Well, as Lloyd Christmas once said, “I HATE GOODBYES!” Yet, it’s time to do so with this trilogy. The guys and I had our chance to see the film so here is the review of the FINAL (unless it makes over a billion dollars; it’s Disney, who are we F******* kidding) Skywalker Saga film.
There’s More of Us: I’m not a big fan of this film, but this is a moment that will go down in Star Wars history for me. In the face of hopelessness, as Poe is ready to give up because there are just “too many of them,” to have Lando come on and remind him that “there are more of us,” just broke my f**** heart. It’s magic moments like that that we go to the movies.
Third Act: Ben coming to help Rey, fighting the Knights of Ren, the fleet attack, Rey using Leia’s lightsaber, and fearing for everyone’s f****** life was great. If you’re movie isn’t good, but you can still pull off a decent third act, you might have some redemption. I’m glad this film was able to at least bring the action home for the finale.
Fight Sequence: Rey vs. Kylo on the remains of the Death Star was GOOD. I was into it. I was having a great time with that scene. I love that it comes after learning Rey is the granddaughter of Palpatine; it adds a new layer of awe to see these two battle knowing that they are the grandchildren of the two that started this story. Truly poetic.
I also love that it brings home the (corny but true) message that love ultimately always wins; the love Kylo had for Rey, the love that Leia had for her son, and the love Rey had for Ben. It is the very thing that redeems and saves us all. I was beyond content with how that scene was handled and that it would be the sending off point for Carrie Fisher.
May the Finn Be With You: Finn is force sensitive. Spin-off. Do it. Jedi Finn. Now. Please.
This is a BUMPY Takeoff: Yikes, alright. I went into this knowing the Rotten Tomatoes score. For that reason I was going in with all my best intentions to love this movie. Unfortunately, when it comes to the first act, this thing is MESSY. We’re trying to see what’s up with Kylo, catching up with Finn and Poe, seeing Rey train and not get too distracted or anxious by the inserted Leia clips, and it’s a lot. More than anything you could feel it in the pacing of the scenes where we find ourselves jumping from subplot to subplot and thing we need to find to thing we need to find.
Poe Dameron is Kind of an A******: I like this character. I really do. But I have to say he spends a good chunk of the movie just being, as Rey put it, “difficult.” He treats C3PO like total garbage; I get it, he’s annoying, but this guy is nothing but a jerk to the thing. He blows up on Rey, and is just constantly grumpy. Yes, by the end of the film he takes up his leadership role with the passing of Leia, but that chip on his shoulder we met in The Last Jedi seemed to be the only thing that survived Rian Johnson’ story.
What are We Going to do With Finn?: Damn it. I fell in love with this character in The Force Awakens. I loved that he was a rogue stormtrooper just looking to save his skin. He was charming, he was adventurous, and his excitement and joy on screen reflected that of the audience revisiting this galaxy far far away. Yet, with each film, it felt more and more like the writers had zero idea what to do with him. Once it was clear that the love interest for Rey was Kylo it became just blanks for Finn. Yes, I’m looking at Canto Bight.
Palpatine…What?: I’m a bit confused as to why this character didn’t let himself be seen before? Perhaps in order to manipulate Ben he couldn’t do it as the Emperor knowing that he likely wouldn’t have fallen for it?
Did Palpatine have these steroid ships the whole time? It’s only been like three years in these movies… You could have OPENED with this fleet since The Force Awakens… These things would have made for a MUCH stronger opening than the use of a third F****** Death Star! Open with these canons and open with Palpatine (since Kylo is already converted to the dark side so you don’t need to hide anymore?)!
You Missed an Opportunity: I won’t take points away for this as it really was just my personal hope, but they really missed a solid opportunity for the Finn and Poe love story. There last minute love interests (Jannah and Zorii) were a messy inclusion (more below) and the two men were already acting like a couple in this thing.
At the very least, Leave Finn with Rose. You already invested in that, let him stay there in order to avoid unnecessary characters to an already very stuffed film.
You Missed That Too: I won’t take away points for this one either, but it bugged me just a LITTLE, that in that final shot where we have Rey looking out to the Skywalker ghosts we didn’t get to see EVERY Star Wars character bonded to the force with them.
I would have liked to see the two of them alone there for a moment, sure, but then to have shown Anakin, Yoda, Mace Windu, Ben, Obi-Wan, Padme, Han, and all those characters that fell in the three trilogies, nine films, in over forty years of story-telling would have been SUCH a moment.
We Get it; You Hated TLJ: This movie spends a good chunk of it’s time trying to erase the work of Rian Johnson instead of just being it’s own movie. There isn’t much to say other than that.
