Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
What We Thought:
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is fine. It’s nowhere near as great as The Force Awakens nor is it the travesty The Last Jedi was. I walked out of The Force Awakens giddy and childlike. I walked out of The Last Jedi angry, very, very angry. I walked out of The Rise of Skywalker fine. It had some decent moments and had some anti-climactic moments and felt like a lot of other movies of late.
It’s also a difficult movie to review because a lot of the issues I have with it are spoilers and even though social media has given away A LOT already, I’m not a jerk (usually) and won’t do that to you. I’ll do my best to tip toe around things. I’ll assume you know some storylines and characters because of the trailers and I’ll try to not give away too much. I’ll start with the positives.
Even though I like Donald Glover, Billy Dee Williams will always be Lando Calrissian to me. If you’ve seen a trailer you know Williams returns to the saga for this film. It was great seeing Lando back. Some other favorites make cameos (even if not necessary) so it was cool seeing some of the original squad back together. Carrie Fisher passed three years ago and even if it was CG effects or older footage/voice work, it was nice seeing our Princess Leia on the big screen again as well.
The film’s biggest positive is that it pretty much ignores everything from The Last Jedi besides the death of a character. You could watch this directly after The Force Awakens and it would fit perfectly fine. Storylines, tone, theme, all of it matches The Force Awakens thanks to the return of director JJ Abrams. In fact, if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, do yourself a favor and don’t. We can act like it doesn’t exist and go from The Force Awakens to The Rise of Skywalker.
In The Last Jedi, the three main hero characters introduced in The Force Awakens (Finn, Poe and Rey) barely have screentime together. Abrams must not have liked his characters being separated because in this third film, they spend most of their time together on adventures and not waiting for fuel to run out or going to a casino world that serves zero purpose. We also get multiple lightsaber fights in The Rise of Skywalker. I don’t even remember if there was a lightsaber duel in The Last Jedi. I know there was the fight with Kylo, Rey, Snoke and guards, but that wasn’t a one on one duel. Again this is Abrams going back to the Star Wars well, giving fans what they want and ignoring all the garbage from the previous director.
The biggest problem I have with the film that I can talk about openly is that it’s way too emotional. Let me correct that, it’s way too much forced emotion. Almost every major character openly cries in the movie or has some type of emotional turn. I’m Gen X, The Empire Strikes Back is my all-time favorite movie. It’s a total downer and barely has an ending. The Rise of Skywalker is clearly for Millenials and their emotions. Two of the main characters have severe parents/family issues. They all ponder about life and their feelings. There are tears and self-doubt and I don’t need any of that in a Star Wars movie. In The Empire Strikes Back, Leia says I love you to Han. Han replies I know. The greatest anti-hero of all-time doesn’t even say it back to the woman he actually loves. Millenials thrive on emotions and “likes”. They lose their mind over OK texts. Luke and Leia had family issues too, but there weren’t flashbacks to show their emotional growth. I don’t need/want that in this movie.
Sticking with the emotions stuff, there are some scenes and character deaths clearly there to tug on your heart strings. I won’t spoil who although one you should see coming a mile away. The second one fell flat to me. Because of the lack of development of the new characters (which should have happened in Episode 8 but didn’t), I never really cared that much for them. The original trilogy has beloved characters. With the new ones I expected/hoped for some of them to die because they weren’t developed enough to want more from. You can’t tug on my heart strings if I don’t care about the characters in the series.
There are other things wrong with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but I have no need to go further. Critics are hating it, but they are the same idiots who claim to love The Last Jedi so clearly they aren’t fans of the franchise (or secretly are, but would rather look cool/edgy than be honest with themselves). And ultimately who cares? It’s going to make over a billion dollars worldwide and be the #1 movie at the box office for the rest of 2019 and most likely beginning of 2020. It doesn’t correct all the sins of the previous film and isn’t the nostalgia juggernaut The Force Awakens was, but it might take some of the sour taste out of your mouth that The Last Jedi and Solo left. Plus very few Porgs!
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams
Director: J.J. Abrams
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Michelle Rejwan
Executive Producers: Callum Greene, Tommy Gormley, Jason McGatlin Written by: J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio