While watching Rise of Skywalker, one thing became very clear almost right from the start, this film was going to be a mess. It was like they were trying to cram in two movies into one 2 hour movie. One movie was there just to course correct what Last Jedi setup.
Right off the bat we get this scrolling text telling us that Palpatine is alive and massing this giant army. What? Where the hell did that come from? The army and Palpatine.
You’d think that might be something they’d want to save as a twist or reveal for later in the film, but no. Right away, hey Palpatine is alive, everyone, he’s broadcasting everyone in the universe his shitty podcast.
The film opens up like it was a sequel to a completely different movie. It reminded me of when Matrix Reloaded came out, but to get the full story of what was going on, you needed to watch the Animatrix first or at least the short film setting everything up.
I had an argument a few years back with a young writer who asked about opening title scrolls, much like how Star Wars does for every single film. My argument was those are never needed for a movie. If you need a giant block of text to start your movie out with, you’re doing something wrong in trying to tell your story.
And of course his rebuttal was what about Star Wars? And my counter was, most likely when you first saw Star Wars, you were probably pretty young, right? Like most kids at that age, I’m guessing you never read that scrolling text, but still you knew what was going on in the film and enjoyed it. Therefore making the scrolling text kind of pointless to begin with.
If I didn’t read that scrolling text for Rise of Skywalker, I wouldn’t know what the fuck was going on. Hell, even after reading it I still felt like I was missing something. Again, I stand by my belief that if you need to start your film out with a wall of text, you aren’t doing a good job at telling your story very well. And for your story to get even more muddled with text explaining things… well, you seriously fucked something up somewhere.
Can I also say how much I hate this title, The Rise of Skywalker? It has to be the worst title of any of the Star Wars films, worse than Solo. And the reason why it’s called Rise of Skywalker is even more depressing.
For months now, there have been rumors about the plot. But some didn’t believe it as it was so asinine, there was no way it could be true. Well, ladies and gentlemen, and man-child alike, the rumors were all true.
There is so much to unpack here, that I have no idea where to even begin.
Let’s start with the last two films, Force Awakens and Last Jedi. I haven’t watched either of those films since reviewing them… or maybe I just reviewed Last Jedi, either way, I’ve only ever watched them once and have no desire to ever watch them again.
Force Awakens always gets that defense where they repeated New Hope because they needed to play it safe, I don’t buy that anymore. That’s utter bullshit. They needed to give the audience something new but also stay faithful to the original films or at least that world, something The Mandalorian excels at way better than any of the three new films ever did.
But what we got with Force Awakens was just a rehash of the original film but with less likable characters. Rey was kind of a fucking weirdo who balanced being child-like and being an asshole.
Finn was another asshole that only thought of himself and Poe, well Poe was barely in it as he vanishes suddenly, so who cares about Poe.
They played it safe for the first film. Last Jedi on the other hand… did the opposite. I think I liked that film better because I liked it for what it could have been, not what it was. It felt almost like a troll film. Like Rian Johnson was fucking with Star Wars fans.
They set up some really interesting ideas, but in the end the film failed to follow through with any of it. The idea of ruling the universe not as a Sith or a Jedi , but as something else was extremely intriguing and is the direction the film should have went.
Kylo Ren’s argument that nothing has worked, not being ruled by the Empire, or by the Republic, not by Sith or Jedi, so let’s let it all die and try something drastically different was a great path to take the series. It would have been almost impossible to end up making another rehash of any of the previous films. But, since they are still pretending that this is geared towards kids, they didn’t go that path and the story continues down that same recycled retelling of what we’ve already seen before.
Hence the reemergence of Palpatine. Fans like Palpatine, let’s just give them that again! That will fix it! That’s kind of this film’s whole motto. You didn’t like what happened in Last Jedi… um… here you go, Snoke was a clone this whole time, a puppet of Palpatine. There! Fixed it!
Didn’t like that Rey’s parent’s weren’t special and had no significance to her having Jedi force powers? We got a fix for that!
Don’t like the Rose character? Well, we got a fix for that too! We’ll Jar Jar Binks her ass, problem solved!
Hey, at least they didn’t give us another damn Death Star to blow up. Though this time they did add planet destroying canons on Star Destroyers, so I guess technically this time instead of giving us one or two large Death Stars, they gave us 100 smaller Death Stars.
C’mon, man! This franchise can’t be this bankrupt for ideas, can they? Is this the fucking Terminator franchise? I’m actually shocked Star Wars hasn’t had a time traveling plot yet.
