Let me start this off by pointing reminding those who don't know that I've held a very positive view of (most of) the recent Star Wars movies. The Last Jedi was, in fact, the best Star Wars installment to date as far as I'm concerned and I will die on that hill if need be. I loved Rey and Kylo Ren and Rose and Finn and the portrayal of Leia in The Last Jedi, loved the pacing, the emotion, the score, the creatures, the narrative twists and turns, the philosophy conveyed, the humor, the epic send-off that Luke got, and so much more about that movie whether the internet appreciates it or not! So when I went to see The Rise of Skywalker today, I was legitimately excited and approaching it with an open mind as to how this saga might conclude. I knew this one reverted to the direction of J.J. Abrams and that that would be different from what Rian Johnson had brought to the table, but also knew that I really enjoyed The Force Awakens for its own merits as well and felt quite intrigued by the trailers for The Rise of Skywalker. Then I saw the movie.
I can officially confirm that what I saw today was THE worst Star Wars movie out of the 11 live-action entries I've seen so far. It's worse than Solo, The Phantom Menace, and Attack of the Clones, and a jarring insult to everything that has made the current crop of Star Wars films great up to now. Allow me to explain why I feel this way by guiding you through the movie in a nutshell.
WARNING: I'm going to spoil the hell out of this movie below because nobody deserves to go into this film unprepared for just how awful it is like I did.
The best part of The Rise of Skywalker came right away: the full 32 minutes of trailers before the opening text scrawl. The text scrawl opens with a line like "The dead return!", and then it goes on explaining a bunch of highly arbitrary developments in about that same quality for a few paragraphs, none of which makes any sense and is frankly an insult to the viewer's intelligence. Worst text scrawl in the franchise, by which I mean that I could personally have done better. So that's how it starts.
From there, the film moves at a lightning pace from brief action scene to brief action scene with nary any explanation for about 25 minutes, then it abruptly terminates. And by this I mean that you're simply thrown into a scene without explanation or context. Like B-movie quality. Before the end of this 25 minute period, I was already seriously considering walking out of the theater, but narrowly resisted the temptation. Anyway, after that point, the film finally launches into what passes for a narrative, the bottom line of which is that Palpatine has been brought back, as we know, but not as a ghost like a reasonable person might have suspected. Instead, he's been brought back as a clone, which makes no sense whatsoever considering that clones aren't the same people. Clones don't actually have the same memories and personalities as the original subject just because they have the same basic DNA. This film does not understand that.
So anyway, after Rose is quickly written out of the main adventure because #StarWarsFans hated her, our remaining all-male-plus-Rey team flies off to...you know what I forget what the hell their mission even was, it's that contrived and forgettable. Anyway, this leads to a bunch more B-quality abrupt action scene drops that go on for about half the remainder of the movie. And also, C-3PO gets brain surgery done while conscious like in Spock's Brain almost because apparently he's got a secret message about Palpatine's Sith planet no one knows the location of in his memory banks in the Sith language that his programming inexplicably forbids him from translating because it's Sith. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren is slaughtering a bunch of people for no reason because he's angry about nothing.
THEN! Kylo and Rey contact each other again like in The Last Jedi, except with maybe 2% the writing quality. So anyway, through these contacts, Kylo, for no reason and without prompting, explains Rey's origins while they fight a lightsaber battle by spirit. Rey is actually Palpatine's granddaughter somehow it turns out, which is why she seems to have all this power and special connection to the Dark Side. Will she fight it? (Duh.) And she's also, the film goes on to reveal, apparently furthermore a Skywalker too somehow and also related to Kylo Ren apparently, whom she winds up falling in romantic love with (as in they lip-lock) despite the fact that they are apparently biologically related. (I might have gotten some of that wrong just there because it was revealed in very confusing ways that were so convoluted I couldn't fully follow them, but that's the general idea as best I could grasp it.)
