My Honest Review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I would like to state, for the record, that I’ve always been unsure about the Star Wars Sequel films. I love the franchise to death, but I thought making new movies could end up backfiring. However, I buried by concerns and went to see the new movies anyway. I put up with the fact that The Force Awakens rehashed the original film; and I tried to accept what Rian Johnson did to Luke. Now here I am, having seen The Rise of Skywalker bring an apparent end to the Skywalker Saga. My ultimate verdict: meh. Here’s why.
The Folly of the Sequels
Going into this, The Rise of Skywalker had a lot of things working against it that the original films didn’t. Thanks to the Internet, fans could now be very vocal about what they liked or disliked, and Star Wars became no exception. As we saw with reactions to The Last Jedi, this could divide a franchise’s fanbase in two. As a result, Disney tried to reconcile both parties in the span of a single film and give everyone a satisfying ending. Truth be told, though, I think that making the perfect ending to the Skywalker story was impossible. We can’t please everyone, especially in regards to something as beloved as Star Wars.
Then there’s the effect of The Last Jedi. Despite what critics say, that movie was divisive among fans. Rian Johnson had good intentions, but him trying to subvert expectations split the fanbase in two. I didn’t like how Luke got handled, and I especially didn’t like how Holdo’s actions almost wiped out the Resistance. Needless to say, but The Last Jedi put things in a bind for The Rise of Skywalker.
Lastly, there’s the elephant in the room: the passing of Carrie Fisher. When I heard about Carrie Fisher’s death, I mourned for her like so many others. After that, my thoughts turned to the future of Star Wars. How could they finish the Trilogy without Leia, when The Rise of Skywalker was supposed to give her a prominent role? I think we all knew that this film would be the final chapter in Leia’s story, and the fact that Carrie didn’t live long enough to film it gave the movie a bittersweet tone. That said, I think they did the best with what they could.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Now that I’ve gone over all that, time to dive into the spoiler zone as I talk about five major plot threads that left the biggest impact on me. I wanted to do this without spoiling anything at first, but I realized that’s impossible for me.
Palps is Back!
This one’s so obvious I don’t even count it as a spoiler: Darth Sidious’ back. First off, the film does confirm that Palpatine did die in Return of the Jedi like we saw. However, what the film doesn’t confirm is how the Sith Lord came back from the dead. The closest we get to an answer is Palps quoting what he said at the Opera House in Revenge of the Sith about the Dark Side being a pathway to many abilities. So I’m just using the headcanon that he used the Dark Side and cloning to come back.
Fortunately for the Galaxy, the process brought him back more dead than alive; his body’s falling apart and kept alive by life support. However, while he’s as cunning and manipulative as ever, I think death damaged the Sith Lord’s mind. Whereas before he hid his true nature behind a facade, in TROS he drops all pretenses and openly proclaims himself a Sith Lord to the Galaxy. That would explain why his master plan sounds so convoluted, though:
- Lure Rey to Secret Base
- Transfer spirit into Rey’s Body
- Unleash massive armada of retro-looking Star Destroyers with mini-Death Star cannons to reconquer Galaxy
I’m going to have to devote another post to this, but my point is, I think they could have done a little better bringing Sidious back into the films. When you’re so evil that your actor considers you to be more evil than the Devil, you want to do this character justice