Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — My Review (SPOILERS)

Rise of Skywalker

Rise of Skywalker

Yikes. So that’s how they ended the trilogy. I refuse to call Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the last movie in the Skywalker Saga, because that was Return of the Jedi, and it was a perfect ending, plus or minus a few Ewoks.

The last movie in the Disney Trilogy is a mess. I knew as soon as I heard Palpatine was coming back that it would be, and I wasn’t wrong. JJ Abrams set up the trilogy well in FA, even if it was completely the wrong way to go about it (you need to evolve the universe, Lucasfilm, and honor what has come before, not reboot/remake A New Hope). But Force Awakens was fun, and could have functioned as a tonally light starter to a more serious, interesting trilogy.

Instead, Rian Johnson turned his entry in the series into a platform for political propaganda and a display case for bad storytelling devices, and it was a tonal nightmare, too. It seriously opened with a your-mama joke and a cell phone gag, then proceeded to destroy the epic, mythic hero the series had been built around.

Just as bad, Last Jedi dropped the plots set up in Force Awakens, and even eliminated the villain. So Rise of Skywalker was never going to be a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, because the trilogy was toast as soon as Rian Johnson was through with it.

But it didn’t have to be this bad. They wipe C3-PO’s mind in order to decode a dagger, which they’ve lost, because he’s the only one that has memorized its inscription … but then they instantly find the dagger.

They try to turn Po into Han Solo. They actually retcon him as a smuggler that “goes good” and joins the rebellion. He did have one funny moment at the end, though, waggling his eyebrows at that lady in the helmet. Seriously, that was her only defining characteristic.

They misuse Finn, again, but at least he comes out better in this one than he did in Last Jedi. He still doesn’t fulfill the potential he had in Force Awakens.

Kylo is still the most interesting character, but they don’t do much with him here. He gets a decent end.

Rey comes out the best, probably. They actually give her a little character arc. But like everything else, it’s too little, too late, and making her a Palpatine doesn’t answer how she was able to use her Force abilities. Luke was also descended from a powerful Force user, but he couldn’t do anything with it until he was trained. And don’t get me started on her deciding to become a moisture farmer and calling herself a Skywalker.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a mess, but it’s not offensively awful like the Last Jedi, and there are some fun practical effects, some nice aliens and cool Star Wars-y bits of tech.

Sadly I never connected with the movie, and was never “in” the movie. I kept on waiting to be emotionally engaged, but it never hooked me.

Some questions: Why did projecting his mere image through the Force kill Luke Skywalker, but Rey and Kylo Ren could exchange entire physical objects through the Force without breaking a sweat? Why did Palpatine task Kylo with killing Rey if he wanted Rey to kill him? And why, after Rey did do that, did he not go through with his plan to possess her? Why was there an inscription on the dagger? For what purpose? Why did Rey know to extend the little do-dad on it at just the right moment, and stand in just the right spot?

This movie just made no sense, from top to bottom. Its heart was in the right place, though (or close enough), and I appreciate that. I just wish its head had been in the right place, too.

It really does feel like just a bunch of random stuff that happens. Also, how many times can Rey and Kylo be in an evil throne room just when the rebel fleet is engaged in battle with the evil fleet?

Also, why was the Emperor hanging out building a giant fleet and developing tens of thousands of Sith followers, without actually doing anything with that power? If he was never dead, why did he ever stop running the Empire? Why did the war end?

Another thing In the final battle, the rebels destroyed the ships of the Emperor. That’s it. The First Order, which had conquered the galaxy at that point, is presumably still out there ruling it. The Emperor’s new fleet was just a bonus for them, but they’d already won, so it was unnecessary. In other words, despite the big battle at the end, the bad guys still won, and some First Order general is still out there somewhere, ruling the galaxy with an iron fist. I don’t think this was intentional or a set-up for future movies. I’m absolutely sure this was simply the result of terrible, terrible writing. Seriously bad writing. I’m a writer of epic fantasy and science fiction, and I am professionally insulted by the storytelling of this movie.

Why . . .(throwing up hands). This movie is profoundly stupid. Last Jedi was an affront and an abomination to Star Wars. Rise of Skywalker is simply an embarrassment. A huge, ridiculous, loud embarrassment.

I still don’t consider the new trilogy canon, and I might never see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker again. Maybe a fan edit to see if it can be fixed. That would help if they release some deleted scenes.

I recommend this only to Star Wars completionists, although some people seem to like it.

This movie makes no sense. None.

At least there wasn’t a your-mama joke.