Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

star wars the rise of the skywalker poster 2019 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Shows improvement, better written script, dialogue, an ending

Still some problematic pieces, too long, too many side characters

Movie Info

Movie Name: Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker

Studio: Lucasfilm

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 16, 2019 (Premiere)/December 20, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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The return of Kylo “Don’t call me Ben” Ren!

The First Order is behind the power of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the Resistance is on the run under the watch of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).  When the Emperor is discovered alive, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) find themselves in a desperate race to locate the Emperor’s hidden planet of Exegol.  The Emperor is building a fleet called the Last Order that could destroy the last remaining members of the Resistance…and Poe’s past could be key in determining the future of the galaxy!

Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker (or sometimes Star Wars—Episode IX:  The Rise of Skywalker) is the final entry in the Star Wars Skywalker saga.  The film follows Star Wars:  The Last Jedi from 2017, but it was released after 2018’s Solo:  A Star Wars Story.  Reviews were mixed and polarized.  The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

star wars the rise of skywalker john boyega joonas suotamo oscar isaac

The wacky adventures of Poe, Finn, and Chewie

I wasn’t a big fan of The Last Jedi.  I felt the dialogue was weak, the story (while original) wasn’t very good, and it really let down the new characters that the previous film had introduced.  Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker feels more akin to previous Star Wars films and like previous Star Wars films has its own problematic aspects.  The review has a ******spoiler alert****** for the remaining part.

The movie feels very long, but it generally keeps moving.  The core characters from Star Wars:  The Force Awakened get back together and get to interact more.  You get more Poe-Rey-Finn drama (though I never thought Poe-Rey was a thing), but you also get some explaining of the relationship and abilities between Rey and Kylo Ren (which helps smooth out some of The Last Jedi).

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Who is Rei?

While I don’t feel that film “recons” as it is accused of doing.  The reveal that Poe’s parents were “nobody” doesn’t feel much different than Obi-Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed his father in the first film (and technically, they aren’t anyone we’ve ever met…I actually like to think that the Emperor’s work was so secret that he could have a child).  Rose Tico is a bit more problematic, but also more logical…why would a mid-range mechanic go off on a secret mission with Poe, Rey, and Finn?  Her character as a foil in The Last Jedi didn’t make much sense, but I do feel a bit sorry for her since she never had time to develop…and she kind of gets the Jar-Jar Binks Episode II treatment.

The film does have problems.  There are a couple false “deaths” that are immediately revealed to be fakes.  Chewbacca gets blown up for a second in a pretty unspectacular death and revealed alive a scene later and C-3PO gets his memories erased only to get them backed-up by R2-D2 (which seemed pretty easy in general to do before erasing his memories).  I found it intentionally attempting to tuck on heart strings without having the emotion (I think Karen Allen’s “death” in Raiders of the Lost Ark is a good comparison of where a faked death works better).

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In a shocking turn of events, Han stabs Kylo Ren and throws him into the ocean

The cast is rather solid though some feel that they are unnecessary.  The core characters develop in this film unlike in the previous entry where they felt like alternate reality versions of the characters introduced in the first part of the trilogy.  R2-D2 is sidelined a bit but that also makes sense (why take two droids…though I do like the new “Blow-Dryer” robot D-O).  Keri Russell and Naomi Ackie feel a bit redundant (and maybe should have been in The Last Jedi if the script had been thought of more as whole).  The film features a bit of a battle between Domhnall Gleeson and Richard E. Grant that feels like it could have been expanded, and Billy Dee Williams’ return as Lando Calrissian is a bit forced.  There are a number of cameos and small roles and a throwback scene where voices of characters can be heard that span multiple “canon” series (plus, you get a Wicket the Ewok cameo).  The Carrie Fisher scenes are handled well (I like they explain her use of the Force), but I still feel Luke’s characterization has been wrong this whole trilogy…I was pleasantly surprised by Harrison Ford’s scene which felt kind of more necessary to level out Adam Driver’s character.

Guess who’s back? Back again? Palpatine’s back…call you’re friends!

The movie (I feel) is a bit more visually compelling than the previous Star Wars.  I liked some of the salt planet scenes in that film and this film didn’t provide much new in the sense of visuals.  It was how the visuals were handled which was better.  The Last Jedi lightsaber fight scene was better than many of the fights in this film, but the weight of the scenes in this film felt in line with the visuals.

I love Star Wars, but I feel I can look at it rather honestly.  The films are all flawed (except probably The Empire Strikes Back), but they do a scary dance of balancing between being fun or being innovative.  Most of the best scenes in the movie are action scenes but the characters develop and are likable through the material between these scenes.  This doesn’t always work.  I still argue that if “Star Wars” wasn’t attached to “The Last Jedi”, people wouldn’t have taken the film very seriously or defended it (or likewise attacked it)…it was a pretty forgettable film.  It revealed some of the worst aspects of fandom.  This film is maybe a bit more memorable simply because it feels like a conclusion to something that has gone on for decades.  I can’t say “The Force Is Strong with This One”, but it does feel like Star Wars…like it or hate it.

Related Links:

Star Wars—Episode I:  The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars—Episode II:  Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars—Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi (2017)

Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story (2016)

Solo:  A Star Wars Story (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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