Rise of Skywalker
Critics were not especially kind of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker when it was first released last month, and over time, their opinions have not changed. In fact, in aggregate, they’ve gotten worse.
For opening weekend, Rise of Skywalker reviews came in and on Rotten Tomatoes, rated it worse (58%) than every other Star Wars movie other than Phantom Menace (53%) but below the likes of Attack of the Clones (65%). Now, that’s changed. Dozens more reviews have come in and factored into the total, bringing down Rise of Skywalker to actually be tied with The Phantom Menace, a pretty steep drop. Here’s what the grand Star Wars film total looks like now:
The Empire Strikes Back – 94%
A New Hope – 93%
The Force Awakens – 93%
The Last Jedi – 91%
Rogue One – 83%
Return of the Jedi – 82%
Revenge of the Sith – 80%
Solo – 70%
Attack of the Clones – 65%
The Phantom Menace – 53%
The Rise of Skywalker – 53%
Rise of Skywalker
That’s a pretty wild end result, I have to say, and one I’m having a hard time agreeing with as a critic myself. While I agree that Rise of Skywalker certainly has plenty of issues to parse through, declaring it worse than the entire prequel trilogy is hard to process.
And in general, audiences do not agree with this classification. The audience score for Phantom Menace is a dismal 59%, but for Rise of Skywalker, it’s an 86%. This is the polar opposite situation we got with the last film in the series, The Last Jedi, which critics loved (at 91%) with many fans making their anger known with a rock-bottom 43% audience score, making it the worst fan-rated Star Wars film on the site by a wide margin. Suffice to say I don’t agree with that classification either.
It’s a puzzling end for a complicated, controversial film that had undid a lot of what critics loved about The Last Jedi, hence many of the negative reviews here.
I will say that in total, the prequel trilogy works better as a cohesive unit than the new era Disney trilogy, as at least with Lucas in charge and a clear end in sight, everything was moving in the same direction. That did not happen here with the new trilogy, and yet I don’t think you can argue that the prequel movies, especially Attack of the Clones and Phantom Menace are better films than The Last Jedi or Rise of Skywalker. Though making “best Star Wars movies” lists is going to be a thing until the end of time, knowing how many more of these films Disney is going to make.
I don’t know how many Rise reviews are still coming in, so perhaps it could drop another percent putting it fully under Phantom. Kind of an absurd end result if you ask me, but so much about the reaction, both fan and critical, to the new trilogy has been bizarre. In the end, I think they’re all pretty good Star Wars movies individually that do not work very well together, but no, neither Last Jedi or Rise of Skywalker is the worst Star Wars film ever made, not even close.