I still don't know who Palpatine's partner was or who his kids (i.e. Rey's parents) were. That was revealed technically, but I couldn't follow it because it was so subtle and vague. I'm sure a true fan who seriously micro-analyzes these movies and also follows everything about the franchise outside of the films too could get it. Someone with that level of Star Wars devotion could probaby figure it out.
Anyway, then comes the Batman v. Superman-inspired scene. (I was told that one of the writers also helped write Batman v. Superman and that makes a lot of sense to me in connection to this scene I'm about to summarize.) Rey and Kylo fight IRL and their qualm with each other is brought to an end by a "Martha" moment wherein it's revealed that they're both related to Leia apparently too. Also, Leia dies during this scene by trying to contact Kylo through telepathy. She doesn't actually say anything, but it's implied that they made contact in some way and then she abruptly dies because apparently that was too much strain on her and after all Padme died because she "lost the will to live", so why not? She's quickly covered and memorialized and the film moves on in the course of about 30 seconds. So that was her big send-off. Not exactly as memorable as Luke's. Luke does appear again, speaking of which, and mercifully as a spirit and not a zombie clone. At least J.J. Abrams had that much sense. One apparently can't take it for granted.
THEN! The ultimate battle! They make it to the Sith homeworld that I forget the name of!
Palpatine is confronted and some sorry excuse for a play on the conclusion in Return of the Jedi ensues. Except that while it's apparently converting to the Dark Side to kill Palpatine, killing him winds up being the solution anyway and also automatically kills all the other Sith creatures on the planet by lightning as a side effect. This is when Rey and Kylo fall in love and lock lips before he's killed off despite being apparently biologically related. (The audience audibly gasped at this scene.) So they day is saved when an entire people are killed off, YaY, genocide heroism.
The film then moves to a celebration scene before Rey goes back to a hut I think that is supposed to be Luke's on Tatooine and buries her two lightsabers (did I mention she gets two?) and, asked about her family name, she proclaims "I...am a Skywalker" (though I still don't know exactly how she is one), whereupon a ghostly visage of Luke and Leia appears in the distance and Rey walks off into the sunset, the end, the credits roll, like anyone should want credit for this monstrosity.
Also, the camera angles are frequently god-awful, as in like titled sideways "for effect" that makes no sense at all. Also also, there is humor in this movie too, but it lands only about a third of the time or so. A lot less often than that in The Last Jedi caused an audience reaction.
There. I have ranted. I feel like they should just start this movie over. Like Disney and Lucasfilm should just declare The Rise of Skywalker non-canonical and remake episode 9 from the ground up over the next several years, changing everything. Nothing in this movie should be allowed to become Star Wars canon. I give it a 0.5 stars out of 5, as in I'd rather they just have stopped making Star Wars films after The Last Jedi and left us hanging forever than conclude in this way.
Here are the 11 Star Wars movies I've seen, ranked in order of my personal preference:
1) The Last Jedi
2) Revenge of the Sith
3) The Empire Strikes Back
4) The Force Awakens
5) A New Hope
6) Return of the Jedi
7) Rogue One
9) The Phantom Menace
10) Attack of the Clones
11) The Rise of Skywalker
(Yeah, I know, you may be noticing my preference for some of the darker entries. That may be just me. People remark about that sometimes. Whatevs.)
Well anyhow, maybe there is some ironic value to this movie though, as I think it will anger everyone from hardcore Star Wars fans to family-oriented conservative activists to feminists to just plain lovers of good movies and, in that way, begin to end the protracted culture war that this generation of Star Wars entries has sparked by establishing at least one area of consensus. It's like the anti-Frozen: it's got something to irk everyone. It's all but completely soulless and feels like they invested the absolute minimum of intellectual and emotional effort into it that they possibly could.
Sorry this post wasn't very well-written tonight. This was pretty stream-of-consciousness.Last edited by Jaicee - on 22 December 2019