We have arrived at the final movie in the Star Wars’ Skywalker saga. I saw this on opening night and I had little expectations for this movie. After the disappointment that was, The Last Jedi, I decided to set the bar low for Episode 9. I enjoyed watching the movie and there were some truly amazing scenes in the movie that left me satisfied. However, it is also a very flawed and messy movie and when you think about all the flaws of the movie, it can leave you scratching your head.
The Rise of Skywalker stars the same three actors playing the same three characters: Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. Ridley is fantastic as Rey as for the first time in this trilogy, she takes the role as THE main character of the movie. I do not like the reveal that she is the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, as it seems like a desperate attempt to retcon the fact The Last Jedi established that Rey’s parents were just junk traders that sold her off for money. I prefer that because it adds mystery to her character that doesn’t need to be solved and it established a great parallel with Kylo Ren.
My favorite scene in the movie is when she hears all the Jedi from the saga and TV shows speaking to her and giving her their strength to defeat Palpatine. It brings the Jedi full-circle and it is a powerful and triumphant scene. Rey’s scene with Luke’s force ghost on Ahch-To is awesome as it brings Luke’s arc from The Last Jedi full-circle and it is great to see Luke admit his mistake and be that awesome mentor figure.
Speaking of Kylo Ren, he continues to be the best part of this new trilogy and Adam Driver was phenomenal portraying the character. Ren was evil but still somewhat conflicted in the first part of the movie and that was as fun to watch as it was in the other movies. But then, after beating Rey on the awesome lightsaber fight on the wrecked Death Star on Endor, he, with the help of the sacrifice of Leia, turns to the light and Ben Solo returns. It is very satisfying to see him change the ending of his conversation with Han Solo in his head and watching Driver portray a changed man was spectacular. Him sacrificing and saving Rey at the end was great and I am satisfied with how his character concluded.
As for Finn, once again, his character does not develop and he has nothing to do in the movie. All he does is yell out a bunch of characters’ names repeatedly, lead a ground assault to destroy ships that will soon be destroyed anyways by a massive resistance fleet, and meet deserters from the First Order like himself. That plot-point could have been much better if it wasn’t set up with such little time left in the movie.
As far as Poe and the other side characters, they are either under-used or wasted. Poe has a solid personality, but all he does in the movie is lead, wreck the Millennium Falcon and argue with Rey. His character does not develop or change. He is mostly the same character throughout the entire saga and it’s not compelling unfortunately because Oscar Isaac does put on a great performance. His interaction with Zorii on Kijimi was awesome as we learn a bit about Poe’s character and makes him a little more interesting, and we see a character with a lot of personality. I wish Zorii was introduced earlier in the trilogy so that she could have more screen time and re-develop a good relationship with Poe as time went along because the little screen time we saw with the two of them, it was really strong.
As for Chewbacca, Lando, C-3PO, R2-D2, BB-8, they all got very little screen time and were under-used. BB-8 did nothing, Lando, a very important and popular character in the original trilogy, did not contribute much. The others were barely used and I sometimes forgot they were in the movie.
As far as Emperor Palpatine, it was entertaining to see Ian McDiarmid voice him again, but he should have been set up way earlier. It felt like a desperate attempt to regain fans after The Last Jedi, and it didn’t work with the rest of the trilogy. And for General Hux, he could have been an interesting character. He was a great villain in The Force Awakens, but in this movie, he does one thing for the Resistance and is killed. I wish he had a bigger role in this movie as he has gotten character develop in previous movies.
The look of the movie is spectacular. If you like movies for the visuals, you will love this movie. It looks amazing on the big screen and every fight and action scene looks great. It is too bad the characters and story is not as great as the visuals.
Overall, The Rise of Skywalker is a fun mess. There are some truly great scenes and aspects, but there is a lot in between that falls flat. I wish Disney had a clear direction from the start and this movie solidifies that it didn’t. I recommend it if you want to see great visuals and awesome moments that involve the force, the Sith, and the Jedi. But my biggest recommendation is to go watch the A+ show in The Mandalorian. It is fantastic and I will review it after the season finale.