Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

Alright, it’s over. Can we stop fighting now? Can we stop placing blame on groups of people who didn’t like X or Y in this recent trilogy of Star Wars? With the release of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker we finally see the end of the Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson burning of the previous 6 movies, decades of extended universe material, and just about anything that was a part of the Pre-Rey era, to the god damn ground is over. So can we please just finally put this saga into history and leave it there where it belongs?

Nope… Well time for a review then.

Title: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd. & Bad Robot Productions
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams & Michelle Rejwan
Starring: 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 & Billy Dee Williams
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas
Release dates: December 20, 2019 (United States) / December 19, 2019 (Australia)
Running time: 141 minutes
Rating: PG13 (United States) / M15+ (Australia)

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The Story, in a non-spoiler version (If you want a complete breakdown of the story that was leaked with 90% accuracy, then check out Reddit), Rise of the Skywalker starts things off with two stories that run side by side. On one side we have Rey training with Leia on the planet that the Rebellion has escaped to after the events of The Last Jedi. On the other path, we have Rylo-Ken fighting his way to find a Sith GPS that leads him to the somehow still alive Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine offers to give Rylo-Ken the universe by activating The Final Order, a huge armada of Star Destroyers that rise out of nowhere. From here there are a lot of things happening in order to do two things: Find Palpatine and end the threat of The Final Order. There is a bunch of junk about Rey and Rylo-Ken having a deeper connection to the force and themselves that they discover throughout the film, including the parentage of Rey.

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

  • Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa
    Poor Carrie, you deserved so much better. I’m not sure how they did everything with her since she passed not long after The Last Jedi, but somehow anything, where you see Leia on screen, looks like 1990s green-screen effects with Carrie looking washed out and badly inserted into any scene. Luckily they kept her part in Rise of Skywalker to a minimum as I’m guessing there was not much footage to use, but having her death be done in the same way as Luke’s in The Last Jedi but worse is probably the biggest misstep and injustice of the whole film. Leia that I knew wouldn’t go out like that, she would have rather died in a bombing run or something fitting the badass she was not only in the movies but in life as well.
  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
    Dude appears for one final time as an extended cameo, renouncing the fact that he exiled himself and succumb to his fears where it came to Rylo and The First Order. His only role here is to give Rey a pep talk and present her with Leia’s lightsaber when Rey loses all hope after the second Sith GPS was destroyed and she loses her chance at finding Palpatine. Hamill’s performance lacks any emotion or weight as by this time it was widely known that Hamill disagreed openly with the direction his iconic character had gone and just didn’t give a shit anymore, and it shows.
  • Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
    Kylo-Ren is someone I wished the movie was about. In this final movie, we finally see the conflict inside himself come full circle and he goes from being obsessed with power and controlling Rey to redeeming himself for the problems he has not only caused with his own family and Rey, but also the force in general. Though he is a Sith till the end, getting a last-second redemption by giving his life force to Rey to save her life at the cost of her own. Driver’s acting has become a lot better than what it was when I first saw him in The Force Awakens, and the fact that he finally had development in character makes me wish they did this trilogy about him instead of Rey.
  • Daisy Ridley as Rey
    She’s still a Mary-Sue who can do no wrong. From the first scene she appears levitating herself and about 30 rocks off the ground with no effort, to the ending where she fries Palpatine with his force lightning via lightsabers, Rey is PERFECT. She doesn’t fail at anything, she knows and masters Force powers without any training or knowledge, she just happens to know exactly where everything is at all times and can do amazing things like cut a tie fighters wing off with her back turned to the machine flying at her at high speeds. Rey does no wrong. Hell when she learns of her parentage, she throws it all aside to call herself a Skywalker at the end of the film, throwing a huge plot point out the window because “reasons?”. Ridley is the same plain emotionless fan fiction character that she has been since The Force Awakens and nothing changes.
  • John Boyega as Finn
    Finn spends a lot of time being the “go-to guy” when shit needs to be done. He does the repairs on the Falcon, he has the plan that ultimately brings down The Final Order. But he doesn’t get much expansion beyond that. They do a small part during the third act about finding a group of defectors who were also Stormtroopers. I think we need a mini-series about Finn to really give this character justice and development. Boyega got sidelined in this one to a minion role and then given the chance to be the big thing only for others to take the credit. A shame.
  • Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron
    Poe gets a small bit of character development, we get to know a bit about his backstory as a Spice Runner. Other than that he was just a pilot who ends up in a position of power after Leia’s death only to be bogged down by the sudden burden of leadership and a loss of hope… Then suddenly gets his hope back and passes leadership to the guy who is doing everything in Finn. Isaac is a good guy who comes across as doing his character well but at the same time, he just lacks something, anything, to make him interesting.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
    Poor C-3PO, dude spends most of the movie getting shit on by Poe only to have his mind wiped away to help the McGuffin of the story, then get restored to somewhere between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi memories thanks to R2-D2. C-3PO does have his moments though, the whole “I’m having one last look at my family” moment brings a tear to the eye, and he has a couple of funny moments too, but a lot of his time he is a shitkicker and bullied too much.
  • Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca
    The true heart of the movie. Suotamo as Chewbacca does it all in this movie. You feel sad for him when you need to, especially when Chewbacca learns of Leia’s death… So emotional. Thought Chewbacca is used in a rescue plot early on, complete with a fake death, the rest of the time we get to see everything from funny moments, to emotional moments and great action moments that we haven’t seen since the Episode IV days. Chewbacca is looking good for a 250-year-old Wookie.
  • Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico
    The almighty Rose Tico is turned into a background character, spending more time on twitter than she did in this movie. Good riddance.
  • Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine / Darth Sidious
    Ok, say what you will about Palpatine surviving not only his force lightning, but the huge fall from the Death Star into open space and all that, but Palpatine is a trip no matter what version you get. McDiarmind channels his corny version from the prequel trilogy and ramps it up to 100 in Rise of Skywalker. A majority of the time he really does nothing, but then that changes in the third act where he causes so much shit all at once that you think this going to have a non-textbook ending… Only to be undone through the EXACT SAME THING that caused his “Death” in Return of The Jedi (aka his own force lightning) once again… Bullshit!
  • Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian
    Ok, for someone who did nothing in Rise of Skywalker, it was good to hear smooth-talking Lando being back in things. From the second he reveals himself with the line “Wookies stand out in a crowd” to his final line about being from the “Colt45 system”, Williams is a delight and thank god he was the only character who didn’t get screwed over with a death or something as one of the old guards.

