Episode Sigh: The Rise of Skywalker
**SPOILERS AT THE END**
I’m surprisingly fine after seeing it last night. That may come as a shock to those of you reading my past criticisms of this Disney Sequel trilogy. But I walked out fine. I want to say ‘satisfied’ but that’s probably too strong a word right now. Fine is the better word.
JJ Abrams actually gave us an entertaining finale. HOWEVER, some of that entertainment veered into SCHLOCK territory. Especially the final third or so. When I mean schlock it’s in an endearing way. If you read this site enough you know we love schlock. And good schlock is hard to come by but it can totally transform a bad or weak flick into something interesting and entertaining. Schlock is powerful.
My last post was a rant on all the questions I had before seeing the final product. And I have to say the one major gripe I had was the bond and camaraderie between the three main characters. This film helped that considerably. In fact, most of the movie they are working side by side finally and their chemistry was improved. It still sucks that Carrie Fisher passed away and hindered what could have been her last appearance. But I’m happy to say that for the most part, they did a decent job incorporating what deleted footage they had to work*. I will put an asterisk next to the text that is SPOILERY and place it at the end of the post.
I’m also thankful they didn’t use time travel at all. But The Knights of Ren and the Sith Troopers were, as I predicted, completely useless and unnecessary. I think you saw the Sith Troopers for 20 seconds of screen time and all they did was shoot blasters at the Resistance fighters.
Lando was used very sparingly and almost unnecessarily as well. He could’ve been replaced by any new character and it wouldn’t have much mattered. However, he did pilot the Falcon again with Chewie and gave us some OT fan service.**
The big issue I had with this movie was the shoehorning in for Palpatine. And everything involving him was where the schlock is. If you thought he was comical in the prequels, then well get ready for the biggest ham feast you ever had. Every line of dialogue of his was some of the worst of the franchise. And his ultimate plan and involvement was so forced and contrived I had a hard time trying to enjoy the movie because I was questioning too much. Suffice to say, they had no choice after Snoke’s death and needed a bigger baddie than Kylo Ren and this is all they had. The worst part was they never explained how he survived his death in ROTJ.***
I’m still processing the movie and there was a lot to take in so I may do another review done the line or maybe just nitpick it for shits and giggles but I still think we could’ve gotten a way worse chapter. This movie did make me enjoy these characters more. The fan service wasn’t cringe-worthy (for the most part). I can easily see this again in the theatres if someone wanted to go. Maybe I’ll take the my kids if they really wanted to see it. But yeah, it was a let-down sequel trilogy that felt rushed, overblown and miscalculated with non-compelling heroes and villains basically using the same tropes as the past trilogies.
I would have to say I recommend this and that if you hated The Last Jedi, this is kinda a repudiation of that film because this is closer in tone and feel to The Force Awakens.
SCORE: 8 General Hux Still Sux (out of ten)
Now I’d like to chat about Spoilers so, this is a warning.
*Abrams had to put her face in complete shadow for her sacrificial demise but it was better than I guess how Ed Wood covered up his dentist’s face to play the deceased Bela Lugosi. But her demise was nicely done and they made sense of how she died as well.
**Not sure how I feel about having him heavily hit on the new character Jannah, which I first assumed they were alluding that she could be his daughter. Either way it was borderline creepy, even for Lando.
***Another issue I had was he had a plan involving Rey and when Kylo comes to her aid he totally changes his plan (or method to his plan) like it was nothing. It’s as if either way his plan was going to work. However, his plan still sucked either way.
One of my favorite moments is when Rey goes back to Ahch-To and throws Luke’s saber into a burning TIE fighter wreckage. The force ghost of Luke catches the saber and says “That’s no way to treat a Jedi sacred weapon” (or something along those lines) and if that’s not a fuck you to Rian Johnson, then I don’t know what is. It’s revealed in this scene though that Luke (and Leia) already knew who she was Palpatine’s granddaughter this whole time but hoped she would work out for the good guys. This bothered me for a few reasons, One, so they were OK having an actual descendant of a powerful Sith Lord walk around for 18 or so years and two, Why didn’t Palpatine kill his son if he was so worried about his offspring being a threat? I guess I’ll wait for the comic book to explain all this. But then the scene ends with tears in my eyes as Luke raises his old X-Wing out of the water like Yoda did in ESB.
