The Rise of Skywalker is getting absolutely destroyed by fans and critics alike so I want to start off by making it very clear that I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. I laughed. I cried. I gasped. But I won’t pretend like I didn’t spend my ride home from the theatre scratching my head attempting to figure out why JJ Abrams made some of those story decisions.
It’s a good movie. But I fully recognize that it is certainly not without flaw.
So let’s talk about what the hell went wrong with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
JJ Abrams was tasked with jump starting a brand new Star Wars trilogy and as far as character creation, he knocked that shit out of the park. Rey, Kylo and Finn were all unique characters in a Star Wars universe where everyone usually follows typical archetypes.
But he also filled The Force Awakens with all of these unnecessary mysteries, the most glaring being the identity of Rey’s parents. And then JJ walked away from the franchise and it was Rian Johnson’s job to plug all the holes that JJ intentionally created in the Star Wars boat.
I absolutely loved Rian’s decision to reveal that Rey’s parents were nobodies. Finally, a Star Wars protagonist that isn’t related to the Skywalkers. Her parents weren’t some powerful Jedis. Anyone in the Star Wars universe can be a hero.
Andddd then JJ was asked to come back for Rise of Skywalker and said ‘nah, fuck all that shit. Rey is a Papaltine’ thus erasing the powerful message of The Last Jedi. Nope, in order to matter in the Star Wars universe, your family needed to be in the Clone Wars a bajillion years ago.
Not only was the inclusion of Rey’s last name totally unnecessary but starting the movie with Darth Sidious just casually being alive the entire time and claiming to be behind the First Order was so lazy and nonsensical.
Oh, so Papaltine created Supreme Leader Snoke in a lab to lead the First Order and turn Ben Solo to the Dark Side while trying to turn his granddaughter to the Dark Side while creating the new Final Order before the First Order even failed one time for *checks notes* no reason. Got it.
After all we’ve been through, just make Kylo Ren the bad guy. It’s okay.
Kylo Ren’s face turn
Kylo Ren killing Han Solo, Supreme Leader Snoke and Luke Skywalker meant absolutely nothing because all Kylo needed to change his mind was have his mother whisper his name once. Makes you wonder why Leia didn’t try the kamikaze whisper earlier.
I’m not saying that Kylo was an irredeemable character but nothing in this movie indicated that he had any hesitations about being the villain. Last movie, he very much came to terms with the fact that he was the baddest motherfucker in the galaxy. This movie was a huge stepback with no real reasons why.
Kylo was just an empty vessel in this film being easily persuaded by both Papaltine and Rey with no clear explanination why. He gets called out for blindly following the Emperor and his response is “I have my own plans”. He follows that up by clearly not having ANY real plans in this movie. He did whatever the plot demanded of him without making any of his own decisions which was sort of his whole story arch. Wiped away. You’re good now because Rey and Leia called you Ben today.
Obviously I wasn’t sitting in the threatre begging for Chewbacca to be brutally murdered but the most thrilling and affecting scene of the movie was instantly undercut when we cut to Chewbacca 3 minutes later just alive as hell.
Kylo and Rey having a force battle only for Rey to unlock Dark Side electricity powers and accidentally kill Chewbacca was an incredible sequence. That was immediately erased because nope, there was another transporter. Duh. Silly. They got us!!
I got emotional when C3P0 needed his memory erased in order to translate Sith language. No big deal. R2D2 just re-downloaded his memory later. No worries. There are no permanent stakes to any of their actions. Luke and Han might as well have been alive this whole time. Pretty sure they both had more lines than Finn.
The final real problem I had with this movie is less surface storyline flaws but weird visuals that made me uncomfortable watching like at the end when all of the Resistance is celebrating and two women randomly kiss for 0.5 seconds before we cut away to characters whose names we actually know.
The hell was that? Was there some sort of gay quota that needed to be checked off last minute? For the closeted homophobes reading this, no, my problem isn’t that two women shouldn’t be kissing. My problem was it seemed more like Disney patting themselves on the back for including gay representation.
It felt forced and phony. We don’t even know who the hell those women are. You’re not gay inclusive because background characters kiss for a split second. It is transparent and weird.
Speaking of transparent and weird, uh, anyone else realize that all of the black characters were always on screen together? In a world with fish admirals and talking robots, it reallyyyy stands out when you force all of the darkskinned characters together. The fuck was that?
There are so many different species living amongst one another, why are you blatantly making the black people hang out all the time?
And don’t think I didn’t realize that 4chan trolls went after Kelly Marie Tran following The Last Jedi and suddenlyyy she’s not even in The Rise of Skywalker. Racist incels were mad that an Asian woman was on their TVs and JJ Abrams was like ‘you’re right. Our bad. Won’t happen again’.
I REPEAT. I think The Rise of Skywalker is a good movie that I enjoyed. But there were problems. If you choose to focus exclusively on those problems then that’s cool. I’m sure you’re really fun at parties.
All of the interactions between Kylo and Rey were fascinating. Except their kiss at the end that was very for Reddit. I loved everything Keri Russell related and Poe’s horniness. Very relatable content.
I’ve gone back and forth with my feelings towards Finn’s love for Rey and never having a one-on-one moment to tell her. Part of me believes that’s the love story they should’ve told and Reddit decided it should be Kylo so JJ made it so. The other part of me recognizes that in real life, we don’t get those happy endings with the women we love. Very relatable content.
So there it is. The Skywalker story has been told. Rey is the Last Jedi and the Last Skywalker and the baddest bitch in the galaxy.
Let’s all enjoy what we witnessed before Disney shoves a BB-8 D-0 droid spinoff trilogy down our throats.