Can I just write a review on how fucking great The Mandalorian is instead of trying to piece together the mess that is Rise of Skywalker?
That show has something that the new films don’t. A visionary spearheading it. Jon Favreau knows what he’s doing and has a clear vision for what the show is about.
It is painfully clear that this new trilogy had nothing planned out. They had no idea where they were going to take this. You’d think spending a billion dollars to buy a franchise, like fucking Star Wars, you’d maybe take a moment to plan something out. They clearly didn’t do that. J.J. Abrams fucking bailed after Force Awakens, but even then there still should have been something planned out.
I know J.J. Abrams did have things maybe he wanted in the second film and all that was basically scrapped when Rian Johnson came aboard but still. The studio needed to have a bible they needed to stick to. You aren’t going to get any redo’s here. Which is very clear from Rise of Skywalker, as this whole film is a damn redo, but the toothpaste is already out of the tube, you can’t scoop that shit back in.
This film feels like bad fanfiction you’d find on some fan site message board. It’s that bad. The film is filled with plot holes, rushed pacing, maybe because they are cramming two movies into one.
It’s also very clear that Carrie Fisher dying seriously fucked their movie. A movie that was already seriously fucked. It was obvious to see that a lot of times they just cut and pasted some old unused footage of Princess Leia next to characters.
They did that until they ran out of material so they had to find a way to kill her off, and it’s done in the most clumsily way possible. All done with a stand in that was shot from behind or face obscured from the frame. It’s executed so poorly, but again, they had to do something I guess to explain this major character from no longer being there.
Speaking of characters, almost everyone but Rose from Last Jedi are gone. And she’s barely in this. What we do get are two new pointless characters, Jannah and Zorii Bliss. Why are these two in this? They’re so pointless, about as pointless as the stupid headpiece Keri Russell wears throughout this for what seems to be no damn reason at all.
She shows up to give them a thing, which is what happens for almost the whole 2 hour runtime. Exposition happens, action sequence and they get a thing that leads our characters to the next exposition dump, action sequence and another MacGuffin. Rinse and repeat. Which wasn’t that the plot to Force Awakens? They needed to find this and that to get to Luke?
But this time their goal is to find out where Emperor Palpatine and his army are? I expected more from the writer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. If you didn’t know, that was sarcasm as those films are pieces of shit. Everyone kept saying, Rise of Skywalker might be good, it has promise. Really? You see who wrote it, right?
I guess I should start getting into the actual plot of this, spoilers ahead I guess if you do plan on actually seeing this.
The film opens with Kylo Ren looking for these devices that gives the coordinates to Emperor Palpatine, to a planet named Exegol. There we get treated to the film’s immediate retconning of Last Jedi, where we learn that Snoke was a clone created by Palpatine and that Rey has some special connection to everything. He orders Kylo to find her and kill her… even though he needs her alive… Doesn’t make sense, moving on!
While all this is going on, Finn, Poe and Chewbacca are trying to get info on a spy working inside the First Order. He confirms that Emperor Palpatine is still alive, even though everyone apparently knew that already.
So now along with Rey they take the Millennium Falcon in search of these devices that will lead the resistance to Palpatine’s fleet of ships and destroy them.
They find a ship belonging to an assassin that has a dagger that will lead them to another item… MacGuffin: The Movie.
And of course Rey starts to remember things from her past as a child as the ship they find was her parents I think… I don’t know. It gives her flashbacks to her as a child, who still has the exact same haircut as she does now as an adult. Back in the early 90’s I had that popular shaved bowl cut look that all the kids had. It would look pretty fucking stupid if I kept that same haircut for 25+ years.
Anyway, the assassin was after Rey’s parents, killing them for the dagger.
Kylo shows up and Chewbacca and lead to believe dies when Rey and Kylo have a tug of war session with the force, causing Rey to channel the darkside and use lightning.
At this point everyone thinks Chewbacca is dead, but almost instantly they get over it.
The dagger had Sith writing on it, but conveniently for the plot, C-3PO can’t say out loud what the writing says, so they need to go to a hacker to retrieve the info.
So off to another fetch quest we go!
Oh yeah, somewhere along the way Lando Calrissian showed up for like 2 seconds. That’s about all I really have to say about that. Just he’s in it, I guess.
Poe knows a guy that can hack C-3PO’s memory, but run into Keri Russell pointless character Zorii Bliss. She’s only there to give Poe a case of the no gays and a chip that will allow them to sneak onboard Kylo’s ship to free Chewie and grab the dagger.
