Movie Review: Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (dir. JJ Abrams, 2019) – The conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak, bringing the Skywalker saga to its final chapter.

3/5

Spoilers ahead.

It is true what they say about too many cooks. Multi-director trilogies often end up with disparate visions, disjointed story lines, and inconsistencies, leaving much to be desired. Just ask Star Wars. Coming on the heels of both valid and absurd flak, The Rise of Skywalker steps right into an uphill battle. Some fans had abhorred The Last Jedi and were unafraid to make known their own ideas on how to “fix” the plot.

Meanwhile, bullets continue to fly at Rian Johnson for “ruining” the franchise. Not unlike what George Lucas himself faced before in 1999, only amplified threefold by the Internet. Johnson had been bound to shoulder the blame for everything that went wrong with The Rise of Skywalker, no matter his involvement or lack thereof. And went wrong it unfortunately did.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Kylo ran.

The last of the trilogy proved a mess, with JJ Abrams seemingly undoing every plot line that Johnson had set up. An ordinary child who built her own destiny, Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds out that she had familial ties to the Force after all. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) dons his mask again, after destroying it in a fit of rage. In an uneven narrative births an unexpected relationship, which means little in its late stage and pales in chemistry comparative to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8.

Other characters fare worse. A vital companion in the first, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is benched seconds into her second appearance, in favour of new characters who barely have the chance to leave a scratch. Then, there is one of the most unearned reveals that does no justice to General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson).

The major retcon backfired. Loyal fans were angered. The fire was fanned for those who were long ready to hate the film, no matter how it turned out. Blame fell once again on Rian Johnson for doing what he thought had been best with the characters, where someone else had left off.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
“I am familiar with over 600 dance moves.”

Few questioned why he was given no blueprint to follow, if JJ Abrams already had a story in mind. Why then had Johnson been given the job, if he was supposed to go with someone else’s ideas?

One must acknowledge that neither filmmakers were at fault for following their own paths. The movie’s biggest mistake was having two creatives attempt to reconcile their distinctively different visions.

Leaving blame aside would leave us some to enjoy in the film that is actually more decent than most may have you believe. Spending a feature length apart had not ebbed away an inch of the bond between Rey, Poe, and Finn. There is immense pleasure in seeing the reckless pilot, the former Stormtrooper, and the ex-nobody reunite for one last ride.

It is clear that the trio had as much fun as did the original cast, who also received warm tributes befitting the story’s final chapter. After this recent annual churning of Star Wars features, there is no better relief to have the franchise finally take a breather – at least for a little while.


An uneven narrative never tempers the fun of the Star Wars saga that sees to another fitting closing chapter for old and new crews.

24 thoughts on “Movie Review: Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)”

  1. The Rise of Skywalker was a fairly exciting, if deeply flawed finale to the new trilogy. It did it’s best to retcon the Last Jedi, but the writing was already on the wall after that dire movie. Strange to think, after such a great star with Force Awakens, how the Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker warped the new trilogy into becoming such a disappointment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in the minority who neither loved or hated TLJ. I do wish that RoS took more risks than simply try to retcon its prequel. Both movies had the potential to be much better. That said, I do think they were still decent entertainment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I luckily don’t get caught up in all the hoopla about this plot hole or that, I just enjoy them for what they are…an exciting action packed movie. For that reason, I liked this one and all of them actually (except the prequels, but that is another story). I go to the movie to escape and have fun…I don’t go to pick it apart, I have never understood why people do that. This one kept me entertained and that was enough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A thousand times yes! It’s just not healthy to harp on flaws and ignore fun, especially for the sole sake of arguments. Sometimes, it’s just delightful to escape into fantasy, or even watch things explode. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to disagree fully. I thought it was a wonderful ending and not messy at all. I also disagree that JJ Abrams undid every plot line that Johnson had set up. I think it’s the other way around. It was Johnson who didn’t read the outlines that JJ wrote and decided to go his own way. Johnson seemingly wrote the trilogy into a corner and JJ somehow managed to make it work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mike! I’m completely with you on that the ending has its merits. Despite some narrative choices I did not quite like, the action was fairly enjoyable as a whole.

      What I was miffed about was how hard the fans have been on Rian Johnson, assuming that he had an outline and chose to ignore it. From what JJ Abrams has been saying, it seems that this wasn’t the case at all.

      Besides, any filmmaker would have understandably put their own voice into it, and shouldn’t be blamed for it. Ultimately, I reckon the main issue laid with the studio that allowed too many voices to tell what was supposed to be a singular story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The official story seems to change. There was a time when Lucasfilm said they outlined the trilogy and then Rian chose to go his own way. Who knows.

        I don’t think Rian understood what the 8th movie in a 9 film saga needed to do. He needed to make his way towards a conclusion. He instead opened up new ideas, which would have been fine if it were episode 7. Broom boy, the weapons dealers and ambiguity of good/bad… all good ideas. But not for the second last film. I knew right away we’d never hear anything more about Broom Boy and weapons dealers in the saga. I feel like he didn’t even try to move things to a conclusion. Great opening movie, it could have been.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree, several of his ideas would’ve been made for an interesting chapter one. He had great concepts that just didn’t work well with JJ Abrams’. The studio never should’ve changed writers in the middle of an existing story. I hope the same doesn’t happen for the next trilogy in line!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t want to lay the blame at the feet of anybody, but I wonder what this trilogy would have been like if they had someone with a strong vision at the top, calling the shots like Kevin Feige does with the Marvel films.

            Another thing too — I noticed as the generations go around, perspective changes. 20 years ago, nobody liked the prequels best. Now there is an entire generation of fans who adore them. I think in another 20 years, you will see a new generation who love the sequel trilogy and Rey. That’s my prediction anyway! See you in 20 years to find out?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. That may well work! Then again, Marvel movies have always worked well as standalones, whereas Star Wars trilogies have traditionally been one story told in three chapters. In any case, I trust you on your prediction. Let’s wait and see! 🙂

            Like

  4. When it comes to fantasy/action like this, I just want some good characters in a solid story. I haven’t seen that from this franchise since 1983. I might watch this whenever it pops up on a streaming service but I’ll be OK if I never get around to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hehe, I personally do like the leading trio. The actors are charmers. What irks me are the numerous side characters, who appear only to move the plot along and vanish before they can make an impression.

      Anyhow, I don’t think you’re missing out on much if you choose to skip this. It may be better to simply rewatch The Empire Strikes Back, any time!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! I enjoyed all 3 sequel movies, but my love was in the characters themselves rather than the story I think. I do wish they’d stuck with 1 director though, or at least mapped out key plot points in advance so this situation didn’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I had my issues with the plot, but do enjoy watching Finn, Poe, and Rey’s interactions a lot. The actors too. Their press tour has been fun, perhaps more so than the movies, haha. Thanks much for reading, Allie!

      Liked by 1 person

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