More on Rey Palpatine. So she confronts Palpatine in the finale and like I said earlier, his whole plan is ridiculous but I want to keep this brief and I just want to nitpick the fact that the way she kills him is basically the same way Mace Windu made him deformed with catching his force lighting with her lightsaber. But I guess a Jedi would need two lightsabers like Rey had to actually kill him. If only Mace Windu knew that, he may still be alive. The issue I have is that it was a very boring way to kill him. It was already established earlier in the film that she can wield force lighting too so why not use that to fight him. OR, if you allow me to rewrite this I would’ve had her absorb all the force lighting, Palpatine thinks she’s dead but she then uses all his energy to incinerate him when she grabs him or something.
Another aspect of the finale was Kylo is Ben Solo again (more on that in a moment) and comes to her rescue and she gives him (through force astral projection—which is the de facto deus ex machina of the Star Wars universe now) Luke’s saber and she uses Leia’s saber. I think it would’ve been more fitting if he used Leia’s saber since he is, you know, her son. Minor nitpick but would’ve been nicer. I also think Leia’s saber should’ve been a totally new color, not just Rey’s (which was pale yellow for some reason).
So we all knew Kylo would redeem himself but it wasn’t done in the most compelling way. He’s force called by Leia (which is all the power she had left and that’s how she dies) and during his distraction, Rey mortally stabs Kylo. But then she force heals him! Yeah there’s force healing now! Which at first was cool and made sense as a force power when Rey healed the cave serpent in that one scene but force resurrection is a bit of a stretch. Especially for these two characters. Only a master Jedi like Yoda should be able to have such power. But anyway, she saves his life and he has an epiphany and becomes Ben Solo again. Then Leia has another power and that’s to force project the memory of Han Solo to talk to his son. While it was nice to see Harrison as Solo again, this scene was a tad weird. Felt like the ending to Field of Dreams.
The Evil Rey scene was completely pointless. I won’t even go into that because it only lasted like 2 minutes.
And the only explanation to Snoke was that Palpatine made him to get to Ben Solo to turn him too Kylo Ren. If that’s true, then why did he make him into this wizened old man with a scary damaged face? Wouldn’t it make more sense to create a decent handsome looking gentleman to tempt someone to the Dark Side? So dumb.
Another nice moment was when Maz Kanata (yeah, remember her?!) gave Chewie Luke’s old medal from the finale of A New Hope. Nice to see the Wookiee finally getting his due. Oh and we also see Wicket W. Warrick and some other Ewoks for no apparent reason other than to sell toys. What’s that? No one is buying Star Wars toys anymore? Oooooh.
One more nitpick but it’s a decent one. The Sith Dagger. This was a really dumb MacGuffin if I ever saw one. So the gang need to find a Sith artifact to track down another Sith artifact to find the location of the Sith planet. They find this dagger with Sith language on it that 3PO can’t read due to some Old Republic law. This isn’t dumb but Kinda neat since it was probably a good reason to prohibit Sith language in the Old Republic. What was dumb is that Rey uses it Goonies-style to find the location of the other artifact on the Death Star wreckage by using the blade as a visual guide sort of like an octant that sailors use to measure horizon lines. (I think that’s what it does—whatever) At no point did the language on the blade explain where to stand or how far to find that exact horizon line of the wreckage to line up to. It was all sheer dumb luck she figured it all out.
But that’s not really what bothered me about the dagger. What bothered me was it was never used as an actual dagger. It was never used as a weapon or used to stab something of importance. They could’ve used THAT as a way to kill Palpatine in an interesting way somehow. Or used it to open up something to use against Kylo, the useless Knights of Ren or something. It was used only as a weird Sith compass. And did the Emperor make that dagger just for that sole purpose…on the wreckage of the destroyed Death Star…that he was killed on…30+ years ago? The more I’m thinking about it hurts my brain. Moving on…
OK last one before I wrap this up: Finn’s Secret. At a few instances Finn made it a point to tell Rey that he has to tell her something but decides to wait. There’s even a scene where Finn, Poe and Chewie are about to be executed and Poe inappropriately asked Finn what the secret was. So there was this build-up to some secret involving Finn and Rey and they never followed through with it. It’s possible that in this rushed mess of a finale that I may have missed it (probably not since I asked multiple sources and they can’t recall it either) but it must’ve been so inconsequential to the actual story. So dumb of JJ and Co. to fudge this up. The only thing I can think of what his secret is that he thinks he’s force sensitive which the film (and I guess TFA also did) alluded to.
OK I’m done for now but like is said, it was fun entertaining schlock that didn’t completely piss me off or disappointed me enough to hate it.