Also during this, Finn and company get into trouble and it looks like Finn wishes to confess something to Rey, though it’s never revealed what. So apparently what he wanted to confess wasn’t his love but the fact that he is “force sensitive”. I’m not completely sure what that means… I guess he can use the force, maybe? I don’t know, nothing in the previous films I think ever set that up, so I have no idea where this is coming from.
It almost feels like again another plot convenience, to quickly get characters to a certain point in the plot the story needs them to be. Hey, I sense that we should go this way!
This movie is so fucking lazy. I mean, we meet Emperor Palpatine’s Sith troopers and they are literally just normal storm troopers but red. Red! Can’t wait to see the 40 year old man who buys that toy. It’s a storm trooper but red. Red!
Anyway, back to the… I want to say plot. But honestly, can you really say this has been a plot so far? There’s a writing method called the Nutshell Technique where it helps spot if your script has a story or not. Rise of Skywalker I think fails that technique. Story should be what moves the film along, not just things happening. This happened, so that happened. And that happened because this happened. That’s not a story, that’s things happening to get you to the end credits.
I forget where I was at with the “story”. Rey gets the dagger and they free Chewie but get caught in the process. Thankfully the spy onboard Kylo’s ship helps free them. But he also gets killed like 2 seconds later, so again, only there for plot contrivances that I should be used to by now.
The team head off to yet another planet where they meet another pointless character Jannah who… I forget why exactly we are introduced to her. I think maybe to give them boats to get to the crashed Death Star. Though we do get a ridiculous scene with her later on as they storm the side of a Star Destroyer on these alien horses.
Rey heads off alone to grab the device they need to lead them to Emperor Palpatine, but Kylo shows up and explains to her that her father was the son of Palpatine and that she is in fact a Palpatine. Careful with your eyerolling, you might hurt yourself. Don’t you get the parallels?! Kylo is a Skywalker but turned to the darkside, while Rey is a Palpatine that turned to the light! Synergy, guys! Amazing! Again, if you didn’t pick up on it, that was sarcasm.
Rey and Kylo fight, Leia uses the last of her force energy or something to call out to Kylo to stop him from killing Rey, giving her a chance to run him through with her lightsaber.
But she gets second thoughts and decides to heal him but using some of her force energy or life force energy… I don’t know how this horse shit works. It seems like they’re just pulling this out of their asses now.
Now that Kylo has been brought back… I guess he isn’t evil now? He gets a ghost talk with his dead dad, though honestly shouldn’t it have been Anakin Skywalker? Kylo worships the guy, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have the guy he worships talk some sense into him? Maybe don’t bring back the guy Kylo ran through with his lightsaber the last time they tried to have a heart to heart.
Either way, it gets through to him and tosses his lightsaber. Did we ever learn why his lightsaber looked all janky? It always looked like it was running on a low battery and the last bit of energy was getting spit out.
Rey runs off to Luke’s island where she gets to have a heart to heart with Luke’s ghost, digging up Leia’s old lightsaber. She buried it when she was younger, training with Luke she had a vision of her son dying. So, she knew what was going to happen?
So Rey goes to the planet Emperor Palpatine is to kill him. Though the plan is for Rey to embrace the darkside, kill him so his force ghost can possess her, being born anew. Which begs the question, why did he want Kylo to kill her again?
Anyway, Kylo shows up, Rey and him band together and fight the Emperor, but he’s too powerful, using all the Sith to supercharge him, I guess. So Rey does the same thing and channels all the Jedi, exploding Palpatine.
But doing so sucked all the lifeforce from her, causing Kylo to give her his energy, sacrificing himself. They kiss, he dies and the end. She goes to Tatooine to bury Luke and Leia’s lightsabers, though somewhere along the way Rey found another lightsaber that’s yellow. Roll credits, let this shit end.
Yeah, that was pretty bad. If the rumors are correct and it looks like most of them were, there seems to be about 6 different cuts of the film with drastically different endings and reshoots. And for some reason they went with this one. I can’t imagine this tested well.
At one point in the film, Rey is asked what her name was and she replies just Rey. So that sets up for later at the end when some random old crone shows up asks her the exact same thing, but this time Rey replies with Rey Skywalker. Boo! Fuck you, movie!
I hated this movie, but I’m not going to dwell on it like some fans on Youtube will. The only reason I’m even thinking about this movie now is because I’m writing a review on it. If not for that, I would have completely expelled this from my brain like a chili fart.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker gets a SKIP IT rating.
Next time, I think maybe I’ll be back with my top ten best and worst list of 2019.