𝘐𝘴 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘍𝘪𝘭𝘮 𝘈 𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘺𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘚𝘶𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰?:
ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡꜱ ᴏꜰ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ & ꜱᴜᴘᴇʀʜᴇʀᴏ ʀᴇʟᴇᴀꜱᴇꜱ
▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁
Let’s be clear. “The Last Jedi” was the equivalent of someone knocking out a pilot in the middle of a plane ride (with an unclear destination); steering the plane directly into a storm, and then ripping out the engine and jumping out. This being a good movie seemed nearly impossible. Then the reviews started coming in and they were bad. To say the least, my expectations were low. Well… I think the plane landed. This movie is far from perfect but I found it enjoyable overall.
The Emperor is back and there’s no way around it this is hard to swallow. The more I thought about it though, the more I couldn’t really see what else they could do. If “Kylo” is the big bad guy then “Rey’s” already beat him a few times now. Bringing back “Snoke” would be worse and it would be really weird to bring in someone new at the point. Some people feel bringing “Palpatine” back undoes everything that was accomplished in the original trilogy. I think this is a bit much. “Anakin” overcoming his master’s manipulation still lead to somewhere between twenty and thirty years of relative peace in the galaxy. That’s not nothing. What’s harder to swallow though is the armada of secret ships that all have “Death Star” cannons. Meh! Sith magic I guess.
From there I straight up like the first half-hour or so even with its rapid-fire pace. To be clear, I still like the rest of the movie overall but from this point, there are some “bumps in the road”. This part gives me the main things I wanted to see which the three main characters interacting, “Rey” doing some actual training, and characters like “Chewbacca” and “3PO” having something to do. I’ve seen some complaints about how much more advanced “Rey’s” training is than “Luke’s” was and how this is “J.J” overdoing things but to be fair we only saw the beginning of “Luke’s” training in “The Empire Strikes Back”. “Rey” is a student that is a few years in now. It makes sense that her training is more advanced. Another complaint is there’s a bunch of macguffins… I just don’t care. The chase for them was entertaining to me and again it got me the character interaction and action I wanted.
An aspect of this section that I like is that “Rey” doesn’t do everything perfectly, misses shots and messed up like an actual character. I could do without “Force healing” though. I know it’s in the books and comics and stuff but I could still do without it. Anyway, it’s pretty good until… “Rey” force grabs a ship… WAY OVERPOWERED. Then “Kylo” does it too and it gets worse and worse until Rey destroys the ship killing “Chewie”… Who way too soon after is lazily written off as being just fine. More stuff happens and then 3PO gets his memory wiped which leads to a couple of okay jokes then again this is fixed way too fast. We meet some new characters in the middle of this and I don’t really like or dislike them but they serve their job of giving Finn and Poe people to talk to and something to do.
Alright, let get to it… “Rey’s” parentage. Personally, I think she should have just been “Luke’s” daughter and that wanting a family is why “Luke’s” students leave him or why he leaves his Jedi order. It’s predictable but this is something that should be. The main characters of these movies have always been “Skywalkers”. “Rey” being no one COULD work if executed well and if “The Force Awakens” didn’t make it VERY clear that she was someone important. The first time I saw this movie I thought” Rey” being a “Palpatine” was the laziest choice they could have made but again after thinking about it more I think it actually makes the most sense under the circumstances this movie was in. It gives her some plausible reason for turning to the Darkside and actual genuine conflict. It also helps explain why she so overpowered in parts of this whole trilogy.
Moving on, I like how the lightsaber fight between “Rey” and “Kylo” as there are surrounded by crashing waves is like an inverse version of the fight between “Anakin” and “Obi-Wan” surrounded by lava. Then “Leia” dies trying to reach her son one last time. Quickly let me segway to “Leia”, in general, in this movie. Although they do as good as a job as they could it’s very clear they worked with a very limited amount of material with Carrie Fisher before she died. You can tell the dialogue is “written around” this material. With that said, it works well enough most of the time.
Then “Han Solo” shows up. The scene itself is good and the callback to the “I know” scene from “Empire Strikes Back” is great but it’s weird. I guess “Kylo” is imagining this or “Leia” put this in his head. I dunno. This convinces “Kylo” to turn good and he throws his lightsaber away. Sure it’s a symbol his evil past but it’s still stupid he does this. It’s a weapon it’s not evil in and of itself. Does “Kylo” deserve redemption? Did “Vader”? Earlier in the movie, “Kylo” says something to “Rey” (when he tells her she’s a “Palpatine”) something to the extent that “you can’t turn back”. If the main “Star Wars” have one unified message it would be that “you can always turn back”. Anyone seeking redemption can have it. It may come at a cost (and that cost may even be your life) but they can have it.
