REVIEW: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”; Overcorrecting Episode 8 Makes for a Disappointing Conclusion to the Skywalker Saga

“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” – Kylo Ren, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

And for me, that is my biggest problem with “The Rise Of Skywalker”… Whoever was in charge of the decisions made for this movie had a complete lack of respect for George Lucas, the fans of the Original and Prequel trilogies, and even some of the major characters of the previous Star Wars trilogies. They only catered to a third of the fan base of the Star Wars saga, and even that fan base is divided. The backlash is going to be massive among many Star Wars fans, and Disney only has itself to blame by not anticipating the impact that some choices made in this movie will have on Star Wars fans.

Is there any good in this movie? Definitely. Both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver have performed excellently throughout this trilogy. Neither of them have ever been a problem in the series. Rey has always been the reluctant hero that has grown throughout the series. Kylo Ren has always been the conflicted villain that has struggled with who he was meant to be. In a way, both are two sides of a coin. They are the only ones that truly understand each other. Under different circumstances, the two of them would be a perfect couple, his Ying to her Yang, or maybe vice versa. Unfortunately, it is their wills and their convictions that keep them apart. This trilogy has always been about Rey and Kylo Ren, and mostly everything else was just filler. It’s good to see their story conclude.

With the passing of Carrie Fisher before this trilogy was complete, Abrams had the task of respectfully honoring the late actress and her character’s storyline. What Abrams did was very well done and it provides closure to General Leia Organa’s character. This movie would have been vastly different if Fisher was still alive at the time of filming. Sadly, we will never know how much of an impact her character would have on the overall film.

The visual effects are absolutely stunning at times. There are some truly memorable and epic moments that really stand out. There is also a lot of callbacks made to several characters in the Star Wars saga that will make fans smile just to see them, or in some cases, hear them.

John Williams rarely disappoints with his score and this time, it is probably his best in this trilogy. I’m glad that he was able to complete the music for the final chapter in the saga and it is quite an accomplishment that he was able to score all nine movies in the saga and come up with some classic themes for each trilogy.

Finally, it was nice to see C-3PO shine again. This is probably one of C-3PO’s and Anthony Daniels’ best performances in the Star Wars saga. His story was very heartfelt, and his comical moments worked every time.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good, and you have to begin with the story. It’s convoluted, feels rushed, and sometimes it is just plain boring. And the conclusion, although satisfying for some, is just going to create so much hate and disdain in the Star Wars community. I am sure that they were well aware of this, but it seems like they decided to move forward with their narrative to push their own agenda.

Another failure with this trilogy is other than Rey and Kylo Ren, no other characters have emerged as standouts. In the original trilogy, practically everyone was a standout character. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando. Even R2-D2 and C-3P0 were all standout characters.

Finn was an interesting character in “The Force Awakens”, a stormtrooper that defects to the Resistance. After that, he had nothing to do except endlessly pine for Rey, who really doesn’t want to give him the time of day. It’s like watching a schoolboy going after a girl who just sees him as a friend. It’s embarrassing to watch in real life and it isn’t much better in this movie. And now that this trilogy is over, I’m glad that I don’t ever have to hear Finn scream “Rey!” on that the top of his lungs ever again! Yeah… that’s never going to get her to like you, dude.

Poe was also great in “The Force Awakens”, but after that movie, he was perceived as a hot-headed dope. I don’t know if it’s Oscar Issac or Poe, but neither of them have the best comic timing. Just fly and kill people, that’s all we want to see. He’s a little better in this movie, but I still felt his character could have been much better overall.

It was good to see Billy Dee Williams back, but it would have been even nicer to have seen him much earlier in the series, maybe working with Han and Chewie, in “The Force Awakens”. It would have even worked better in “The Last Jedi” if Lando could have had some scenes with Leia. Come on! Lando had a significant role in defeating The Empire! It just seems like a case of too little, too late.

