Posted on December 30, 2019
TL;DR: A sketchy, shallow, overly busy but beautiful end to the Skywalker saga. Only really necessary for completists. For the record, I prefer The Last Jedi.
Rise of Skywalker has something in it for everyone, but if they blink, they’ll miss it. The movie seems overstuffed with shout outs and Easter eggs while at the same time servicing a too complicated plot. Add the army of incidental (some actually disposable) characters that need screen time and you’ve got a recipe for a movie with a lot of very quick scenes where poorly drawn characters deliver some unmotivated (and usually unnecessary) line readings.
SPOILERS for RISE OF SKYWALKER follow:
Do you ever look around the table and ask, “Do I really need to be at this meeting?” because some yahoo with a 27-point agenda invited a hundred people who each need one minute?
Before you send out that meeting invite (or release a Star Wars movie) always ask yourself, “What is this meeting about?”
I just got back from Rise of Skywalker and I can’t honestly answer that question. At one point it seemed to be about the superfluousness of the Jedi/Sith war. At another, I thought it might be about how you can still come back from evil if you only dip your toe in and kill one parent. Then I thought it might be a love story between Rey and Finn or Rey and Ben or Po and Finn.
If you don’t have something specific to say it’s very easy to end up with a movie that is chock full of action and fan service, but doesn’t add up to much as a film.
Also, don’t get me started on the rapidly expanding force powers that appear to be able to do anything in the moment it’s needed.
Whoever said it was right: Star Trek is science fiction, Star Wars is fantasy.
I loved the innovative take Rian Johnson took with Last Jedi. Throwing away the family name drama made it feel more real. JJA making Rey a Palpatine and then claiming the name of Skywalker just brought it all back to how an entire galaxy is rent asunder because of infighting between two trashy families.
Character development, which was so strong in TLJ, is really lacking in ROS. Even the main characters skate along the surface performing their functions and saying their lines quicker and with more urgency. We lose Rose Tico, one of the best new characters added to the SW universe in a long time, to a racist insurgency and the rest of the cast is wasted on sub-par dialogue.
It is beautiful, though. Seeing the star destroyers going down in flames at the end, the fight on the drowned death star, the kite festival (on a planet they destroyed for no narrative reason) are all beautifully rendered, but they are gorgeous paintings in a story that is otherwise inert.
Let’s be honest, you’re going to see it. You have to, right? But let’s say a prayer that Disney takes a beat after this and allows some creative people to come up with a new direction for the galaxy far, far away.