I used to be a huge Star Wars fan…right up until Disney bought out Lucas and thrashed the old EU. After having invested years of my life keeping up with it, that was the straw that broke the bantha’s back.
The point being…I LOVED Star Wars then.
Now? I still do, but it’s just a former shadow of what it was once. With Rise of the Skywalker, I had hopes that it would rekindle that flame.
What is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (RoS) is the ninth film in the Star Wars saga. Incidentally, it’s also meant as an end to the whole Skywalker saga.
It stars Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). J.J. Abrams returns to direct, taking back the director’s chair from Rian Johnson.
It’s also supported by a cast that should be familiar to any fan of the saga, such as Anthony Daniels (C3P0), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine).
Seems like everybody made it back for this one.
Plotwise, RoS picks up one year after the events of The Last Jedi.
The Resistance is still reeling from the defeat they suffered and the First Order (led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren) is tightening their control over the galaxy.
Rey is being trained in the Jedi ways by Leia, while Finn and Poe are off in search of potential allies and help.
The main thing you should know about the plot of RoS is that it doesn’t make sense. There are a TON of plot inconsistencies and contradictions, despite the attempt to tie everything that’s been established in The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens into RoS.
The biggest issue stems from the return of Darth Sidious. When last we saw him, Vader had tossed him down the Death Star II’s reactor corridor, where he subsequently died.
So how did he return?
Return of the Emperor.
Nobody knows because the film doesn’t even try to explain it.
Palpatine remarks on it offhandedly that he died and was brought back through (what I assume) was Darth Plagueis’ dark Sith magic.
Yes, I know the EU will rapidly fill up this hole with a TON of backstory but if you’re just basing what you know about Star Wars from the movies, this definitely doesn’t work at all.
All we know about Plagueis comes from a couple of lines from Revenge of the Sith.
Basing a whole movie’s plot on those couple of lines is lunacy, considering most people (that aren’t Star Wars fans) won’t even know (or even remember) who the hell he was talking about.
Unwise, were the decisions made.
RoS is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into its fan service, which makes every appearance from a legacy character (or line or vehicle), feel forced.
Do we really need a shot of Wicket the Ewok at the end of the movie? Do the ending scenes really need to show what was essentially the Special Edition endings from Return of the Jedi?
I half expected Bib Fortuna (Jabba’s majordomo), Boba Fett or even Wuher (the bartender from the Mos Eisley cantina) to come out at some point. I admit it’s fun seeing the winks and nods to fans but RoS seems to base the whole movie on it instead of standing on its own merits.
Case in point; Rey’s parents.
Rey’s parentage is also finally answered and it pretty much spits on what was shown in The Last Jedi. Star Wars’ penchant to make everybody related to each other goes into heavy overdrive here, as it’s revealed that Rey’s bloodline is a very famous one indeed.
I’d also like to highlight the Carrie Fisher scenes, which were cobbled together from unused footage from The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens. Maybe it’s just me but the scenes she’s in seems a bit disconnected from the rest of the action. Plus, the way they handled her departure is a source of much head scratching; it’s way too forced and doesn’t make a lick of sense.
The plot’s reliance on usual tropes (such as there being a spy in the First Order) gives RoS the feeling of yet another retread (just like Abram’s The Force Awakens). It doesn’t help matters at all that the ending feels like it mashed up Revenge of the Sith’s and Return of the Jedi’s but without the awesome lightsaber duels of either.
In fact, if there’s ONE thing this movie is short of, it’s great lightsaber duels.
I have a bad feeling about this…
After seeing Anakin and Obi Wan duel their butts off on Mustafar for the climatic finale of the prequel trilogy, seeing the sequel trilogy end without a similarly memorable ending set piece is disheartening and disappointing, especially since Rey can actually hold her own now with a lightsaber.
The only times I really enjoyed the movie are when it doesn’t shoehorn legacy characters into the scenes. Babu Frik (new to the movie) is a damn joy and I love every second of when he’s onscreen. I wouldn’t mind a spin-off movie about him at all!
Ironically, while most aspects of the film falters, the score in RoS is especially magnificent. But then again, that may be due to it being cobbled together out of awesome music pieces from the older films.
Binary Sunset (May the Force be with You), the Imperial March and the Emperor’s Throne Room are used liberally throughout the film and to excellent effect, with the variants playing and segueing into one another very well.
I’d go as far as to say that RoS has the second best Star Wars score (come on, no movie can beat A New Hope’s) out of all the films. No film can dethrone A New Hope’s The Throne Room and Ending fanfare, though RoS’s score does come the closest yet.
The bottom line.
RoS is a disappointment.
The plot was full of contradictions and holes, the set pieces were horrendous (seriously, that desert battle between Rey and Kylo sucked) and there was barely anything memorable at all about the film other than a few standout moments and characters (I love Babu Frik).
Everything, from Palpatine’s return to the existence of a Sith controlled hidden world (Exogol this time, instead of Byss), to the emergence of a hidden Imperial fleet and a ton of other plot elements, looked like it was ripped wholesale from Dark Empire and then adapted to fit the new Star Wars mythos.
Weirdly, for as much as Disney claimed to want to start fresh with its new EU, it sure does seem to refer back to the old one a whole lot.
In the rush to tie up everything into a neat bundle, it seems like the people making RoS forgot one thing; the magic of what made Star Wars great.
A movie made for hardcore fans that’s filled with fan service but lacking in nearly everything else.
- Awesome fan service.
- The music.
- The plot.
- The ending.
- Lack of exciting set pieces.
- No memorable lightsaber fights.