The Emperor is just bad in this movie. He really feels like a last-minute substitute for Snoke, after Ryan Johnson killed him off in “The Last Jedi”. It’s never revealed how he survived after being killed by Darth Vader at the end of “Return of The Jedi”. It really feels like they assumed that everyone has seen the trailers for “The Rise of Skywalker” revealing The Emperor, so we don’t have to explain how he is here. This isn’t much of a spoiler, but they actually reveal him in the opening crawl! That is just lazy storytelling. Abrams has been saying since last year, that from the very beginning of this trilogy, it was always their intention to bring The Emperor back. If that was the case, he would have been seen in “The Last Jedi” in the final scene as a cliffhanger. Not in the opening crawl of the last film!

Disney and Management are mainly to blame for the film’s pitfalls, with abrupt, unexplained changes to the storyline based on fan feedback and corporate decisions, rather than creative choices by filmmakers.

Lucasfilm never had a plan for the three movies. Kathleen Kennedy was confident that each director would come up with their own fascinating story for each movie and that it would eventually lead to a final conclusion. And when you go along with that line of thinking, “The Rise Of Skywalker” happens.

When “The Force Awakens” came out, I was excited over the potential of future movies expanding the Star Wars saga. Abrams and Kennedy had the opportunity of uniting a divided fan base by bringing them together with a satisfying conclusion to the Star Wars saga for all fans. But after “The Force Awakens”, they chose to ignore that fan base and felt that pushing their agenda was more important to them than telling a good story and making everyone happy. Abrams was asked recently about the potential backlash from fans, and his response was,“You can’t please everyone”. Well, you can’t if you don’t try. “The Mandalorian” is a perfect example that proves that you can get a divided Star Wars fan base to universally like something Star Wars again. Help us, John Favreau, you’re our only hope!

This movie is really for a new generation of Star Wars fans, and I am sure they will enjoy it. I just don’t like that they’ve lessened the impact of some classic characters in order to make the new characters shine. Without a doubt, there are some spectacular moments in this movie, but it could have been a lot greater without dividing the fan base even further.

I give “Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker” a 6/10.

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Debbie Churchill
Debbie Churchill
9 months ago

I agree. The cinematography was outstanding and I liked that we got to see a variety of environments. C3PO’s story provided the only levity. I laughed a nostalgic laugh every time he introduced himself to someone. The main storyline was contrived, predictable and little more than a rehash of all that’s gone before. I liked it, but I wanted to leave feeling euphoric and I didn’t.

Don
Don
9 months ago

I liked the movie. I saw “A New Hope” in 1977 when it opened, and I’ve liked most of the movies for one reason or another. Yeah, the prequel trilogy less-so. I’m guessing you didn’t see “A New Hope” on its first release, or don’t remember much of that first viewing, but I don’t consider myself a “new” fan.

Randy senna
Randy senna
9 months ago

And so goes the problems with buying someone else’s story, and making it your own…

Trying to please a fan base is impossible, because their expectations can never be realized..

When you create NEW stories there are no expectations, and you can wow the audience…

Hannah
Hannah
9 months ago
Reply to  Randy senna

That’s not the case with Marvel or with Star Wars’ own The Mandalorian. So it would seem fans can be pleased. The problem here weren’t the fans’ expectations, it was that the people in charge were people who don’t like the product and don’t get it, so they tried to change it into something that it’s not. That’s just not smart business.

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin
9 months ago

I don’t like this!

Daniel
Daniel
9 months ago

Rise of Skywalker is incredible. It is a manic film, with terrible pacing and massive logic and story jumps, but the fact that they took a trilogy that was going nowhere good after 2 films and turned it into straight fan service is fine with me. Rey and Kylo both gain depth in this film, Dameron actually has good lines, and Rose just gets completely muted which is great because her character was easily the worst aspect of TLJ. I would change your headline to “Course-Correcting Episode 8 makes for an uneven film but a very satisfying Conclusion to the… Read more »

Doug
Doug
9 months ago

They have unfortunately followed the classic Greek mythology storylines of heroes becoming less so as they got older. In these movies the heroes of the original trilogy are treated like that time was their best moment in life and then they just screwed things up after the party in the ewok village until they died. Where have Luke’s former Jedi students been? Why kill the old crew off? Why get in a slow chase until your ships run out of gas when they could have split up and re-grouped later (they already said they could only track the main ship).… Read more »

doug
doug
9 months ago

sounds like most of your issues are that things “didn’t happen earlier in the series,” or that “this was good in TFA and then what happened?” so you just don’t want to admit that the last jedi was not good, and that this movie had to fit 2 movies worth of storytelling into one.

