Rotten Tomatoes’ critic and audience divide for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has come to light, and it is just like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, except in reverse. J.J. Abrams returned to the director’s chair for the ninth and final installment in this over 40-year-old film saga, and The Rise of Skywalker has seemingly pulled out all the stops by bringing back Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), utilizing unused footage of Carrie Fisher as General Leia, and also concluding the Kylo Ren and Rey story, which has dominated this brand new trilogy that started with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

With Abrams once again taking the lead to conclude this trilogy, there has been a lot of talk about what fans might expect from Rise of Skywalker after Rian Johnson’s controversial Last Jedi left many fuming. The directors themselves have even spoken about their thoughts on the franchise and their philosophies. Abrams said in an interview with Screen Rant, instead of focusing on what others wanted for this trilogy, he and writer Chris Terrio were “doing the best we could for ourselves to not trying to check boxes and say, ‘These are the things that we must do.’" Johnson has also stood by his style of filmmaking by claiming movie fans should be “challenged” when sitting in a theater. Ultimately, with The Rise of Skywalker now out for the world to see, Abrams’ has found himself in a somewhat similar situation to what Johnson was in two years ago.

With reviews from critics and audiences flying in for Abrams’ latest Star Wars story, Rotten Tomatoes has put out the critics and audience score for the Skywalker saga finale. At the time of this writing, Rise of Skywalker has a 58 percent critics score, and an 86 percent audience score, which is very similar to The Last Jedi’s Rotten Tomatoes score, except Last Jedi has a favorable critics score with 91 percent, and a low audience score at 43 percent. However, it should be noted The Last Jedi was the focus of review-bomb campaigns (wherein users downvote a movie they may not have seen to lower the overall score), a flaw in the system that Rotten Tomatoes has worked to rectify in the two years since Johnson’s movie hit theaters.

The general consensus from critics is that The Rise of Skywalker is an overstuffed conclusion, and it focuses far too much on trying to undo what was done in The Last Jedi, while also giving the fans exactly what they want. Whereas The Last Jedi didn’t cater to fans’ desires, and challenged audiences and forced an endless debate from viewers and critics alike about what should and should not have happened. Still, it’s unclear what the actual Last Jedi audience score would be if it had released after Rotten Tomatoes had implemented its system to prevent review bombing.

Considering the amount of nostalgia, and how much focus Abrams has seemingly put on ensuring fans don’t experience the same sort of unrest they experienced after Johnson’s film, it’s not surprising that critics and audiences have been divided in this manner. Abrams has essentially taken the opposite approach to the Knives Out director. If anything, this critics/audience divide, as well as the low box office projections for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, prove why Star Wars’ three-year break is necessary.

Next: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s Ending Explained (& What Happens Next)

Source: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars: The Last Jedi/Rotten Tomatoes

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