When you have a global phenomenon as popular as Star Wars, announcing the end of a franchise with The Rise of Skywalker ripples throughout geekdom. Fitting, because that’s what the franchise has done for fenerations of devoted fans dating back over forty years continuing to this day. