Disney wraps up its Skywalker/Palpatine storyline with the third film in their sequel trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker.” It’s a jumbled mess of a movie that tries to continue J.J. Abrams’ original plan for the trilogy while incorporating Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi.” It does an admirable job, but doesn’t quite stick the landing.
I watched this film in theaters and enjoyed it, but in subsequent viewings, I’ve been less accepting of its flaws. There was too much crammed into it and Disney has no one to blame but themselves. I watched an interview where Daisy Ridley said Rian Johnson threw out Abrams’ original plans and made his own movie for “The Last Jedi” that took the story in a completely different direction. I like how Abrams took what worked from “The Last Jedi” while working around what didn’t. But, I still didn’t like some of the new things he introduced.
“Rise of Skywalker” has a star destroyer problem. The return of Palpatine and the number of star destroyers he has at his disposal doesn’t make sense in the long run. I know this is “Star Wars” and no one’s death is forever, but the retconning of Emperor Palpatine’s death partially degrades Anakin Skywalker’s moment of redemption. What should’ve been the end of Anakin’s and Palpatine’s arc is unnecessarily dragged out. Meanwhile, where did he get all those star destroyers. I’ve watched this film a few times, and even though I think it’s explained, I still don’t fully grasp how, where or why.
One thing I truly appreciated was how this film explained Leia’s training in the Force. It helps make that Mary Poppins moment in “The Last Jedi” less stupid and more silly. The final movie of a trilogy is intended to answer questions brought about by the first two and “Rise of Skywalker” does that in this case.
I’m still a bit puzzled by the death of Kylo Ren, yet Ben Solo still lives plot point. It was a cool moment to see Harrison Ford back in the series after his death in “The Force Awakens,” but I still don’t get it. I know it symbolizes his redemption similar to Darth Vader reclaiming his identity as Anakin Skywalker, but it’s just weird to me how they did it.
A heavy criticism of this trilogy is that “The Force Awakens” and “Rise of Skywalker” feel like they are retelling the original trilogy, while “The Last Jedi” went out to be its own movie causing the saga to be random and disjointed. I agree with that assessment after rewatching it. Abrams’ two movies are more fan service than anything else and while I enjoy them overall, they are lacking creativity. Johnson decided to be original, but made a lazy movie that goes from introduction to payoff without hitting the important plot points in between, which is a lack of creativity. That’s my complaint about the whole sequel trilogy, there’s nothing creative about it. It’s fine. I enjoyed this movie more than “The Last Jedi.” But, the whole trilogy is just fine.
Ranking: 2.5 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker?”