Rise of the Skywalker Review

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver

Directed by: JJ Abrams

Written by: Chris Terrio

Released : 12/20/19

42 years ago the Original Star Wars movie wowed audiences across the globe with a simple yet effective adventure of good vs evil and started a phenomenon that we are still talking about today. It was the beginning of one of the greatest trilogies in movie history. Both in quality and sheer popularity. It became a household name even for those that have not seen the movie they at least knew what it was and what it represents. Since the conclusion of that trilogy we had George Lucas return to the Skywalker saga in the prequels with varied results, but it was still through and through Star Wars.

Since then we had several animated series that filled the gaps between the episodes, first two Clone Wars series (first created by Geendy Tarktoski) and Rebels both created by Dave Filoni, one of the creators on current Mandalorian and Star Wars: Resistance.

And then we have this trilogy. Force awakens started it with a great sense of wonder, familiarity and promise of things to come. New band of rag tag heroes ready to fight the ascendance of the remanants of the Empire. And for all of it’s similarities to New Hope, it was a Star Wars movie and it had a spirit of Star Wars firmly entrenched in what it needed to do. But… people complained that it was too familiar and too close to the original trilogy to their liking.

Enter Rian Johnson. Last Jedi was a course correction from Force Awakens as he was given reigns to do something different. To experiment for the most part and to put his own stamp on the Star Wars mythos. Most of it worked, but people complained again stating that it was “not star wars and they ruined Luke’s legacy”. I personally enjoyed arcs in Last Jedi and it’s too bad we never got to see where they lead.

So people complained again, and JJ abrams comes back after several other directors and writers have left the project. Whole movie plays like a course correction for the previous one in one part and fetch quest for the other part of it, sprinkled with fan service around, bringing back familiar foes that was shoe horned in this last installment and really does stick out like a sore thumb. Now to JJ’s defense he had a herculean task of having to complete the existing trilogy as well the saga as a whole.

Here’s where the things fall apart though, if that was the intention from the beginning of this new trilogy, there has to be cohesion. There has to be a beginning middle and end, with Rise being an ending chapter. But you do that at the planning stages of trilogy not after 2nd movie has been released.

For some the fact that all of the plot points of Last Jedi are gone, is going to come like a god send. But that’s 2 hours of wasted storytelling that now you have to spend ret-conning or apologizing for. And this movie spends a big portion of it between that and mindless fetch quests full of busy work to rush to a conclusion that frankly makes no sense. Characters are barely given anything to do other than go from place A to get a thing, then go to place B to get a thing to go to place C to get a thing so they can prepare for the final showdown.

Movie is peppered with fan service as the familiar characters all come back but gone is the emotion of the original trilogy prequels and the last 2 movies. Movie is too fast and furious for it’s own good, playing as a music video directed by Michael Bay for the duration of it. Most of the characters that fans didn’t like are either dispatched or forgotten about, and if one person said they wanted a backstory on certain character it was there, but ultimately it amounts to just empty space avoid of any emotion of gravitas. It just kind of happens. Gone are scenes like: “Force will be with you always- from New hope, scenes like “I love you. I know”- From Empire, or “I am Jedi, like my father before me. Or Luke…help me take this mask off. Those small scenes out of context mean nothing but within the movie within context of the trilogy as a whole are more plot this movie ever had.

Fault of is it’s moving in a break neck speed and you don’t really get to feel for any of the characters, nothing either matters of the danger is fabricated and you know nothing can happen to them, unless you are a throw away character. And when you finally think something may actually endanger them, movie pulls the rug underneath you and it’s frustrating. You cannot create a plot around appeasing of the fans.

Adam Driver is certainly the best part of this movie as his was always the most interesting arc in this entire trilogy, but even he could do only so much with the script he was given.

Some people will say well we got what we wanted in certain scenes and that’s awesome. And yes, returning to familiar locales and seeing familiar characters is great, seeing some closure for some characters on screen is great. But it’s not what makes a good movie. But biggest gripe I have about the movie is how it disrespects the original trilogy and especially Anakin’s sacrifice during it. That I can never forgive this movie for.

It’s a fun escapism movie, full of action and explosions and spaceships and the like, but the spirit of Star Wars? That is completely drained away here as it became evident that it was written to mostly appease a biggest number of fans it could, without writing a cohesive narrative that really amounts to anything.

This movie gets 2 out of 5 stars.