'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Counter-Backlash Begins As #Thankyoujjabrams Trends

After suffering some of the worst reviews for a Star Warsmovie since 1999's critically reviled Phantom Menaceand enjoying a massive box office take that was nonetheless a step down from The Last Jedi, fans of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerare making their argument in favor of the movie—building a social media counter to the prior backlash—using the trending hashtag #thankyoujjabrams.

After relatively positive reactions out of its Hollywood premiere, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerwas met with considerably more negative hot takes upon its December 20 wide release. The Washington Postsaid it "panders wildly," while Timesaid the film "comes off more like fanfiction than the creation of actual professional filmmakers." The Atlanticcalled The Rise of Skywalker "the most incoherent Star Warsmovie ever made."

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) face off in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."Lucasfilm/The Walt Disney Company

But many reviews were more middling, typified by the reaction from The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern, who called The Last Jedi "good, not great," describing the movie as evidence of incipient "Star Warsfatigue."

But the split between The Rise of Skywalker's 55 percent critics' consensus (a "rotten" score, by its metrics) and the "fresh" audience score at 86 percent suggests that, for many in the audience on its opening weekend, The Rise of Skywalkerdidn't disappoint. Many of those more enthusiastic voices have coalesced around the hashtag #thankyoujjabrams.

Reactions using the hashtag vary from defenses of various aspects of the series, such as the main cast of characters, to more external concerns, such as those pushing back against perceived negativity in the fandom community.

Even the hashtag itself is a reaction to a reaction, of sorts, trending after #thankyourianjohnson became a rallying cry for those who preferred The Rise of Skywalkerpredecessor, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.That movie, released in 2017, was critically beloved, but several of its storytelling choices quickly became hot button issues among the Star Warsfandom. A vocal contingent of fans objected, in particular, to the subversive depiction of Luke Skywalker as a fallen hero, whose spirits were crushed after the failure of his new Jedi temple.

In social media's typically combative atmosphere, hashtags have become dueling battle lines, with many using #thankyoujjabrams sarcastically, to highlight issues with the movie as well, like the significant diminishment of actor Kelly Marie Tran's character, Rose Tico, who had been the object of a sexist backlash upon her introduction in The Last Jedi.

While many using the two hashtags, named for directors J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens) and Rian Johnson (Knives Out), are using the trending topic as a chance to reprise the polarized responses to Johnson's The Last Jedi, the relatively muted (and sometimes fiercely negative) response to The Rise of Skywalker, even among fans, suggests a developing negative consensus. Still, many fans found plenty to love about the movie, with #thankyoujjabrams acting as a repository of feelings and reactions to the concluding entry of the nine-movie Star Wars"Skywalker Saga."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkeris in theaters now.