A+E: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review
by: Joshua Lucero
Marking the end to a 40-year story arc that the world fell in love with, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released on December 20, 2019. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series, was the sole creative director for the forever beloved, Episodes I-VI before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012. Episodes I-III showed who the chosen one was prior to his fall to the dark side. The fan base was able to get to know Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi Knight versus his role in episodes IV-VI as Darth Vader.
Since Disney bought the franchise in 2012, the series has become nothing more, but simply a dollar sign to them. Episode VII gives followers a decent backstory for the new main characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Finn (John Boyega). The Trilogy first introduced to us with the main character Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is a force sensitive scavenger. She was abandoned as a young child, on a desert planet and was forced to live her life with no explanation of what she came from.
Episode IX is the final episode of the Skywalker legacy. This film is a prime example of what happens when money takes over a well-oiled franchise. The last episode of the Trilogy shows how Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is torn between the dark and light side. His goal is to find the sith planet Exegol and once he locates the planet he discovers Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has been pulling all the strings from behind the curtains since Episode VII. When Kylo found this planet he swore his allegiance to the dead Palpatine and would go on a mission to find Rey and kill her to solidify his role in Palpatine’s empire. On this planet Palptine had a massive army of Imperial Star Destroyers that he commands at will. Kylo sets out to find Rey and kill her to be part of Palpatine’s rule. They eventually encounter each other and have a fight similar to the one from Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, which takes place on the Death Star ruins. During the fight Kylo’s mother, Leia, reaches out to him one last time before she dies. He gets distracted and Rey stabs him and escapes with Kylo’s ship to the planet Ahch-to. Kylo then gets persuaded back to the light by his father’s essence.
Rey, now on her own, seeks to find out who her family… who she really is. During the midpoint of the movie she discovered she is of the Palpatine bloodline, the grand daughter of Darth Sidious. Further into the Episode, Rey and Kylo, who was turned to the light, with the help of the Resistance fleet, attack Exegol. During the siege on Exegol, the Resistance, in addition to the ships rallied by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), fight Palpatine’s army head to head. While the Resistance is holding the fight in the air, Rey and Kylo fight Palpatine and ultimately win with the cost being Kylo’s life. The film concludes with Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers.
This film lacked fluency, there was no real story connecting it to the other movies. There was seemingly no real preparation for this film. The main focus around the film was to bring Emperor Palpatine back to the throne. This does not make sense as George Lucas’ films intended that the emperor stay dead. There was no explanation on how Darth Sidious survived. He appeared out of the woodwork attached to some sort of life support machine keeping him alive. This is poor planning by Abrams and Chris Terrio because of the unlikeliness that Darth Sidious would have been alive if Lucas was involved in the film. It was almost like Abrams and co writer Chris Terrio took bits and pieces from previous films, the Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, added Palpatine, and hoped and prayed that it would stick on the wall somewhere.
This film lacked the “Star Wars umph”, there was no real connection to the film that made it meaningful, which it should have been, considering this is the end to an emotionally attaching series. This film was seemingly rushed to the point of desperation. They reached in a bag and pulled out whatever they found. Rey and Kylo’s “love” felt fake. It felt as if they were forced to love one another simply due to the fact that Rey was a Palpatine and Kylo was a Skywalker. It seemed they wanted a dramatic love story just like Padme and Anakin from Episodes II & III. They wanted something that was never there in the first place. Their “love story” was fake and did not connect well with the main story line.
The ending fight scene between Rey and Palpatine as well another forced scene. Rey engaged in a fight with Palpatine, Palpatine struck with his sith lightning then Rey countered it by holding two lightsabers against the lightning. She pushed against the lightning and forced it back to Palpatine, killing him and all his Sith followers. There was no real battle between them and it was pointless how Rey would just push back the lightning and kill Palpatine.
There is a lot that the filmed lacked to be called a true Star Wars film. Many, myself included, were disappointed on how this long line of emotionally jerking Episodes ended. This film was watched because it was the end of a Star Wars era that started it all. It lacked the family aspect that would be created from films that would be carefully constructed rather than be controlled by a dollar sign. There are some aspects of the movie that can be praised, such as the visual performances that involved with CGI and the actors themselves were very involved but other than these few drops of water this film went up in flames.