6 Thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Here we are at the end of the Skywalker Saga of Star Wars movies and I’m glad it’s over. No more waiting, no more anticipating. Now Star Wars is free to tell new stories with now protagonists and new adventures! But before we get to all of that, let’s take just a moment and think over Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Movie Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I went into this movie ready to be cynical. I’d read a bunch of reviews, seen all the headlines and prepared myself for something aggressively fan-servicey. I was perfectly happy with The Last Jedi, aside from a few nitpicks, and I found it laughably funny when I heard how drastically Rise of Skywalker attempted to “course correct” to appease the haters. How disappointing.
But it turns out, I’m a sucker for good Star Wars fan service! I loved almost all of the twists and surprises and came out of the movie feeling excited and entertained. A couple of the fan service things made me roll my eyes, but I’m pleased with the overall film. It was all perfectly fine.
Join me after the jump for my full thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker! There will be FULL SPOILERS for the movie!
Honorable Mention: I was right about the new lightsaber color!
I got something right for once! Way back when Disney bought Star Wars and the new sequel trilogy was first announced, I put together one of my usual Lists of Six about what I’d like to see in the new movies. I ended up getting most of what I wanted. But most excitingly of all, we got a female protagonist with a yellow lightsaber! Just as I predicted! I was very excited in that final scene of Rise where we saw Rey ignite her own, original lightsaber and it was yellow. Way to see the future, Sean from 2013!
6. I enjoyed the grand finale
The ending was the best part. The Rise of Skywalker is two halves. There’s the first half, where our characters race around the galaxy on a wild goose chase. And then there’s the second half, where everything and everyone comes together in an epic grand finale that seeks to be bigger and better than anything that’s come before. And I liked it. I couldn’t help but like it. The grand finale was just plain fun. Space battles, heroic moments, some surprises, good guys triumphing over evil, some cool visuals, some geeky Star Wars stuff. I’m not saying it’s great cinema or that everybody has to like it. But I did. And that ending made the movie for me. It was fun enough, it was cool enough and it was big enough that I came out of The Rise of Skywalker with a smile on my face and good things to say.
I liked Kylo Ren’s journey to the light and his haggard rush to help save the day, including that cool lightsaber trade with Rey. I liked Rey using her lightsaber to block Palpatine’s Force Lightning blast, and then used the two lightsabers to push it back on him. I liked all the Jedi voices coming to her aid. I liked the big reveal of all the hero ships. I liked Finn and Poe saving the day,
I didn’t care for the kiss between Rey and Ben, but more on that in a moment. I just liked the big grand finale of Star Wars and that’s all there is to it.
5. The rest of the movie was completely forgettable
Everything before the Grand Finale was pretty forgettable. Everything before Rey and Kylo’s battle on the Death Star, I mean. Did any of it matter? They’re searching for a McGuffin to try and find the Emperor’s never-before-heard-of planet and they end up just grabbing Kylo’s in the end. What was the point? Honestly, probably just to introduce new toy characters and droids. Another desert planet! Another dark, rainy city! Random characters! A return to the forest moon of Endor, but in a way that doesn’t look like the jungle we know and love? Whatever. A high speed chase with some flying Stormtroopers? No big deal. And then jeez, no sooner do they deal with the flying Stormtroopers then they’re sinking in weird sand? This movie never let up! Give them a moment to freakin’ breathe! And then they come across a scary underground worm? Who cares!
Such a weird movie. No depth. No stopping to smell the roses or actually experience a setting or a moment. Just rush through a bunch of random nonsense until we get to the good stuff, and then just overwhelm the audience with “good stuff” until the end. And, of course, your rating of said “good stuff” is up to you.
4. I’m glad we got more lead character interaction; I’m disappointed what they did with it
My biggest complaint with The Last Jedi was that it separated all of the new main characters. Rey, Finn and Poe are the best part of the sequel trilogy and they had some great introductions and interactions in The Force Awakens. Then The Last Jedi split them up for pretty much the whole movie! What a let down. So I was definitely pleased to see that corrected immediately for The Rise of Skywalker. The first half of the movie might be forgettable, but at least we had some fun with the main characters bantering and joking and spending time together. That was cool. I enjoyed those parts of the movie, for sure. And I felt these characters integrated well with classic Star Wars characters like Chewbacca and C-3PO.
