17, 2019
But most of all, it’s a fitting ending for this incredible, 40+ year-long saga. pic.twitter.com/pd2GEwI7O3
Just stepped out of #TheRiseofSkywalker. It’s an immensely satisfying and MASSIVE end to the saga. It somehow addresses issues, problematic characters, and most unanswered questions from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi too. pic.twitter.com/TMKeXCXuUx— Rob Keyes (@rob_keyes) December 17, 2019
#RiseofSkywalker is perfect. I think it may be my favorite of the new trilogy. So many surprises. So many tears. So much joy. @jjabrams stuck the landing and then some. Get ready. I’m still processing. So beyond incredible. That expression was after Daisy whispered nonsense to me pic.twitter.com/AgwBqrAYOY— Josh Gad (@joshgad) December 17, 2019
With THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, JJ Abrams gives the trilogy — no, the entire 9-film arc — the thrilling emotional finale it deserves. If the first half is slow, I blame that on having to undo the damage Rian Johnson inflicted (minor example: restoring Kylo’s mask) & refocus the plot.— Peter Debruge (@AskDebruge) December 17, 2019
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