You can’t please all of the people all of the time, the saying goes. And that seems to be the general consensus after the world premier of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in Los Angeles Monday night.
With a strict social embargo in effect until midnight on the West Coast, the first reactions are only starting to trickle in. The initial reaction is generally positive, tinged with a slight hint of skepticism that the plot may have been unnecessarily bogged down.
The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the original Skywalker story that started in 1977 when George Lucas introduced the world to one of the most fan-obsessed movie franchises of all time. Nine films have now been made, including the prequel trilogy of that spanned 1999 to 2005 and the current trilogy that began in 2015 and ends with this instalment.
Filmmaker J.J. Abrams opened the premiere joined on stage by Star Wars veterans, including Mark Hammill and, of course, a clutch of storm troopers. In a ten minute speech, he demonstrated his awareness of how important this film franchise is to the hard core fans. “Well, this is terrifying,” he said as a way of introduction of the film. “People have reassured me I felt this way at the premiere of Force Awakens, but I think those people are liars.”
If the initial reviews are any indication, the film is a complicated voyage to the beyond, sure to delight some and frustrate others for the same reasons. Seemingly heavy on nostalgic references, the latest film has given critics plenty to talk about.
The pop culture website Uproxx’s movie critic Mike Ryan summed up the mixed feelings. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is certainly the most convoluted Star Wars,” he wrote on Twitter after the embargo was lifted. “There is a lot I liked, but the first half gets so bogged down with exposition and new plot and doodads and beacons and transmitters, it feels like it should have been three movies on its own.”
Laura Prudom from IGN shared a similar feeling that the film might have over complicated itself unnecessarily. “The emotional highs are spectacular, and there are a lot of payoffs (some earned, some not),” she tweeted. “But some choices feel like an unnecessary course-correct from The Last Jedi and some just plain don’t make sense.”
As is the case with anything obsession-worthy, those who loved it really loved it. Screen Rant’s Rob Keyes sat squarely in that super fan category. “It’s an immensely satisfying and massive end to the saga,” he tweeted. “It somehow addresses issues, problematic characters, and most unanswered questions from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi too.”
Fandango’s Erik Davis couldn’t agree more. “Epic. All of it. #TheRiseofSkywalker is a terrific finale that is just stuffed with so much of everything,” he wrote. “Action, adventure — answers!! — humor, heart, love, and grit.”
Adam B. Vary of Variety said he needed to take some time to let what he saw sink in. “I’m gonna need a minute to digest #StarWarsTheRiseofSkywalker,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”
The film, sure to be this Christmas season’s go-to flick, opens nationwide on Friday.