The Rise of Skywalker Does Disappoint
Usually, when I watch a movie, after a few hours, I have a pretty well-formed opinion—not so with The Rise of Skywalker. I keep forgetting I’ve seen it…which does not bode well. You’d think a movie that was this important to Star Wars, the ending of a new trilogy, would be something that was resonating with me every day now.
But not really…not really at all. The Rise of Skywalker is a sorta fine Star Wars movie; it’s precisely what I would expect of a modern movie in the series. The effects are amazing, the worlds beautiful and vast and eye-catching (they even bothered to make almost every alien a practical effect), the action is well shot, especially the space battles, and, finally, the tonal flow of it is well established. The idea of hope is represented in a way that the original trilogy meshes with well.
The Rise of Skywalker At Least Looks Amazing
But it’s also textbook, and fan fiction like, and I’ve started to see the pages—and for something as innovative, originally anyway, like Star Wars, that’s not super positive. Like the last movie, they have the one big gorgeous looking space moment, and the same peppering of jokes and cute characters to keep it light when events get too dark. It’s got Marvel flavoring on it, and an eye squarely on nostalgia.
And, brief aside, I don’t mind that nostalgia bit. Some people are upset about the number of callbacks to the original trilogy put throughout the movie, but have you seen The Force Awakens? That movie drools over the Millennium Falcon and Han Solo. I really don’t mind it here.
The Rise of Skywalker Contains Fine Fan Service
What I do mind is it’s kind of all over the place.
And, fair warning, some spoilers ahead.
The entire thing with C3PO, and being not legally allowed to read Sith, is sort of logical canonically…but utterly silly as a plot barrier. Like, seriously, that’s how you slow down the story? The second it happened, I groaned internally. The writer’s hands were just utterly smudging the plot. Same with Rey healing the serpent—it’s not an effective setup for a major plot point if you shove it in with the subtlety of a truck. And, to further twist the knife, it’s ultimately a setup for a later “oh no they died, but not anymore” moment (which is such lazy drama), along with a shipping fodder kiss that’s…charitably put…a little of an ill-thought-out moment of characterization.
Coherent Storytelling The Rise of Skywalker Is Not
In short, they got sloppy.
From the backpedal of Rey’s parentage to something that makes sense, to relying way too much on Force powers at every level of the plot, there’s just amateur storytelling happening everywhere. It’s hard to ignore and baffling to think this big-ticket of a movie has so many errors. I could rag on it even further…
…but, that said, it does have some triumphs.
It’s with happiness in my heart that I get to at least compliment a lot of that final scene. Sure, it’s got some silliness and oddness and laziness, but, the space battles, the sheer scale of it, the “holy crap that was cool” moments, it all sings a glorious harmony.
The Rise of Skywalker Manages Lovely Bombast
And the acting! Oh, the acting. Ian McDiarmid is a pitch-perfect Darth Sidious as always. He’s clearly having the biggest blast in this movie and it’s a glorious return to see. Voice, mannerisms, sheer presence: he nails it across the board. And then we have Kylo, we have Adam Driver, who got moments at the end there that were just satisfying. The look he gives the Knights of Ren when he has a lightsaber is wonderful. I can’t help but like these characters off the sheer charisma of their actors. They, at the very least, still lend fun to Star Wars. And that’s ultimately what I’m here for: to see a fun, cool Star Wars adventure.
Sometimes, The Rise of Skywalker Actually Nails It
But, regardless of my opinions, can I even put the whole thing into a box and give it a recommendation or not? This is the end of a new trilogy. This movie will be watched by generations after me. For some, this will be their first Star Wars. This series, this movie, is bigger than my opinion, bigger than all the critics on the Earth’s opinion. Should you watch? Yes—because it is a part of pop culture and will remain as such. Star Wars is a “take good with the bad” series in terms of quality and has been for a long time. I don’t know if I can call this even a “good-ish” movie—but I can say I don’t regret seeing it. I can say that Star Wars is never worth giving up—there’s too much there, important and special and interesting, to abandon it over one disliked movie.
The Rise of Skywalker Doesn’t Ruin Star Wars
The Rise of Skywalker is deeply flawed, yes. Definitely. A convergence of audience-focused, spoiler sensitive, fan guess dodging trends were taken all the way to the extreme. But it’s worth watching and re-watching, if only for academic purposes, and isn’t ever boring. Rise of Skywalker has got a sense of fun and spectacle that at least makes it something worth putting in the background when you happen to come across it. History will decide if we’ve got something like the original trilogy here, or more like the prequels.
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