Scott
Scott
9 months ago

I appreciate your thoughts, Joe, though surprisingly I quite enjoyed the new film, and felt it the best of the sequel trilogy. I’m also a child of the 70’s and much prefer the OT and Rogue One and The Mandalorian, and I think the returning characters and even the score do as much to hurt the sequel films by a manifestation in Star Wars fatigue as they do to enhance it. Of course, there are many who feel that Galaxy’s Edge should have contained more OT elements, but the backlash to the most recent SW films speak otherwise, and I… Read more »

maghghan
maghghan
9 months ago

Odd use of the loaded word “agenda.” What exactly are you implying their agenda is, besides trying to sell as many tickets as they can?

Tim L
Tim L
9 months ago

I think the character of Rey is great, really just instantly iconic. Even seeing a collage aged cast member in Hollywood Studios dressed as Rey, people and kid’s reaction is always “oh wow, there she is!”, but I feel like she kind of gets lost in the mess of these new films. Watching the final scene of “Rise of Skywalker” I felt like I’d really want to see Daisy/Rey in some “new” Star Wars films that aren’t entangled in the stories of the past ones. Whether it would be Episode 10 or not really doesn’t matter to me, I just… Read more »

StacyH
StacyH
9 months ago

Not a new fan, and I’m happy. And my 9yo and 7yo son – new fans who saw all 1-9 in the last six months – LOVED it. Everything worked for them. And there was a lot that was in line with the Clone Wars cartoon, Resistence and Rebels.

They are the target. And they hit it.

I – and old fan who saw RoJ in theaters at age like 1 – am still bitter about what they did to Luke. But I enjoy any time in the Star Wars universe. And this was fun entertainment.

Seattleite
Seattleite
9 months ago

I’m a long time SW fan. I grew up watching the OT. The problem with a lot of older Star Wars fans is that they refuse to move on and complain no matter what. Not even Lucas could re-create the magic of the OT with the prequels, so stop blaming Disney and Kathleen Kennedy for it. Lucas could have made episodes 7-9 but instead sold the franchise. Was the new trilogy perfect? No, but at least they were fun and somewhat interesting. TFA & TRoS were basically “fan service” rehash of SW & RotJ and when anything new as incorporated,… Read more »

A Voice In The Wind
A Voice In The Wind
8 months ago

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. You speak of ‘a complete lack of respect for George Lucas’. Where are you coming from with this? What agenda bothered you man? You’re carrying an empty blaster around. The so called fans are the ones who ran Lucas off after the prequels. Fast-forward to JJ directing TFA and he is suddenly the bad guy, but then TLJ comes out and suddenly Rian is the sith lord we’ve been looking for. Now it’s back to evil JJ with claims of too much fan service. Well Rian got in trouble for killing the… Read more »

Chase
Chase
8 months ago

The Star Wars franchise has been increasingly subjected to scrutiny and held up to high standards. This marks a departure from what Star Wars originally aimed at, which was creating a crazy new space adventure. Anything was possible in the first Star Wars, and fans didn’t know what to expect. This is exactly what “The Rise of Skywalker” delivers on. In spite of shouting from “true” Star Wars fans and critics who are only pleased by movies that match up with their political agenda, the end to the third Star Wars trilogy is just a good movie. These fans who… Read more »

RiseForTheRiseOfSkywalker
RiseForTheRiseOfSkywalker
8 months ago

Just got back from seeing this and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! Yes there were a few moments where I was like, “what the…?” But I quickly remembered that it’s a movie and suspended disbelief again. I was wary going in as I have heard all of the comments you guys have made on the site but did my best to avoid spoilers and am so glad I did. I was blown away by the story, the action, the acting, and the visuals. I get that it’s your job to over analyze but there comes a point when enough is enough and… Read more »