After this “Rey” returns to “Achto” to give up the whole “Jedi” thing like “Luke” did in “The Last Jedi”. Part of this leads to another problem which is that spaceships now seem to be able to fast travel anywhere VERY quickly. So the first time I saw the movie I thought this scene was just a blatant “fuck you” to Rian Johnson. Don’t get me wrong there’s a little bit of that. After watching it a second time though I see more like “Luke” learning from everything after dying. He WAS a coward who abandoned his friends and family and that was wrong. Rian would probably agree with that. It’s funny because many reviews of this movie unironically talk about how J.J. Abrams “spit in the face” or Rian’s vision. Actually, J.J. was much more respectful to Rian’s vision that Rian was to J.J.’s. J.J. works with the idea of “Force Ghosts” being able to interact with the physical world and how the physical world is affected by the bond between “Rey” and “Kylo”. To be clear, these were terrible ideas, but they exist and J.J. didn’t just ignore them and actually do some interesting things with them.
This leads us to the end where everyone goes to the “Sith” planet “Exegol” where “Palpatine” now resides. There’s a “Independence Day”-style “take the big ship out and all the others will go down too” thing here. It’s a weak trope and it needs to be retired from movies. “Palpatine” wants “Rey” to kill him and rule the galaxy (with the assumption that doing this would turn her to the Darkside) and of course “Rey” resists. Then “Palpatine” pulls the old “your friends are going to die” thing that he did in “Return Of The Jedi” but “Rey” still resists. “Palpatine” then has his red guards fight her. She fights them off then faces “Palpatine” alone until we see “Kylo” coming to help. Before he can get to “Rey” he has to face the “Knights Of Ren” who he lead not long ago. Because he threw away his lightsaber “Kylo” is taking a beating until “Rey” senses him and uses their bond to hand him “Luke’s” lightsaber. “Rey” luckily also has “Leia’s” lightsaber which “Luke” gave to her on Achto. She takes out “Palpatine’s” guards and “Kylo” takes out the “Knights Of Ren” and they face the Emperor together. Right after this, there’s the “Avengers: Endgame” moment where tons of ships from throughout galaxy show up to help the “Resistance”. It has nowhere near the impact that “Endgame” had (and the logistics of how they all got gathered that fast don’t work) but it’s cool. “Palpatine” then discovers he can absorb the power of “Rey” and “Kylo” and because of their connection, this not only supercharges him but heals his body. He then force pushes “Kylo” into a pit and launches some super-lightning into the sky that destroys a bunch of ships. Again, I know this type of stuff is in books and other material but I found this overpowered. “Rey” now knocked down and beaten finally connects to all the past “Jedi” which she had been trying to do throughout the movie. We hear the voices of “Luke”, “Anakin”, “Obi-Wan”, “Yoda” etc. as they encourage her to get up. She does and grabs both lightsabers to repel “Palpatine’s” lightning back at him seemingly killing him for good. It would have been nice if there was more to killing him and it was different. This effort kills “Rey” but “Kylo” survived the fall from before and he climbs out of the pit and uses “force healing” to save her. Then there’s what is now the infamous “Reylo” kiss. This is the only “fanservice” complaint I agree with. This wasn’t necessary and it feels awkward and wrong. This kills “Kylo” and his body vanishes telling us he went to “Jedi” heaven.
We then see the “Resistance” celebrate and “Maz Kanata” gives “Chewie” a medal. The first time I saw this I made fun of it a lot because I thought it was “Chewie” finally getting the medal he never received in “A New Hope”. I thought that this was purely a fanservice detail that was forced into the movie. After watching it again, though this is certainly referencing that to some extent, it’s very clear this is actually “Han’s” medal which “Leia” was holding as she died. It’s actually a nice little moment.
We then end with “Rey” returning to “Luke’s” original home on “Tatootine”. She then buries “Luke” and “Leia’s” lightsabers in the sand. An old woman then crosses her path and asks “Rey” her name and she says “Rey Skywalker” as the “force ghosts” of “Luke” and “Leia” look on in approval. This is yet another thing I didn’t like at first, but now I do. It’s not exactly the deepest or most original message but you can choose your family and choose your destiny. “Rey” then stares off into the twin suns much like the way “Luke” did in “A New Hope”. The mainline adventures are done for us (until of course “Disney” decides to make more) but her adventures are only beginning.
Clearly, there’s a lot of plot problems. Some of which are ones a lot of people can’t get passed and I get that. I think everything else about the movie is done well enough that I found the movie fun and entertaining. There are several other “Star Wars” movies I couldn’t say that about. B+. It was a rough ride but to me, this plane landed safely and I mostly like the final destination.
Saved The Day (A+ to B+)
Stopped The Threat (B to B-)
Minimized The Damage (C+ to C)
Lost The Battle (C- & Below)