Review: The Rise of Skywalker
By Ethan Cannistra, Staff Writer
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the final film in the Star Wars Skywalker saga. The movie tells the story of Rey, Fin, and Poe as they seek to destroy the First Order for good. However, Emperor Palpatine has returned and with a new fleet of ships that he calls the Final Order. The Rebellion must now devise a plan to not only stop the First Order but also the emperor.
Watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker makes it clear that Lucasfilm and Disney did not have an overarching plan for the final trilogy of the Skywalker saga. A majority of the film’s runtime consists of undoing key plot points that had been established in the previous film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Important character development unravels and storylines that were resolved resurface. The Rise of Skywalker failed to secure its own identity and instead is overly concerned with fixing the mistakes from previous installments. As a result, the film is boring to watch and ultimately very predictable.
While Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker clearly tries to revise choices made in previous movies, this film also aims to please viewers by including moments that serve solely as fan service. These fan service moments completely contradict established rules and storylines that have been previously settled in other Star Wars films. For example, Emperor Palpatine was killed at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; however, his sudden reappearance in this movie is never explained or addressed. Palpatine is only in The Rise of Skywalker to excite the audience.
The most important aspect of movie that J.J. Abrams had to get right was making Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feel like a complete ending not only to this trilogy of films but to the entire saga. One way that Abrams attempted to accomplish this task was by including Palpatine in the movie, making him the overarching villain of the nine film saga. However, Palpatine’s involvement in the film came off as forced and unnecessary. Another way that Abrams attempted to connect the nine movies was by including Carrie Fisher in The Rise of Skywalker, even though she passed away in 2016, by using some of her unused footage from The Force Awakens. While it was great to see Carrie Fisher playing Princess Leia onscreen one last time, she should not have been included in the movie. Fisher’s inclusion felt forced and unnatural. Unfortunately, Princess Leia’s involvement in the film is another aspect of The Rise of Skywalker that just missed the mark.
While The Rise of Skywalker does suffer from some major problems, there are some good aspects within the film. Specifically, the interaction between the characters was great. The chemistry between Rey, Fin, and Poe was the best out of all off the new Star Wars movies. There were also some great moments with original trilogy characters such as Lando Calrissian.
Nevertheless, these aspects were not enough to save the film. With several unnecessary characters and too much focus pleasing fans, The Rise of Skywalker suffers from the lack of vision that started with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.