Comparing the audience and critic scores to this movie with The Last Jedi just really sums up what this trilogy ultimately became; cash-grabbing fan service. It wanted to erase what Johnson did and mimic the iconic points of their older siblings from the original trilogy. Alas, I digress. It’s for kids. I hope boys and girls get to see this movie and see themselves in the character and have a great time. At the end of the day they’re who this is for!
Jannah and Zorii: I had a feeling these characters would be pointless and they absolutely were. Well, they did have one purpose for showing up; making sure we allude enough to Poe and Finn getting a little love after this whole thing is said and done.
Am I a #FinnPoe cult member? YES. I’m aware that will inspire grunts, but there is no doubting that the two roles of these women felt forced and horribly written for convenience. Jannah, oh you’re a beautiful woman and have the same exact background story as Finn making you a perfect match for our lead who has swapped love interests in this franchise like musical chairs? OKAY!
Zorri, you’re a female Boba Fett (?) who is here to provide some quick last minute backstory for Poe (also poorly written because you just alluded to his future role in Dune), get pissed and want to kill him for abandoning you, then when he’s going to take off again (in fifteen minutes) you’re willing to sacrifice your only ticket to freedom, happiness, independence, and joy simply because he showed you 20% of human decency so the audience knows Poe will get some loving at the end? HA, okay, who the F*** wrote you and how much did they get paid?
I will be writing a separate article about this trilogy and it’s love stories, but these two characters and how forced they felt was a real drag to the movie.
Then…Why Skywalker AT ALL?!: Okay let’s talk the Force for a second. So Anakin was “the chosen one” to bring balance. He obviously BOTCHED that job in the prequel trilogy. He eventually would turn on Palpatine for the love of his son to complete that prophecy. NOW, we are told that the Sith survived being thrown down the hole AND the explosion of the Death Star. Why? Because it’s the finale and we need him. Sure.
Kylo turns to the dark side and Rey is revealed to be a Palpatine herself. This solidifies that this story has forever been the conflict of the Skywalker and Palpatine lines. However, the kick is, that it is fated that the emperor’s granddaughter would be the one to ultimately slay the Sith and NOT a Skywalker!
Um, ok, then why did the Skywalkers ever matter?! Vader didn’t really destroy the threat. Palpatine survived and from a distance manipulated Ben Solo, Vader’s grandson, in order to destroy the happiness of every character from the original trilogy!
Recap? SURE! He murdered his father who had been estranged from the love of his life from overwhelming sadness, his mother gave her last living breath to bring him back to good, Luke quit EXISTENCE because of the shame he felt of failing his nephew and family, and they all ultimately became tragic figures doomed by the unbeknownst failure of the “chosen one!”
On the other side of the coin, Rey, on her own in exile, sought to be a good person with good intentions. She showed us this in The Force Awakens when she refused to give up the droid for what was clearly a much needed source of food. No Skywalker built her character up in goodness. No Skywalker was the reason she stepped away from the Dark Side. She simply was a good Palpatine by nature and seemed to be the response of the Force to thwart the evil of her bloodline in order to establish balance. Skywalker help not included!
I don’t understand what greater purpose the Skywalker line, after nine films, actually served other than becoming the adopted name for the true “savior.” Was their destiny truly just to suffer and prepare the granddaughter of the Sith?
John Williams, Are You Here?!: The music from the original trilogy- religion. The music from the prequels- WILLIAMS GAVE THOSE THINGS LIFE. Yet, I found myself throughout this movie, and its two predecessors, finding nothing original in the score that sang to me. A part of Star Wars that has made it so special has been the music that has given scenes a soul. I was very disappointed to find nothing very inspiring here.
Spice Trader: During Poe’s (unnecessary) meeting with Zorii, she reveals that once upon a time our star pilot used to be a “spice trader.” As an audience, we don’t really know what this spice is (though we can assume it’s likely of the galactic cocaine brand). However, for all my nerds out there, we might be able to safely take away that this is a tip of the hat to Oscar Isaac’s new role as the Duke Leto Atreides in the upcoming film adaption of the best-selling sci-fi book EVER, Dune.
For those who are not familiar I highly recommend this book. To a modern eye it seems like your standard science fiction tale, but I ask you to keep in mind it was written in 1965 and was likely a HUGE influence that would eventually birth the Star Wars saga you know and love.
SO, overall The Rise of Skywalker succeeds at being a good time at the movies! There’s enough fun in it to enjoy. However, landing the trilogy and the nine films? EH.
I give this a solid 2.5 out of 5 potatoes.