Directing a Star Wars film is undoubtedly a prestigious achievement, but doing so is as much of a curse as it is a blessing. On the plus side, you get to attach your name and thematic sensibilities to one of the most iconic film franchises in history. The downside, though, is that you open yourself up to an avalanche of endless criticism from what is arguably the most engaged and fanatical fanbase there is.
To that end, the latest installment of George Lucas’ acclaimed franchise — Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — hasn’t exactly enamored itself with fans. Casual moviegoers have seemingly dismissed the film as mediocre while hardcore Star Wars fans can’t type up their complaints about the film fast enough.
Indeed, if you head on over to the Star Wars subreddit page and read reviews from serious fans, the one word that comes up over and over again is “disappointment.”
The subpar reviews for The Rise of Skywalker are a bit surprising given J.J. Abrams’ previous work on the franchise, but I suppose not everything can be a home run.
Addressing the multitude of complaints regarding the film, Abrams recently opened up while speaking at the 2020 Upfront Summit in Los Angeles.
“The truth is that these are things that are meant to entertain people, to make them feel something and hopefully make them feel good,” Abrams said in a comment first reported by ComicBook. “Obviously, it doesn’t always work. It’s hard when it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, you have to understand it, you have to acknowledge it, you have to examine it.”
Abrams also addressed the backlash to the film last month, albeit in a less direct manner.
“I’d say that they’re right,” Abrams said about the film’s more vocal critics. “The people who love it more than anything are also right. I was asked… ‘How did you go about pleasing everyone?’ I was like, what? Not to say that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one even go about it? Especially with Star Wars. I don’t need to tell anyone here, we live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. And there’s a kind of M.O. of it’s either exactly as I see it or you’re my enemy.”
“It’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance,” Abrams added. “It’s not about Star Wars, it’s about everything, and compassion and acceptance. It’s a crazy moment, so we knew starting this any decision we made, a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision would please someone and infuriate someone else. And they’re all right.”
The only upside to a bad Star Wars film is that you can rest easy knowing that the coming decade will deliver a few more chances for redemption. And in the meantime, you might as well enjoy The Mandalorian on Disney+.