But I’m a big Rey/Finn ‘shipper, so I’m disappointed that we didn’t see that happen (and that she kissed Ben Solo!). I’m disappointed that they brought up Finn wanting to tell Rey something, only to never actually resolve that tidbit. I’m disappointed that Rey really did go off on her own in the finale. With all the hints to Finn developing some kind of Force sensitivity, I’m disappointed that he didn’t use that to help Rey somehow in the end. Although I suppose Han and Leia’s adventures on the forest moon of Endor didn’t particularly tie into Luke’s battle on the Death Star…
3. The new characters sucked
Oh man, what an obvious cash grab of new characters! D-O the droid? Zorii Bliss? Babu Frik? Jannah? This movie just kept throwing new characters at us in the first half of the film and none of them amounted to much of anything! Why were so many new characters just thrown into the film like that? I mean, I can obviously guess. D-O was added because BB-8 has lost his freshness and Star Wars needed to add a cute new droid. Babu Frik was comedy relief, and I suppose he delivered. And Zorii Bliss and Jannah were there just to give Poe and Finn someone new to bounce off of, since Rey was busy and they couldn’t strictly have each other. Was this a case of the not-gays? Maybe.
None of these new characters impressed or amounted to much. People are loving Babu Frik, but is that really all it takes? Some tiny new cute thing that makes funny noises? And I feel so much more could have been done with Jannah. She and Finn could have teamed up for a bigger former Stormtrooper story-focused ending. Instead, they just team up to blow up a thing and that’s the only place their mysterious shared backstory goes. And for all the effort that went into designing Zorii Bliss and hiring Keri Russell, what did that character accomplish?
And the less said about adding Dominic Monaghan to Star Wars the better…
Speaking of new characters, I’ve decided to like Rose more just to spite the haters.
I didn’t think much of Rose in The Last Jedi, but to see her get reduced to barely more than a background character in The Rise of Skywalker is insulting. Obviously a lot of The Rise of Skywalker was about over-correcting what the fans didn’t like about The Last Jedi. But why do Rose dirty like that? Why not let her tag along in that opening chapter? Why not let her and Finn have an actual relationship if you’re not going to put Finn with Rey? Why not let her do anything other than stay behind and research Star Destroyers? Kelly Marie Tran seems awesome and Rose should have had more to do! And like I said, I am retroactively liking her Last Jedi role more and more!
2. Why did they skip a Kylo/Chewie reunion scene?
This is a minor nitpick, but one that’s going to stick in my craw for awhile. There’s a scene in The Rise of Skywalker where the First Order captures Chewbacca and holds him prisoner on their main ship. There are scenes of Kylo Ren being informed of such a thing. And there is a scene in Kylo’s quarters where he is keeping Chewbacca’s gear on a table. So surely at some point, Kylo Ren had a face-to-face encounter with Chewbacca, right? Why would they skip that?!
Kylo Ren is Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo. Surely Chewie was an uncle to that kid growing up! Surely Chewie was a huge part of Ben’s childhood! But we’ve never seen the two characters together. We’ve seen Han and Leia reacting to their son’s journey to the Dark Side, but what about Chewbacca? Why not give us a fun little scene where Chewbacca reunites with Kylo Ren and it’s sad and painful and stuff? I think it would have been fun.
1. Oh god, they gave Chewbacca a medal…
My least favorite part of The Rise of Skywalker was when Maz Kanata gave Chewbacca a medal. And not just any medal, but specifically the medal from the end of A New Hope. Long has the debate in the fandom raged as to why only Luke and Han got medals at the end of A New Hope, considering Chewbacca played just as much a role in saving the day. It’s a funny debate that never needed an onscreen answer. But The Rise of Skywalker was all about appeasing the fans. And so out of nowhere, for no stated reason, Maz just up and hands Chewie the medal he never got at the end of A New Hope. It was ridiculous.
I knew The Rise of Skywalker would be fan servicey. It’s what a lot of reviews said. And a lot of that fan service won me over. But too much of it was so blunt that it really annoyed me. Chewbacca getting a medal to tie off that lingering mistake. Luke Skywalker raising his X-Wing fighter out of the water after he didn’t do it in The Last Jedi. Luke’s ghost catching the lightsaber after throwing it away in The Last Jedi. Babu Frik being in Zorii’s cockpit with no explanation for how the two of them survived the destruction of their planet. Jannah getting a random, weird scene with Lando at the end. I’m sure there’s more I can’t remember.
Sometimes the fan service got really, really annoying. Chewbacca getting a medal should become a new phrase, like ‘jump the shark’, to describe when fan service goes too far in a movie.
Posted on December 25, 2019, in Lists of Six!, Movies, Star Wars and tagged Star Wars Episode 9, Star Wars Episode IX, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Rise of Skywalker. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.