Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J. J. Abrams and it is the finale of The Skywalker Saga and the final chapter in the sequel trilogy. Set a few months after the events of The Last Jedi, this movie focuses on the return of The Emperor who is on a hidden planet. Rey and the gang have to go on an adventure to find two objects that can lead them to this planet. Kylo Ren is trying to win Rey over to the dark side by revealing her past. The movie stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Ian McDiarmid.
After the events of The Last Jedi I was really curious to see what the final chapter would hold for us. Since that movie left us with quite an uneventful ending, it’s safe to say that none of us really had an idea or clue about what this movie was about. Then the teaser trailer came out with the reveal that The Emperor is back. It was then that I knew that this movie was in trouble. With J. J. Abrams coming back you would think that he would like to complete his vision of the trilogy, something which is idiotic to do since Rian Johnson changed the course of that plan yet here we are. The final trailer which is a pretty big deal for Star Wars didn’t do anything for me. I was really nervous about this movie and when the first reviews started rolling in, even more so. I was so nervous that on the way to the cinema to see the movie my palms were sweaty and I felt anxious. Then the movie was hilariously delayed because the power went out and despite an idiotic family behind me, I was with my young brother, we had the snacks, we were sitting in front of the largest screen possible with an amazing sound system and we were surrounded by a ton of fans. It was exciting and when that opening music started my worries melted away but then the movie started and they came back relatively quickly.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an epic, bloated and sometimes ju
st downright embarrasing finale that suffers from being the last in an unplanned trilogy. I actually struggled to write the synopsis at the beginning of the review because for a second I couldn’t actually make out the basic plot of the movie. Because of The Last Jedi‘s plot incosistencies and characters not progessing as much as they should, Rise of Skywalker tries to carry the weight of J. J. Abrams’ vision for Episode 8 and 9 resulting in an incredibly bloated and messy movie. Abrams clearly had ideas for Episode 8 which were ditched but for some reason instead of following what The Last Jedi accomplished he decided to throw in his ideas as well, ideas which are never fully realized and have no room in this overcrowded movie. It has to cover so much ground that the movie literally starts sprinting in terms of pace from the first scene. There is never a room for these characters to develop or just breathe. Something is always happening. The Emperor appears in the first scene of the movie with no explanation as to how he’s back. The script has no effort put into it, it’s literally ideas and scraps glued together to make something resembling a story.
The Rise of Skywalker not only fails as a finale to this trilogy but it also fails as a finale to The Skywalker Saga. When it comes to being the final chapter of this trilogy it fails spectacularly. Rey’s character development never goes beyond her desperate need to discover her past, an arc which was resolved in the previous movie. Finn literally doesn’t have an arc, he’s there to scream “Rey!” and ignore multiple love interests. Kylo Ren gets a decent arc in this movie making his overall arc in this trilogy somewhat complete. It’s definitely the best thing to come out of this trilogy. I absolutely love the movie whenever he’s on screen. He commands the audiences’s attention because he’s such an unpredictable character. His relationship with Rey is incredibly intoxicating, it’s another positive from the trilogy as we see these two grow and change each other. It’s quite possible the only rewarding aspect of this movie. As a finale to The Skywalker Saga, Rise of Skywalker brings back The Emperor which really defeats the purpose of the previous two trilogies if both Anakin and Luke failed.
If you take out the story and writing and really, logic, The Rise of Skywalker is left some pretty good qualities. Like most movies in this franchise the ninth episode doesn’t fail to deliver on incredible visuals and a thrilling score by John Williams. What I actually love quite a bit about this movie is the massive scope it has. This very much feels like an epic finale. The lightsaber battles are some of the best we’ve gotten this entire trilogy and that’s saying something. Rey and Kylo have two amazing battles, one was more clever and impressive visually but the other one is stunning. It’s the one where they fight on the wreckage of the second Death Star in front of a raging ocean. This was amazing in the cinema. It looks stunning, the raging ocean brings a ton of atmosphere and adds to the epic scope, the character’s emotional history together makes the scene thrilling from an emotional aspect. The way they used the force and the lightsabers, it felt choreographed but not in a negative way. It looked artistic and epic and had the emotional weight to it as well making it one of the best lightsaber battles of the entire franchise in my opinion.
Overall Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a rushed mess with wasted potential written all over it. It makes it very clear the kind of movie it is from the first couple scenes as it sprints to cover as much ground as possible trying to please Abrams’ ideas for this movie and the one before it. While it hits some emotional beats, has a somewhat decent ending, features some epic scenes and has sprinkles of greatness throughout it still isn’t enough to carry the finale to what once was the biggest franchise of all time.