Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Dept. of Not Mad, Just Disappointed


“I’ve got a bad feeling about this”

The feeling set in during the opening crawl. That’s never happened before.

I’ve no issues with time jumps (we’d need one after the state of The Resistance after The Last Jedi) or joining a Star Wars adventure in progress, but major, UNIVERSE CHANGING reveals in the opening crawl of a Star Wars? That just felt… odd.

The niggles grew. Our heroes have to use a honking huge fire hose as a USB cable to pass a message? Didn’t the map to Luke Skywalker fit on a USB key in The Force Awakens?

It’s probably just me.

It’s GOTTA be just me.

Things will surely settle down and I should relax back into that familiar Star Wars groove.

They didn’t.

The pace started at a breakneck speed and never let up.

A Millennium Falcon chase with TIE Fighters. Hyperspace Skipping. Rey training, villains returning, forbidden valleys, old faces, Zorii Bliss, Babu Frick, on and on it went but nothing was given any time to breathe.

New planets, faces both new and old, all introduced and then ushered off stage with all the grace of a kindhearted kindergarten teacher shepherding her unaware charges off stage between scenes in a nativity play.

I felt detached from it all.

When I’m swept up in your movie, I don’t think about plot holes or questions until well after, but the questions continued to mount.

A ship left on a planet for decades isn’t scavenged by the Jawas you showed earlier? A forbidden valley with a tourist industry? A major character seems to exit the franchise forever … until they don’t. A problem is introduced with C-3PO’s memory that feels like an unnecessary obstacle that is then easily overcome with any resulting repercussions undone immediately.

A knife fetch quest that makes no goddamned sense (how exactly did this work for the Sith’s everyday use? Why would you even need the knife once you’ figured out where it pointed).

It may feel like I’m nitpicking but I would have gladly swapped most of this to-in and fro-ing at light-speed for just spending more time with Rey, Finn and Poe just hanging out together. Lucasfilm had succeeded in creating new characters for me to care about, no mean feat, but now they seemed to be robbing me of meaningful time with them.

The Force Awakes easily swept me up in its nostalgia scented blanket.

I liked The Last Jedi overall even if I felt the excursion to Canto Bight introduced more questions than it answered (why doesn’t everyone escape in small ships like that?) and some of what passed for “humour” in that film didn’t work for me at all but The Rise of Skywalker left me as cold as the vacuum of space.

I know this is a story about space wizards and laser swords and it shouldn’t be beholden to lore or the dreaded canon, but even the most fantastical worlds and movies have some internal consistency.

The elimination of downtime in both Star Wars and Star Trek universes is one of J.J. Abrams biggest cinematic sins. It takes some time to get from Mos Eisley to Alderaan in A New Hope. Not much, but enough for a quick “Introduction to Jedi Training 101” and some conversation about “hokey religions and ancient weapons” that reveals a wealth of back story for the world and our characters. In the new J.J.-brams-verses, Vulcan is but an instant away from Earth and the Millennium Falcon can be pretty much anywhere in an instant. Everything is happening “NOW! NOW! NOW!”. Travel time is non-existent robbing audiences of time to just be with the characters.

In The Force Awakens Rey wears an old Rebellion pilot’s helmet and dreams of fighting The Empire. The Rise of Skywalker has a perfect payoff to that moment, but the audience isn’t given any time to savour it before it rushes on.

Nonsense deadlines (16 hours?) are introduced in an attempt to increase tension but they just end up raising more questions. And none of it feels necessary. Just say “We gotta find a Macguffin…and fast!”

Thanks to the all this flicking between planets and plot points, when the big emotional moments with Rey and Kylo Ren finally arrive (nothing of consequence really happens for Finn or Poe) they lack the emotional punch I presume the filmmakers were aiming for. This is the first film in this new trilogy that failed to wring a tear from this life long fanboy.

I haven’t even touched upon the issues with the introduction of a new friend for Finn, the sidelining of Rose, the introduction of Charlie from Lost (with bigger roles hinted at for both in the visual dictionary) the promotion of Snap Wexley to front line player and the return of THAT “big bad”.

All of this didn’t make me mad like the legions of fans who hate The Last Jedi for… reasons, just disappointed.

I’ve heard about the production troubles with director Colin Trevorrow departing the project, the sad passing of Carrie Fisher, and Abrams scrambling to make the release date but this is Stars Wars. I’d have gladly waited another year (or more!), for something that tied up the trilogy more enjoyably?

Yes, it would have been nice for each instalment in the sequel trilogy to be dedicated to one of the original cast, as originally planned, but once that was no longer possible, I wouldn’t have minded a pivot to something else.

For me this barely feels like a satisfying end to this sequel trilogy, never mind “The Skywaker Saga”, an unfair expectation that Disney marketing decided to tar the film with for some reason.

Still I’ve learned to let go of the anger, to not give into hate. The Rise of Skywalker didn’t “do it” for me, if it did “do it” for you, nice one. I’ll move on to looking forward to the last episode of The Mandalorian and dreaming of trilogies yet to come.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
142 minutes
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio
Story: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, J. J. Abrams, and Chris Terrio
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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