If there were ever a lesson that should be taken away from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the new Star Wars trilogy as a whole, it’s that communication and follow-through is key to making a trilogy work. That, or just having one consistent creative voice rather than several, because this trilogy is a mess that is only connected by the bareness of threads. Does that make it a bad trilogy? Not necessarily.
I still love The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens and I even loved Rise of Skywalker. But none of those movies fit together. They just don’t. Rian Johnson completely disregarded the plans that Abrams had set up in his sequel, which caused director Colin Trevorrow to lose the plans for his Star Wars movie, and thus was fired by Kathleen Kennedy. This feels like the result of Abrams desperately trying to do one of several things: fix his plot lines that were set up in VII while fixing the plot holes made by VIII while also making a solid conclusion in IX. And does it work?
Yes and no, but he damn near succeeds.
Rise of Skywalker disregards most of VIII and a lot of VII. There are answers to some of the questions that were set, some of them obvious, some of them mind blowing, and some of them just made me go “REALLY?” There are also moments here that are amazing, shocking, and dumbfounded. These moments all depend on the fans’ perspective, but, in my case, I had a blast for most of this movie and it never lets up.
Like Infinity War, Fury Road, and Dunkirk, Rise of Skywalker is a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end with not a single dull moment or performance. Every actor here is on the top of their game, no matter how big or how small the screen time (cough, ROSE, cough).
To keep this as short as possible without possibly spoiling, go see Rise of Skywalker. While it does feel like a rushed finale, it is satisfying nonetheless. It’s emotional and powerful at times, with one scene in particular getting me teary-eyed. There’s fan service aplenty and a good story in the mix. But then I get feelings of disappointment due to how many things set up in previous movies that just never seemed to pay off. There’s one plot line with Finn that was almost executed here, but by the end, you realize that that’s not the direction he was ever going to go.
It’s just a shame that the whole trilogy couldn’t have remained consistent enough to warrant a perfect finale.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Stars as a standalone
3 out of 5 as a trilogy
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t perfect by any means. A troubled production brought on by a studio head who wants to be a creative head but couldn’t, a predecessor that did nothing to help from a trilogy standpoint, and a writer/director who had so much on his shoulders that he tried to make everyone happy. And not everyone will be. With Star Wars, it’s impossible to do that anymore. I don’t know who’s to blame, but I think it might have to do with the leadership and need for a a consistent voice that can bring balance to the story.
The Rise of Skywalker might the end for the Skywalker saga, but it shouldn’t be the end for Star Wars. There is a filmmaker out there, someone who will bring Star Wars back to the glory that it deserves. J.J. Abrams is definitely someone who cares and if this movie proves anything, it proves how much he cares. But it also proves that maybe Disney owning Star Wars wasn’t as good a deal as we originally thought.