Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Review

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RATING: 2/5

[SPOILERS]

The resistance makes their final stand against not only the First Order but a great evil from the past that was presumed dead.

The Skywalker Saga has come to a close. It has come to a close in a mediocre and average fashion.

It was bittersweet to watch the trio (Rey, Finn, and Poe) being together on an adventure. Their interactions worked in some capacity and there was some humor. Their performances, along with the rest of the cast, were all good. Seeing Billy Dee Williams back as Lando was nice.

I have to say the best scenes for me was when the movie had scenes that either had to do with Kylo Ren or the return of Emperor Palpatine. The arc of Ren had reached its timely conclusion, as he now became a better man at redeeming some of the past actions that he committed. It was a definite surprise to see Harrison Ford back as Han Solo and the talk he had with Ren was pretty good.

On an entertainment factor, the Palpatine scenes were the highlights. Any scenes on the planet Exegol, before the climax, were very entertaining. Even though reusing the villain had its own problems, Palpatine still had a creepy/eerie presence to him regardless. The lighting, visuals, and cinematography worked very well at creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. The best shot was toward the beginning when Ren was flying straight on toward Palpatine’s headquarters. One could see the whole face of the base perfectly in the shot.

Both the CGI and practical effects were good, but mostly the practical stuff. The biggest surprise was seeing a planet blow-up. It was very reminiscent of when Alderaan or the Death Star blew up in A New Hope.

That was the good, now the bad.

After the first Exegol scenes, the pace sped up dramatically. There was little time for the film to set up scene after scene. With that, one was not fully immersed in the new environments or the new characters they threw in here. It also put a damper on character development which was a major detriment for this being the end of a saga.

Ren’s development was good, but Rey’s was unfortunately cut short I believe. I didn’t feel like she grew into a strong, capable character. I understand that the film was trying to make her a balance between the light/dark side. For example, the scenes that involved her shooting lighting and gaining a yellow lightsaber. but I didn’t get the full reward. It needed to be fleshed out more.

There were many things in this final film that were left unexplained. Like what did Finn wanted to tell Rey, the purpose of a lab-grown Snoke, how that green droid was so essential in moving the plot forward, or like I mentioned with the stuff relating to Rey. Those elements and many others needed to either be explained more or they needed to be dropped completely.

I swear, getting an extended cut of films is a trend I’m starting to not like.

General Hux’s reveal as the spy was cringe as he straight up said he was the spy to the heroes. Poe’s fear of bones I could very easily tell was supposed to be a nod to Indiana Jone’s fear of snakes. I don’t understand the reasoning of Poe’s former friend being dressed as Lord Zedd from the Power Rangers.

After “The Last Jedi” not sitting well with fans, Disney opted to go back to JJ Abrams for a safe route; which was another big problem with this movie. It didn’t take a whole lot of risk or interesting turns; outside of Han’s appearance and possibly Luke coming back as a ghost. It played out how one would expect it would. As with “The Force Awakens,” the first two acts were fun and cool to watch, while the third act/climax was kind of lackluster. This film followed something like that, but it was a little worse.

It played similarly to “Return of the Jedi.” I know nostalgia/cool throwbacks can be nice, but one can’t create a plot that mirrored a successful entry in one of the most celebrated trilogies of all time.

“The Rise of Skywalker,” I don’t hate necessarily. But with this being the end of a saga in one of the biggest franchises ever, I expected more. The performances were good, the effects were good, some of the visuals were cool, and any scene involving Kylo Ren or the Emperor was great. Everything else was lacking and needed to have more substance thrown in. This isn’t the worst Star Wars movie, that distinction is “Attack of the Clones.” But, with people starting to see the prequel trilogy as superior to the sequel trilogy, I think I’m due for a rewatch. Will see.

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