By Luke Zielke
The Rise of Skywalker has a lot of good and a lot of bad. It is filled to the brim with action, danger, plotting, and reveals. All this starts at a breakneck pace, and never really slows down. This leads to the audience being unable to ever think about the movie until it’s finished. But ultimately when the credits rolled, I sat there with a smile on my face. I think The Rise of Skywalker is a good, fun yet flawed movie. I think Star Wars fans will get some enjoyment out of it, I know I did.
TROS has lots of fun and epic moments. Although it may seem like a lame positive, I was never bored during the film. Fun is something I personally felt was missing from a lot of The Last Jedi. Additionally, I thought the visuals and action were a blast to watch. I had a smile on my face for the majority of the movie.
Another part that I loved was the continued use of force connections between Kylo and Rey. I thought it was one of the more interesting parts of The Last Jedi, and I thought how they expanded it was well done. Being able to physically interact through this space was a cool way to have these to characters tethered. It was visually stunning, and it added a sense of danger and excitement.
Kylo Ren is one of my favorite characters, and after The Last Jedi I thought his character being evil was set in stone. But when his character flips after his fight with Rey on Endor, I was pleasantly surprised that the turn worked for me. While the moments of him remembering his father Han Solo was strange, I bought into it and enjoyed Kylo’s turn to the light, once again becoming Ben Solo.
Here are some quick other things I like that I think are worth mentioning.
Action scenes and lightsaber fights
Rey choosing to be a Skywalker
Finn’s understanding of the force
The major fault I have with The Rise of Skywalker is the trilogy itself, however, this is a much longer discussion for another day. I love the characters they gave us, but the story they put them in has too much drawn in from previous installments. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but The Force Awakens (a movie I do enjoy a lot) wasn’t a good kicking off point for the new trilogy. And The Last Jedi (a movie I don't like, but has great moments) didn’t continue the franchise in a good direction in my opinion. So The Rise of Skywalker had to try and appease fans from everywhere on the spectrum and “finish” the saga. It was a noble attempt, but it comes across as convoluted and busy, but in many ways, still safe.
Another huge problem this movie has is its pacing. There is just too much going on in the movie, and not enough room to breathe. You have a race against the clock to stop the Final Order army, Rey’s lineage, an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade quest, and so... many… side… characters. One of the problems I have with The Rise of Skywalker is that here in the finale, we are adding so many new characters. All these additions become pointless and uninteresting in the grand scheme of things.
Here are some quick other things I didn't like that I think are worth mentioning or could’ve been done better.
Ben and Rey’s kiss
Rey being a Palpatine
Leia was distracting
Confusing/Convoluted Final Act
This leads me to my last thought. This was the “final chapter” of the Skywalker Saga. But that does not mean that these character’s stories should end. I think it would be remiss of Disney and Lucasfilm to never revisit these characters. Not immediately, but eventually. Rey igniting her yellow saber at the end of IX made me realize that I don’t want to say goodbye to all these characters. I think there is more story to tell. One that isn’t going to be bogged down by Original Trilogy nostalgia. Does it need to continue? No, absolutely not. But the possibility of these character’s stories continuing either in a new trilogy or an animated series isn’t out of the question in my opinion.
Seeing Star Wars movies in the theater is one of my favorite things. I am sad that the Skywalker Saga came to such a muddy end. Instead of the grand finale we were all hoping for, it has become a mess of angry and divided fans bickering about which movies are worthy of being praised and which ones risk ruining the franchise. The Rise of Skywalker is an attempt at reinvigorating that spark of fandom that was once the great fan base of Star Wars. But in that attempt, I don't think they will grab everybody. I love Star Wars, and I enjoyed this last episode. I hope that you did as well.