Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (aka Episode IX)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Warwick Davis, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle
Seen on: 19.12.2019

Plot:
Rey (Daisy Ridley) finishes her training as a Jedi just in time as the war of the First Order against the galaxy reaches its full height. Together with the resistance, especially Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac), it’s time to prepare for the last and biggest battle to decide the fate of the galaxy. It turns out to be a battle filled with unsuspected allies and opponents.

I’m not much of a Star Wars person, but I enjoyed this new wave of the franchise so far. Unfortunately, The Rise of Skywalker was a disappointing mess.

The film poster showing an assortment of characters from the film.

[SPOILERS]

Think of Star Wars what you will, but so far, it has been an epic story that grapples with very fundamental issues. It doesn’t always do that in a thoughtful way and the grappling is sometimes limited to the surface, but so far we got a saga of the fight of good versus evil. The Rise of Skywalker breaks with that. It’s a narrative catastrophe that proceeds from one plot point to the next, not because it makes sense that the story should happen in that way, but because something has to happen while they cram as many references into the film as they possibly can.

It’s just lazy writing – a classic MacGuffin chase that plows through established character development to completely obliterate was has come in the films before. The attempts at humor are cringey at best, the way lines are set-up to be immediately knocked down in the next scene is clumsy and did I mention how they dismantle all the characters? Everything falls apart here if you look at it longer than two seconds. Just as an example: in the last film, Rey’s entire journey was that she doesn’t have some kind of family destiny, her parents were nobody special. But that doesn’t mean that she isn’t special or can’t do great things. In this film, what we get is “oh and by the way, you’re a Palpatine!”

Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver in the film.

And she isn’t the only character the film treats badly. Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) all but disappears. Poe gets an ex (Keri Russell) who is just there to prove that he really is into women, so go away with the obvious chemistry between him and Finn (bad news, dear film, there is such a thing as being bi) [and hey, we get to see a 2 second kiss between two women in the film! CAN YOU SAY GAY RIGHTS!]. Finn has something important to say to Rey, but never actually gets to say it, because ultimately, nobody cares. Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) – so far the most ideologically fascist of the space fascists – works for the resistance suddenly. Leia (Carrie Fisher in archive footage/CGI) just up and dies which immediately saves Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Speaking of – the film would have been made a million times better if it hadn’t been so obsessed with redeeming Kylo Ren. Just let that fascist mass murderer be evil. Why do we need to get a tearful, romantic redemption for that asshole?

But even if all of that doesn’t bother you, the fact that the film is confusing and has considerable lengths probably will. Maybe it’s different if you’re a huge fan deep into the lore of that universe, but for somebody like me who has seen most of the films, but not all (never saw ep II and III), only saw them once and never went beyond that, I spent much more time in the film being bored than I would have ever expected from a space action flick.

Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega in the film.

Summarizing: a let-down of an ending.

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