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

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Rise of Skywalker isn’t a good movie, but not a bad movie either. You get what you expect from the Star Wars series. You get lightsabers, amazing fight scenes, space battles and some interesting characters doing interesting things. I’ll begin things with the sets, specifically the ones where Rey and Kylo fight during force projection… skype call… bond? I’m sure the method they are using as it is NEVER EXPLAINED, but using two different locations in some nice panning shots gives a surreal look to the scenes that hasn’t been done before. Speaking of scope, there is one shot in the third act where just about a million ships arrive out of nowhere in a shot that made my inner fanboy smile so huge it might be illegal.

Character-wise, I think there are good moments mostly from second or third-tier characters. Finn & Chewbacca are interesting and do most of the work in Rise of Skywalker without getting any of the credit. Hell, even C-3PO gets a couple of good jokes in too. Hell, even Kylo gets a good character arc and development in this film. But that’s only one main character who gives a decent performance, the rest is just a bunch of things being thrown together to try and do something after The Last Jedi.

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

Ok, here we go, here comes the controversy.

The Last Jedi changed so much about everything with its mandate of “Burn everything the past built to the ground” that this film is trying to make everyone happy, but ultimately pleasing no one. Rise of Skywalker keeps all the bullshit Mary-Sue crap with the Rey character, despite actually hinting at what would have been an amazing heel turn with the Sith version of Rey showing up for a moment and looking badass. But they don’t follow up with it as Rey has and always will be this paragon of perfection as a Jedi. Kylo also puts in a good performance and even gets a great couple of moments to redeem himself and turn to the light side of the Force, but nope, he sacrifices himself to save Rey’s life. Again, a character with interest and development gets sacrificed to keep the overpowered Mary-Sue going. It sucks.

Not to mention too much about the plot holes that happen because of previous stuff suddenly being told. One prime example is Leia training Rey. We all know that Leia is not a fully trained Jedi, same as Luke before her. So why is Leia training Rey in the first place? That’s like giving a rookie wrestler a bunch of people to train. You don’t learn anything from someone who has not completed their training. Another plot hole is Palpatine being alive… Why? Because we needed a bigger bad guy to appear so that Kylo could be redeemed and sacrificed. And that final plot point that remains open is the worst: Why in the finale didn’t Maz kiss Chewbacca?

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Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

Rise of Skywalker is the result of trying to please too many people at once and ultimately pleasing no one. All the missteps from The Last Jedi are still around in this and some are even made worse, but at the same time, Abrams tried to fix the issues and please the fans that have been upset with the direction of Star Wars too. The result is a big mess that unfortunately results in Rise of Skywalker being an average movie to sit through and only 4 hours after watching it I don’t remember as much as I did with previous films. At the end of it all, this trilogy is done and dusted. So maybe instead of placing blame on one group or another, let’s just let this trilogy end and just be.

Don’t believe the media bullshit, Rise of Skywalker is not a movie that panders to man-baby, right-wing, anti-women, basement-dwelling, gate-keeping nerd fanboys. Rise of Skywalker is a result of pandering to the other “woke” crowd too. Both sides are to blame for the end of the trilogy’s trilogy. We need to remember that blaming others for not agreeing with our opinions is not “wrong” or constitutes some sort of evil, it’s just opinion. You can have yours, I can have mine, and the world continues to turn regardless. Please remember this in your comments and discussions. Maybe when we learn to treat each other and our opinions with respect and tolerance, then maybe Hollywood would stop pandering to either side and just make good movies once again.

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Summary

When you try to please everyone, you please no one. Rise of Skywalker is a film that has been ruined by trying to appeal to both groups of Star Wars fans that emerged since this sequel trilogy began, leaving a movie that is disjointed, takes risks, feels safe and doesn’t do what could have been interesting in the end.

Pros

  1. Kylo-Ren got a great redemption arc
  2. Palpatine is still corny as ever
  3. Chewbacca is the emotional heart
  4. Amazing ideas in fight scenes between Rey and Kylo

Cons

  1. Rey is still a flawless Mary-Sue
  2. Characters like Finn are used well but dropped in favor of keeping Poe or Rey going
  3. Plot holes everywhere
  4. Media protection of The Last Jedi continues hate against those who disagree with previous film
  • Overall Score
Overall
2.5

About The Author

Karl Smart
Senior Editor / Reviewer

The main "Australian arm" of The Outerhaven. Karl primarily spends time playing and reviewing video games while taking time to occasionally review the latest movie or piece of gaming technology.