I liked this movie more than The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, but just because something doesn’t suck, doesn’t mean it is good. “Jar Jar” Abrams is the king of making mediocrity seem like art. The movie is colorful, flashy, and sometimes cute, but there was not enough substance or coherency to satisfy me; I would rather watch the prequels quite honestly. My suggestion, watch The Mandalorian on Disney Plus instead, that show is awesome and scratches my Star Wars itch just right.
I have been disappointed by the new Star Wars trilogy. George Lucas had always planned to make episodes seven, eight, and nine. Without his influence, these movies have lost their identity. They feel like hollow shells that have replaced story-telling with propaganda. Questions are left unanswered, story arcs are abandoned, and a general disrespect for the franchise as a whole is felt. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker tries to remedy the effects of the previous film, The Last Jedi,, but only comes off as being fanfare and damage control. Do not get me wrong, there are some fun aspects to The Rise of Skywalker, but it is a classic case of too little too late.
Movie-goers, Emperor Palpatine is back! How or why is not fully explained, although we all know that Supreme Leader Snoke made no sense at all. They write him off, saying he was only a puppet for the Emperor. The Once defeated Emperor has assembled an army of star destroyers with planet destroying capabilities on the hidden planet of the Sith known as Exegol. This feels like damage control and in true Abrams form, the easy way out. Just bring back the villain from the other movies. Easy right? Except that by bringing back Shiev Palpatine, you negate the sacrifice made by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi that redeems Luke’s father as Anakin Skywalker. It is lazy, unimaginative, and lame. They do make the Emperor look pretty scary and cool though.
On to our trio of heroes that were introduced in The Force Awakens. I do not know why Finn, Poe, and Rey feel such a kinship for one another. It does not feel earned or genuine. They have no chemistry and are used only as “woke” stereotypes of the age. Finn hardly does anything except feel the force once in a while, Poe Dameron is still bland and pointless, and Rey is Emperor Palpatine’s Granddaughter…sigh. They really screwed up the Rey character in The Last Jedi. Making her Palpatine’s granddaughter is a Hail Mary play and a desperate one at that. I hate all three of these characters.
The First Order is transforming into the Final Order under the rule of once fallen Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Kylo Ren is the new Supreme Leader, and wants to kill Emperor Palpatine so that his authority cannot be challenged. Kylo Ren’s character arc was my favorite part of the movie. He becomes good. I enjoyed seeing Ben Solo emerge and help Rey defeat the Emperor, but it is short lived as he dies at the end. A bad habit of Star Wars is making a character cool then killing them off prematurely. We saw this with Darth Maul, Admiral Ackbar, and now with Ben Solo.
The story makes no sense. Rey and Kylo Ren have a force link where they can actually transport items through space instantaneously to each other and Rey can heal people with the force. The Emperor absorbs that force energy to get younger at the climax, but Rey beats him with the help of an additional lightsaber, which was all it took, one more lightsaber…sigh. At least nobody was flying through space (I am looking at your Carrie Poppins). We see a flashback to Luke training Leia in the ways of the Jedi. We hear Yoda, Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end cheering Rey on. We see Ewoks for a moment. C-3PO gets his memory wiped, but then gets it back in a fake out. Rey dies then comes back in a fake out. Chewbacca is presumed dead then comes back in a fake out. This movie tried so hard to make the errors of the past correct that it tripped over its own feet continuously and I left feeling faked out.