A divided community: Rise of Skywalker Review

Aidan Evans, Features Editor

I have been a fan of Star Wars content since the Clone Wars TV Show aired on Cartoon Network in 2008 and even dressed as a Jedi for the following Halloween. I bought an FX lightsaber in anticipation for The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion of the last 42 years of the franchise. The excitement I felt when opening the package was on the same level of disappointment I felt while watching this movie.
It would be unfair not mention the gorgeous effects in the film as director JJ Abrams did a fantastic job. Each action set piece and every effect felt genuine when on screen, making the Star Wars galaxy come to life. From each clash of a lightsaber to the iconic screech of TIE Fighters, details are present in every film. In this new trilogy, the weight of the situation is clear to the audience, and the Rise of Skywalker upholds that intensity.
Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, has a chilling presence on screen that translates to the audience. His threatening, powerful, and dominant character continues to be one of the best characters in all of Star Wars, even if this movie gave him an undeserved ending. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac—who played Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron respectively—were also amazing, each one selling their characters in every intense scene.
Another point fans feel is well done includes Chewbacca’s reaction to Princess Leia’s death. As Chewie is one of the few remaining character from the original series and it is nice to see him react to her death.
However, the acting, the A++ score from the ever-fantastic John Williams, and the breathtaking action scenes are not enough to save this movie from its glaring issues surrounding the sagas storyline.
The main issue is represented by the movie’s villain, Emperor Palpatine, was not only thrown down thousands of feet into a reactor core, but then was blown up twice in Return of the Jedi. This takes place roughly 30 years before this movie. Palpatine’s survival is entirely for fan-service. The previous installment left the fanbase without a big-bad villain, but it came at the cost of the Saga’s most beloved character: Darth Vader. The weight of his return to the light is meaningless if Palpatine’s death is undone later.
Actress Carrie Fisher died in late 2016, and in order to accommodate for this unfortunate fact, the director uses old clips from the previous movies with a mixture of CGI for other scenes in order to put Leia into the movie. However, this is something that was visually and audibly jarring. It was obvious that the bits of conversation with her were crafted around the dialogue they already had of her.
The movie continuously—and sometimes intentionally—backtracks previous movies intentions, leaving gaping holes in the entire saga’s logic. It feels like a very reactionary film as the last film—The Last Jedi—generated large amounts of controversy within the fan base. J.J. Abrams has an issue prioritizing shock value instead of substance, giving this film ten total fake out deaths.
It’s quite unfortunate that a saga that has basically raised me into the brink of adulthood has what feels like a disappointing and underwhelming ending.