Star Wars fans are famously not very chill when it comes to their prized movie franchise. When those midi-chlorians get into your bloodstream at an early age, they take root and flourish, forever entangled with childlike wonder and expectation. (It’s no accident that these movies arrive at the same time as Santa.)
Who knows just what it takes to satisfy the inner child within adults who invested too much emotional stock in space opera? The most ardent Star Wars fans don’t feel underwhelmed when the franchise zigs instead of zags; they feel betrayed. Some complained that 2015’s The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope. (Booooo!) Others were furious that The Last Jedi didn’t honor the sanctity of the original trilogy. (Harumph!) And if anyone thought that these perceived wounds might have healed in the last two years, take a look at the recent New York Times interview in which returning (from Force Awakens) director J.J. Abrams and some of the cast appeared to air grievances about The Last Jedi, prompting a nerdworld bloodbath on Twitter.
Considering the heft of all these Star Wars-y feelings, it is with heavy heart that we wade into the water of reactions to the first public screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which hits theaters Friday.
The first eye-catching reaction is a pair of reviews that suggest the New York Times interview did indeed accurately reflect J.J. Abrams’s thoughts about Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
RISE OF SKYWALKER could only have been ruder to Rian Johnson if they had motion-smoothed it
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) December 17, 2019
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) December 17, 2019
Not to take a bite out of a Burger King Spoiler Whopper, but here is a prediction of what these reviews mean. Two of the most controversial things Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi are turn Luke Skywalker into an Obi-Wan-style apparition (after he initially forsook the resistance altogether) and reveal that Rey’s parents were . . . rando nobodies. Look for Luke Skywalker to return to his corporeal form in the new film, and for Rey’s real parentage to really be revealed for real this time, and perhaps someone will also blow up a casino planet.
For the most part, though, the first wave of reviews are decidedly positive.
Lot to take in with #riseofskywalker It is the big adventure, lightsaber adventure I hoped for. A few things I still wonder if it was necessary but it was a very satisfying end to this new trilogy.
— Kristian Harloff (@KristianHarloff) December 17, 2019
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: Really awesome! The best of the new trilogy! Really fun, lots of humor, a big heart! So many surprises! It’s everything #StarWars fans are hoping for, and more! A very satisfying conclusion! A lot of fan service, but I loved it! pic.twitter.com/9iSjFpifu6
— The Mantzalorian (@MovieMantz) December 17, 2019
I really enjoyed Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. It offered a very satisfying conclusion to a 9-movie narrative arc. The strongest of the last trilogy. A few silly parts but overall, a damn good movie. Adam Driver was excellent. Better than he had to be. Fans won’t be disappointed.
— roxane gay (@rgay) December 17, 2019
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is everything I wanted it to be — because there’s never been a STAR WARS movie like this before.
It’s dark and scary, but hopeful and beautiful.
It ends the trilogy while also ending the saga as a whole.
I know I’m rambling — but I worship this movie. pic.twitter.com/XoJFl8Rv8n
— Jake Hamilton (@JakesTakes) December 17, 2019
#StarWars #TheRiseOfSkywalker…OH MY GOD! I am absolutely blown away! I’ve never been so satisfied by a film. This is the end of an era and a franchise that has defined my life and this did it justice in a way I didn’t imagine it could. You WILL cry…. pic.twitter.com/Jfx5bzdZOO
— Jenna Bûche de Noël (@JennaBusch) December 17, 2019
Some reviews, of course, were mixed, however.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is certainly the most convoluted Star Wars. 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.
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) December 17, 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has everything you want and more.
Which I don’t necessarily think is a good thing.
I loved parts, I didn’t love others, and I’m leaving the theater very, very conflicted about it. pic.twitter.com/dOYAP6Ntbi
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) 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.
So I guess what my immediate reaction is: God I love this franchise and I'll miss the Skywalker saga.
— Yolanda Machado (@SassyMamainLA) December 17, 2019
And others were straight-up disappointed.
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
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker reaction – There are a few big great moments, and I'm sure a lot of people are going to love this movie. Unfortunately, I'm just not one of them. Hopefully I'll like it a little bit more after I see it again tomorrow.
— John Campea (@johncampea) December 17, 2019
At worst, I expected #TheRiseOfSkywalker to be a well made movie that I didn't like or whose story choices I disagreed with. I was not expecting a genuinely bad movie with video game plotting, thin characters, weak action and endless exposition of no consequence. Heartbreaking…
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) December 17, 2019
While the positive reviews far outweigh the negative, the mixed reaction suggests that the discourse is about to get rather prickly over the next week or so. If it was any other way, it just wouldn’t be Star Wars.