**WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST INCLUDES MAJOR SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THIS MOVIE YET STOP READING NOW. I TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE VERY OPENLY AND THIS COVERS PLOT POINTS THAT WILL BE RUINED FOR YOU IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM**
Forty-two years after Star Wars blasted its way onto the big screen, The Rise of Skywalker, the final entry in the Skywalker Saga, has arrived in cinemas. The movie opened in the UK at midnight, and as a big Star Wars fan I was there to see how the series ended.
But I didn’t just watch one Star Wars movie last night/this morning, I actually watched three. My local cinema played a three-picture Star Wars movie marathon, which included The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, so I got around seven hours of Jedi action.
I feel it’s important to tell you this, because as I type up this post I have all three films fresh in my mind. As such, my feelings on The Rise of Skywalker are based on viewing all of the films in this current trilogy, back-to-back.
Now with that in mind, I can honestly say that I believe The Rise of Skywalker is both a bad movie in its own right and a poor conclusion to the trilogy. I didn’t like what was on offer, I really can’t recommend it, and now my opinion of this trilogy is less than stellar too.
Brace yourselves, a rant is coming.
From the very beginning of The Rise of Skywalker I found it difficult to get on board what was being presented. I tried – believe me, I tried – but I just couldn’t agree with the decisions that were being made.
I am going to list my biggest issues with the film, but believe me when I say there are many more.
Problem number 1: The return of seemingly long-dead Star Wars baddie, Emperor Palpatine.
It’s no secret that Palpatine is back for this concluding entry – he features heavily in the trailers – so I was open to his comeback and I was looking forward to an intriguing explanation for his resurrection. But I never got one.
Palpatine is back – make of it what you will. That is pretty much how his return is presented.
Is he a clone? Did he survive the events of Return of the Jedi? It’s never entirely clear. Either way is a poor way of bringing him back and within five minutes of Palpatine appearing on screen, I knew it was a mistake.
Why? Because Palpatine’s return is not earned. This isn’t a character who has been waiting in the wings, manipulating events since The Force Awakens (as the story would have you believe); this is a character who has been shoehorned into the story because the movie needed a bad guy.
It needed a bad guy because the two big bads of the trilogy – Kylo Ren and Snoke – are not able to fulfil the villain quota. Ren is on some confusing journey (more on that in a moment) and Snoke was prematurely bumped off in The Last Jedi.
Rather than introduce another new villain, the decision was made to bring back Palpatine and make it seem like this was the plan all along. Well, I’m not buying it.
Palpatine is here because this trilogy ran out of ideas and hit a brick wall. Watching all three films together has convinced me of this.
Problem number 2: Rey’s parents.
Is Rey a Kenobi? Is she a Skywalker? No, she’s a Palpatine. Rey is the granddaughter of Palpatine.
The Force Awakens hinted that Rey’s parents were important. The Last Jedi told us that they weren’t. The Rise of Skywalker now tells us that Rey’s parents are both important and unimportant.
I admit, I didn’t see the Palpatine connection coming, but that’s because I don’t understand why this idea would even be entertained?! It just seems so bizarre.
So, Palpatine had a daughter (which he never mentioned) and then she had a daughter (which he also never mentioned) and this is only coming up now? There’s been no set up for this, so it just feels like it’s been dropped into the story out of nowhere.
And even if this does play out like a good idea (which it doesn’t) what is the deal between Rey and Palpatine? According to the story, Palpatine wants Rey to kill him so that his essence can move into her body… or something?
Honestly, the Rey/Palpatine connection is just awful. Truly awful.
But the problems continue.
Problem number 3: Kylo Ren.
Back in The Force Awakens I liked Ren and thought he had potential. But watching his journey through The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker makes me realise I don’t care for him.
He’s angry, I get that. He’s been manipulated by Snoke and Palpatine, I get that too. But is that really all there is to this character?
His journey seems so confusing and all over the place. As a result, in this final entry I just don’t care what happens to him at all.
Problem 4: C-3PO’s story.
Anthony Daniels is great in The Rise of Skywalker and he gives arguably his best performance as C-3PO. Yet despite this, Threepio is lumbered with a pointless story in which he has his memory wiped… only to have his memory restored.
What was the point?
The film presents a (sort of) sad ending for Threepio, only for it not to be an ending at all. And while I’m glad this wasn’t the conclusion to his story, it all seemed like a waste of time.
Outside of these issues above, there are various parts of this movie that bugged me. Rose was sidelined in favour of introducing new characters; Hux was given a storyline that did not fit his character; the Knights of Ren were pointless; and Lando was wasted.
Every time Billy Dee Williams was on screen as Lando, the picture lit up – he was that good in this movie. So why the heck was he given so little to do?
If I had to list all of the best things about this movie, Billy Dee Williams would be at the top. Yet he was given hardly any screen time – madness!
OK, so I feel like I’ve ranted a fair bit. Did the film have any redeeming features (other than Billy Dee Williams)?
I liked the surprise cameo from Harrison Ford. I liked hearing all of the voices of the old Jedi. Oh, and the battle between Rey and Palpatine was good.
I also believe that director J.J. Abrams did the best he could to conclude Leia’s storyline, in light of the sad passing of Carrie Fisher back in 2016. The early scenes of Leia work really well and give the character a good presence in the film.
And yeah, that’s about it.
Watching all three movies together last night/this morning made me realise (and it pains me to say this) that this recent trilogy just doesn’t work. There are parts of it that I really like, but there are parts of it that I don’t.
Ultimately it just doesn’t connect. I think The Force Awakens is a strong opener, but The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker are too problematic.
So, who is to blame?
In my opinion, both J.J. Abrams and The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson.
J.J. Abrams directed The Force Awakens and introduced a bunch of mysteries that he had not completely worked out. This would have been fine if he was directing all three pictures but he didn’t.
When Rian Johnson took over for The Last Jedi, he jettisoned Abrams’ mysteries, writing most off as being unimportant. Again, this would have been fine if he had directed the final movie, but he didn’t – that task went back to Abrams.
For The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams had to figure out what to do with the mysteries he set up (which he didn’t have answers to), while at the same time try to undo what Johnson had put in motion. I don’t think he knew what to do about either, and the result was the huge jumble of a movie, with cut and paste ideas to cover the gaps.
Heck, this movie even had a scene involving quicksand in it – a generic plot device from an ’80s movie. If that doesn’t tell you how bad the script is, nothing will!
*Takes a deep breath*
Is The Rise of Skywalker the worst Star Wars movie? Well, despite everything I’ve said above, no it’s not!
I’ve been far more harsh on this movie than I have been on any other Star Wars film and yet this is still better than The Last Jedi and Attack of the Clones. But it’s still not a good movie.
But what do you think? Am I missing something here? Did you feel the same or the total opposite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
I’m not trying to create a huge amount of negativity about Lucasfilm/Disney etc. I do think there is some good stuff in the Star Wars universe – some really good stuff – but I think this just hasn’t worked.