Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


Gio Guttadauro

The sequel trilogy of the Star Wars saga has probably been the most divisive one out of the three so far. Most fans will agree the original films are remarkably solid and that the prequels are substandard at best. The newest trilogy on the other hand has brought mixed feelings upon fans. The films preceeding The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars – The Force Awakens and Star Wars -The Last Jedi have had their fair share of critiques with most fans agreeing that The Force Awakens was a satisfactory start to the trilogy while The Last Jedi is regarded by most fans to be the worst Star Wars film of all time and completely disgraces everything The Force Awakens started. This means J.J. Abrams (The director of The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker) had a lot of pressure on him to undo the damage of The Last Jedi and not only end this new trilogy but the entirety of the nine key Star Wars films (so far known as the Skywalker Saga). So, with all that in mind, did The Rise of Skywalker undo the damage of The Last Jedi and end the trilogy on a high note? Or should George Lucas just have kept the rights to Star Wars? Let’s find out.

The story was probably the most monumental problem of this film. This film is about Emperor Palpatine revealing that he was not killed by Anakin in Return of the Jedi so the Resistance have to find him before Palpatine introduces the Final Order which involves a deadly fleet of Star Destroyers exacting control of the galaxy. Just from writing this sentence I found an elephant in the room, and that is that they brought Palpatine back. This makes Anakin’s sacrifice in Return of the Jedi meaningless if Palpatine was just going to come back thirty years later with the First Order. The most insulting part of this is that Palpatine was brought back out of nowhere. There was absolutely no build up in the two previous movies,  which just proves that Disney did not plan for the Emperor to come back. So, they obviously just added him in this film for fan service. This ultimately ended up being a waste when they could have easily made Snoke the antagonist for the trilogy and they could have given him a good backstory too. We do get this in The Rise of Skywalker, but it is barely explained and it just amounts to Palpatine saying, “My boy. I made Snoke. I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” So, for those who wanted a backstory for Snoke, that’s all you get. Palpatine was probably the most atrocious part of this whole movie in my opinion, even though I have other problems with some of the aspects of the story, they are just nitpicks by comparison and I would be writing this all day if I mentioned them.

So, what about the good? I cannot really think of anything I like about the story, but there were some scenes that I did enjoy. My favorite one was probably the scene where Kylo Ren had a vision of Han coming back and talking to Ren to convince him to return to the light side. It was definitely the most heartfelt scene that I have seen in Star Wars in a while. I actually wish we had gotten more of that in this movie, more of Ren contemplating if he should stay on the dark or go back to the light side. Out of all the characters in this film, he is certainly the strongest and Adam Driver did a fantastic job with portraying him. Other characters in this film like Rey, Finn, Lando, Poe, his girlfriend that looked like a Power Ranger, and the Knights of Ren, are just boring or annoying. Rey was a bit of a step up from being just some really powerful Jedi who became all powerful from barely any training or struggle to unlock this power since we did get a scene of her training in the beginning of the film. Another part of her character in this film is that she is the granddaughter of Palpatine. I was not really surprised that she would be a relative of his since a lot of fans predicted it, but there was really no point to this twist – if you even want to call it that. Just because you have the Force, that does not mean you need to be related to some other popular Force user in the past like a Skywalker or a Palpatine. Speaking of which, Palpatine took down a plethora of ships with his force lightning towards the end of this film – but Rey ends up killing Palpatine with minor difficulty. Heck, maybe Rey did not even kill Palpatine and he will come back in some later film. I wouldn’t be surprised.

The character Finn also had a lot of potential to be a strong character in this film because he was a storm trooper who joined the Resistance and we have not seen that before in Star Wars. It’s barely focused on in this film and he went from being a well-written protagonist to nothing but a side character.

The last characters I want to mention are the Knights of Ren who have been hyped since the Force Awakens and barely do anything in this film.

Wow. That was a lot of problems I just mentioned in this film, so I think it’s time to mention some positives about this film. What this film lacks in the story and character, it gains in visuals and effects, because this movie looks fantastic. Every background, setting, ship, and anything that is CGI look highly accomplished and you could tell that the VFX artists really put their all into creating the visuals and effects for this film.  It honestly makes it a little watchable just to see these amazing visuals. Another fantastic thing about this film is the soundtrack. John Williams who composed the score for most of the Star Wars films made the score for The Rise of Skywalker and he absolutely killed it. The music in this filmed enhanced every scene that it played in, especially the action scenes. The soundtrack of this film was great, and I highly recommend listening to it.

So, what did I think about this film? It was terrible. As I mentioned before, the monumental problems in this film were the story and a lot of the characters. This is a shame because this trilogy really could have ended on a high note, but it seems the lack of planning by Disney brought down this whole movie and this did not do justice for Star Wars whatsoever. The only good things about this film were the effects, visuals, music, and most of the scenes with Kylo. And if you liked this film – unlike me – that’s perfectly fine and I’m glad you got enjoyment out of something I could not. I don’t want to take that away from you. This is just my opinion. So, I’m going to give this film a 3.5/10. Hopefully Disney can do better with Star Wars in the future which they have been with their Star Wars shows like The Mandalorian or The Clone Wars.

So hopefully The Rise of Skywalker was just a dud in a groundbreaking franchise.