Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams
WARNING: Full SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker in this review.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker has finally arrived and with it means that this latest Star Wars trilogy has come to an end. We finally know how Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) stories end.
So, as I clearly stated above, this is a full spoilers review of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker because I have some thoughts about the movie that I couldn’t really discuss in the spoiler-free review of the movie.
The first thing I’ll do is start from the beginning and explain my biggest issues with the movie. So, Emperor Palpatine’s back, and although it gave me chills to see him return, it also offered up some huge problems as far as this Star Wars trilogy is concerned.
I should start off by saying that Palpatine’s opening scene is incredible. The film starts off with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) slicing through some people and you find out that he’s looking for Palpatine after the Emperor sent out a message claiming that he’s going to take revenge upon the Rebellion.
Palpatine’s back, and he’s pissed
Kylo eventually comes face-to-face with a battered and corpse-like Palpatine who now resides on a planet called Exegol and he’s built a kind of shine to himself as well as a lab.
Palpatine is attached to a contraption which seems to be keeping him alive and he really does look a zombie in this scene. It’s a genuinely brilliant scene. It’s shot incredibly well and feels like something taken out of a horror movie.
It was a good place to start, but then I started to think about it, and it’s actually really problematic that he’s in this movie at all. Palpatine still being alive basically means that the original trilogy heroes’ journey in the first film was all for nothing and so was Vader’s sacrifice.
The fact that Palpatine is still in the picture does also make sense because I suppose he’s the only being in the galaxy powerful and cunning enough to be the ones pulling the strings in the background.
So, do you see my problem here? I’m being pulled in two directions at the very beginning of the movie. One part of me, the die-hard Star Wars fan part of me, is going ‘Yes! I’m so happy to see Palpatine back and see Kylo Ren go up against him.
The other part of me, the more logical part, is going, but this completely undercuts all the progress made in the previous films. Could they not really think beyond Palpatine.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker sees the band back together
You also find out that Supreme Leader Snoke was just a clone and a puppet of Palpatine’s, which is kind of upsetting since he was a really cool character in his own right, and I would have liked to have seen his backstory given a little bit more care.
Anyway, that all takes place within the first five minutes of the movie. The rest of it, you see the trio of Rey, Finn and Po back together again, and there’s real joy in seeing them all go on an adventure together.
They were split up too much for my liking in the previous films, and I love the fact that they get to actually fight and explore the galaxy together.
The film then goes from action scene to action scene without giving you any time to stop and think about what’s going on, and that’s totally deliberate because in all honesty, the plot here’s a bit all over the place.
It turns out that Palpatine has been scheming his return all these years and somehow developed a huge following in the outer rim of the galaxy. But that’s not all, he’s somehow managed to get the biggest fleet of Empire Star Destroyers built on Exegol. Don’t ask me how, but he did it.
Kylo Ren is such an interesting Star Wars character
Another problem with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is that it completely ignores all of the good work Rian Johnson did in The Last Jedi.
Literally, the very beginning of the film basically wipes the slate clean thanks to the opening crawl which could just as well read: “You know all that stuff that happened in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker? Yeah, well forget all that. Emperor Palpatine’s back and he wants revenge.”
That’s literally all you need to know about this film’s plot, and that makes me so sad because there was so much good stuff in The Last Jedi, so many great ideas that could have been expanded upon, but Abrams chose to ignore them completely instead.
One example of this is that they reveal Rey is actually Palpatine’s granddaughter. OK, so I called this years ago, before The Last Jedi came out, and at the time I thought it was a dumb thing to do because it would go against everything that happened in Johnson’s Star Wars film.
The key message of that movie was that anybody could be a powerful Jedi. The Force was in anyone and everyone and it didn’t matter who you were related to. The Rise Of Skywalker says: “Nah, that was all rubbish. You have to be either related to a Skywalker or a Palpatine to be powerful in the Force.”
The Rise Of Skywalker is a theme-park ride of a movie
I’m going to admit that this aspect of the movie really annoyed me because I thought The Last Jedi’s message was so powerful and so important as far as the future of the Star Wars franchise is concerned.
This film, Abrams’ film, is basically a fan-service heavy retcon of The Last Jedi, and I should hate it for that, but you know what, I don’t. I actually really loved Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.
What’s wrong with me then? Why did I like it so much? Why was I cheering, crying, laughing, fist-pumping the air when I was watching it. It’s because this film is akin to a Star Wars theme park ride, and I love theme park rides and I love Star Wars.
It’s not a film that’s designed to make you think. It’s not a film that’s about bigger themes and ideas than just, ‘Oh, look. Palpatine’s back. Oh, look, red Stormtroopers. Cool, Leia’s lightsaber.’
Honestly, I’m OK with that as far as the final instalment in this recent Star Wars trilogy is concerned. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the entrée (the starter). The Last Jedi was the meaty main course, and The Rise Of Skywalker is the light and sugary dessert.
I honestly think that’s the best way to describe this trilogy, and I’ve said it time and time again that The Last Jedi will be seen in time to be the best Star Wars film ever made and The Rise Of Skywalker merely reinforced that for me.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker completely ignores The Last Jedi
I mentioned in the spoiler-free review how excellent the likes of Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisey Ridley, Adam Driver and Anthony Daniels are in this movie, and they really are good.
I also believe that this film will entrench the fact that Kylo Ren is the most interesting Star Wars character ever created and his arc in this movie is pretty dark cool.
However, it does resemble the exact same arc as Anakin Skywalker, but I’ll forgive them for that because Driver’s performance is just so captivating.
I could go on and on about this Star Wars film, but the bottom line is that this is a movie made by Star Wars fans for Star Wars fans, and you can’t knock it for that.
Sure, you can say that it gets things wrong and tries to emulate the movies of the past too much and that it has not a single care in the world about Johnson’s The Last Jedi, but be serious now, what else were you expecting with this film?
Given the vitriol posted online about The Last Jedi, it really shouldn’t be a surprise to discover that Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy decided to take this route with the movie.
I still loved Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
It’s a reaction to the fan reaction to The Last Jedi (that’s a terrible sentence, but true).
Despite all of The Rise Of Skywalker’s problems, despite the fact that the movie is a beautiful hot mess of a film, I still had great fun with it, and I think most people who’ve been watching these pictures since they were young will do too.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is in cinemas UK wide now.
Have you seen the movie? If so, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.
The IMAX release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
Tickets are available now at http://po.st/RiseofSkywalkerIMAX.
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