SPRINGFIELD- Disclaimer: There will be no major spoilers in the body of this review. Any plot points discussed are either known before the beginning of the movie or come up early on in the film.
Whenever I sit down to write something that will eventually be read by a larger audience than myself, I tend to sit and think for a bit about what information is going to be written and where in the story it fits best. This is the standard for just about any profession that involves any amount of writing.
Disney, the multi-billion dollar media conglomerate that is bordering on monopoly, apparently did not get that memo.
I recall in 2012, sitting in a high school classroom when someone in the class announced that another “Star Wars” trilogy would be coming out in the next decade. This prompted audible groans from those with the relatively fresh memories (myself included) of the mediocre-at-best prequel trilogy that had hit theaters around a decade earlier.
In a movie theater in Springfield on Sunday morning, I made the exact same groaning sound multiple times in a two-and-a-half hour span.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” disappointed me in ways that I was not expecting when I walked into the theater, and that feeling was felt immediately upon the iconic title crawl.
The first piece of information you are given in the movie is that Emperor Palpatine, who was last seen plummeting to the depths of a space station that was nuked minutes later, is apparently alive.
Considering that this is a movie about space wizards, planet killers, and faster-than-light travel, one would think a bit of suspension of disbelief would be in order, but the previous two “Star Wars” movies took away that option. There was no buildup, no hints, no small pieces of dialogue that indicated in any way that The Emperor was still alive in the previous movies.
By that metric alone, it is clear to me that neither Disney nor those whom they hired to film the movies had an overarching plan for how the trilogy was going to go before they made it. The culmination of this mistake is right in your face from the beginning to the end of the film.
J.J. Abrams can be a fantastic director, as even “The Force Awakens” was a decent enough film in a vacuum. However, there is very little he could have done to save a franchise for which there was no plan.
This movie seemed like it was either Abrams’ or Disney’s desire to cram as much fanservice and storytelling as they could into a single movie. Between the lines of dialogue that were literally copied and pasted from some of the older films for no reason and the random one-off interactions between characters that had little to no relevance to the story or eachother, I found it hard to really enjoy the movie as a “Star War”s film.
Of course, it is not the worst film I have ever sat through, and it is not even the worst “Star Wars” movie I have seen (“Attack of the Clones,” for the curious) but it seems like Disney’s resources and budget were wasted on this trilogy after seeing how it concludes.
That being said, it would be unfair to not say what I did like about the movie.
Every single “Star War”s movie, if nothing else, can lay claim to having one of the best musical scores in the business. John Williams set the golden standard in 1977 and that standard has aged gracefully, even in “The Rise of Skywalker”.
Carrie Fisher’s sendoff as Leia got me seriously emotional, even though it was placed in an odd way in the film. That can be forgiven in my opinion though due to Fisher’s untimely death a few years ago.
Finally, the ending I found satisfying enough, considering what lead up to it. That opinion is certainly controversial based on conversations with others who have seen the film, as there was serious groaning and eye rolling in response to one scene at the end (you will know it when you see it).
The ending though can only be considered satisfying if that is truly the end of the Skywalker saga on the big screen. I do believe that, through nine films, several TV shows, and many video games, it is time for the Skywalker story to be retired for good. The franchise has the benefit of having a massive amount of lore behind it beyond the 60 year period in which the films take place that can and should be explored.
That being said, I find it difficult to trust Disney to not screw it up in the name of money.
My overall score for the film: 5 out of 10.