‘Rise of the Skywalker’ falls short

Reviews

Trying to figure out how to properly end a trilogy is no doubt quite difficult. Trying to figure out how to end an entire saga that is probably one of the most popular movie franchises in history can be a bit trickier. Trying to do both in a way that pleases everyone: impossible.

The ninth installment of the Star Wars saga was released on December 20, 2019. Raking in a rather disappointing $374 million in its opening weekend, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” did not live up to most fans’ expectations.

After the controversial eighth installment, “The Last Jedi,” fans were hoping for a better way to end the trilogy/saga. Director JJ Abrams took the reigns from “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson and made a seemingly half-hearted attempt at returning to the style of previous installments such as episode one “A New Hope” and episode seven “The Force Awakens.”

Most fans consider “The Force Awakens” to be one of, if not the, best of the saga. Abrams was also the director of that film, so it was even more disappointing that he didn’t live up to his first project with the franchise.

Abrams did return to the style of previous films and did a pretty good job at making the plot feel like it did during the 80s at the peak of the franchise; however, the movie lacked in enrapturing most audience members’ attention.

Following the plot lines and character arcs of previously introduced characters like Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver), Finn (played by John Boyega), and Poe (played by Oscar Isaac), “Rise of Skywalker” does a mediocre job at giving everyone a journey and ending they deserve.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m actually a fan of the movie. It just didn’t live up to what I thought it was going to be.

The CGI was incredible, the soundtrack was extremely well fitting, and the acting on all parts was superb; the plot however, could have been improved upon a bit.

Honestly, it’s just lazy writing at this point to throw the audience back into the neverending question of who Rey really is.

If the writers wanted to make her character and this storyline the main one, then maybe they could’ve done a better job with it. Instead, they just made her the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, who’s supposed to be dead. Big whoop. Give me a better plot twist.

Daisy Ridley shone bright in this movie despite her character arc and writing. Her acting and mannerisms were spot on as usual and truly brought her character to life and allowed the audience to connect with her.

Other notable performances came from John Boyega and Adam Driver whose characters were both given better writing and arcs.

I’m personally a big fan of Kylo Ren which made his screen time that much more enjoyable for me – especially his character development throughout the movie and into the finale.

Sacrificing himself to save Rey proved to audiences that he is much more than just a kid who was drawn in by the dark side and that the dark side doesn’t have a permanent hold on anyone.

John Boyega was given good personal writing; however, his journey throughout the movie wasn’t as strong as it could have been. It was a whole lot of bouncing around the universe on a seemingly never ending quest to find a Sith pathfinder.

The highlights of this film were no doubt the appearances by familiar faces that all Star Wars fans know and love.

The late Carrie Fisher reprised her role as General Leia through the magic of CGI and unused footage from “The Force Awakens.” We may have lost Leia (for good) in this film, but seeing Carrie Fisher on the big screen again was certainly a treat for everyone.

Another returner caught most by surprise when he showed up in the middle of the movie out of nowhere on some obscure planet. Billy Dee Williams reprised his famous role as Lando Calrissian from the original trilogy and brought some much needed familiarity and sense of style that the older films held.

Both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford also reprised their roles as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, respectively.

Even though their characters had both died in previous movies, Hamill and Ford were able to continue their characters’ presence in a way that made the film feel like some of the original ones – a feat that JJ Abrams probably wouldn’t have been able to accomplish had it not been for their return.

This film follows the journey of the Rebel Alliance in their journey to try and stop the Final Order, under the control of Emperor Palpatine, from rising.

By incorporating stunning fight scenes, whether it was hand-to-hand combat, lightsaber duels, or ships being shot at in the middle of space, Abrams was able to successfully create a sense of danger and adrenaline.

Moving forward, there isn’t a clear path that the franchise will seemingly take in expanding upon the characters that audiences have come to know and love.

Wherever Disney takes us in the future in the cinematic universe about a galaxy far, far away, fans everywhere know that no matter what, we are in good hands.