The Force, it binds us, moves around us, and tries to be the tether to all things Star Wars. Years ago when this legendary series crawled up the screen, movie goers like myself got pulled into a galaxy where anything could happen. Over the next four decades, the expansion of the world has taken many avenues, each holding promising positives and some limitations that would hopefully be tweaked. Tonight, the saga of something building for so long comes to an end, one that will hopefully have the grace to close one series and potentially open another. Much like the two sides of the Force, the reviews of this movie have falling to the bad and the good, showing off the split armies that much like the series are at war. So I hope to help provide some insight to your viewing choices tonight to determine if this film is worth the investment. Let’s get started, on a spoiler free review of:
Film: Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker (2019)
- The Dialogue
- The Symbolism/Emotions
- The Nostalgia
- The New Worlds
- Better Pace
- The Visuals and Sound Editing
- The Twists (surprises)
- The Action (sometimes)
- The Comedy
- The Choppiness Of The film
- The Story’s indecisiveness
- Too Many Characters
- Trying to Please Too Many People
- The Action
- Not Enough Focus On The New
- The Overkill On Things
- The Lack Of Emotion At Times
- The Impasses falling too easily
- Too much in one film
In the galaxy so far away, the trilogies vary on quality, as it struggles to find direction in the new world of old vs. new fans. One thing that has improved since the prequels is the dialogue, finding ways to make sensible lines feel both poetic and yet contained. Rise Of Skywalker tells much of its story through worlds as in visuals along, often filled with symbolic metaphors and emotional displays that had some fans sniffling. Abrams managed to direct some rather touching moments that hit fans like me, while still stroking the beast of political preachiness that the modern era loves. While these scenes are certain to hit the fierier, “I need my heroic characters overcharged for me “fans, I myself enjoyed the nostalgia built into the film, be it a quick look at a familiar land mark, a nod to the old presentation style of a classic film, or for those in the expanded universe, plots from yesteryear repainted. Episode nine tries to find that balance between old and new, and in cases of the old, the nods will keep popping up everywhere.
But Robbie that’s nice and all, what about the movie should we expect in terms of newness. Alright, I hear you, so let’s go onto the newer features that I think you might like. First the new worlds, a bunch more uncharted planets roam the stars in this film. Though not a convoluted as previous installments, these new worlds hold their secrets, opening up cultures, new worlds to battle on, and in some cases holding secret stop previous expanded universe clues. The pace is much faster in this film, dumping the bloated moving at snail speed from an enemy ship, while we again try to discover the potential and meaning of our lives off to the side, going back towards the action component that fans like me enjoy. And like the prequels, all of this is still captured in the special effects, that again with major technology improvements reign supreme in bringing the fantasy to life, or at least some of it. Yes, you’ll still have plenty of diverse use of costumes and creature development to enjoy, it just all depends on again what you are looking for. However, the real special effects palooza comes in the form of the action, which has taken a step up (somewhat) from the Last Jedi. This installment tries to ramp up ship battles and lightsaber fighting, and at times it starts hitting the high notes that I fell in love with during the original and prequel trilogies. Those looking for “story-based action” well, you’ll get that, as much of the fighting feels like those moments in an anime where there is a lot of talking and showing of grandiose moves than full on choreographed duels that the prequels thrived in. Also in regards to the story, Star Wars this time tries to pass the baton of twists, and several times got me in the direction they took things. Some of these surprises are simply cannon fodder for jokes, but others do a decent attempt to expand upon the vagueness that was episode 8. As for the comedy, Disney has not quite figured out how to get back to balanced comedy since Rogue One, though it took steps in the right directions at times. C-3PO may have been the star for me for much of the movie, as Anthony Daniels and the writing work well to have comedic relief. Other moments are funny in terms of their predictability or slapstick, so it works for me at these moments., before it once again comes in and sort of derails the plot.
For the mountain of writing for the good though, there is also a lot of limitations for me in this film. Much like the beginning of Rogue One, Rise of Skywalker ran into choppy, fast paced, crunches that were okay at best for me. A very hasty introduction and moving to different plot components in the blink of the eye led to very water downed story moments that tried to build momentum, but then phased out. It seems to me that the director/writers could not decide on which way they wanted to take the movie, and because of the focus to please all and the lateness of the film’s placement after two directors took different approaches led to further chaos in the plot. As such, Episode 9 has too many characters, who have struggled to take the main focus in real storytelling as both old and new generations compete for superiority and closures. Thanks to that conflict right there, many of the things I’m about to comment on were driven out, all in attempt to tame the hatred the internet had stirred up.
First up the action, while good at times thanks to visuals and special effects, it lacks the heart, the excitement, or even the balance that the preceding films had. Many bouts are over rather quickly, several timed to last fewer than two minutes before we were back to our quest. Even the ending felt caught up in the bloated storyline of grandiosity vs. good storytelling, with many moments of the last fight rather simplistic and not having the moves or coordination. In regards to the lightsaber fights, they win in terms of environment, and symbolism, but failed to impress me in awesomeness when I compare to the prequel fights. I miss Nic Gillard coaching our duelist in acrobatic fights, where things flowed and did not look quite as blocky or stiff. And laser fights, well I seem to remember the wars having a lot more struggles and coverage fights than what I got in this movie, so that would have been nice to see in rich detail, instead of pass over shots and montages.
In regards to the story, well again it’s not that it’s bad for me, but more so too crammed of ideas, plots, twists, and motivating speeches that it seems a fraction of what it could have been. For one thing, the new components still keep taking hits, and while Rey and Ren get better progress towards wrapping up their stories, Poe and Finn sort of get somewhere, but almost too quickly. Characters like Rose Tico, or the new girl Zorri Bliss fall once more to the quick information blips, before getting dropped back to secondary status, most likely to be picked up in some novelization like Phasma. No, once more the two protagonists and the old characters get caught in this dance of preference, neither partner fully rehearsed to get a 10, but also not fumbling around too much to get a 1 either. It was hard to really get emotional at this film, primarily because impasses and limitations of the mind are rather easy to overcome, or sort of decreased until the moment a plot device is needed. Throw in that some of the twists were too obvious from the presentation, and you again get the limitations I’ve mentioned before due to lack of direction. And when we finally try to get things back on track… the directors overkill it and make ridiculous displays of power that were best left to the fanfiction, especially when the comical display of skill seems to falter at the just the time they need to flourish. Throw in some rather poor attempts to actually keep characters connected enough to want to cover and well. . you again see the problems I had with the film.
I did not love this film like some of the other installments, but I also did not hate it either. Rise Of Skywalker’s main flaws are the inability to decide what fanbase they wanted to hit, and trying to put way too much into one movie. The attempt to conclude the movie faltered on uniqueness and cohesiveness, always hinting at awesomeness, but never quite getting there due to the coordination failures. It exceeds at the superficial ooh and ahhs of visuals, moves much better in terms of pace, gets comedy, nostalgia, and symbolism baked in, and does manage to keep dialogue smart to help twist some things up. Yet, as I agree with other fans, the movie needs to use this time as a reset for future installments, so that they may bring a new story out that takes the nostalgia, but allows a new legacy to build (see Rogue One Or the Mandalorian). From there, the story can get back to the adventures we loved, and still gets those overcharged heroes that seem to motivate costumes of the 21st century. That and please stop making the grandiose ideas be the stars, please find something better to do instead.
My scores for the closing chapter are:
Movie Overall: 6.0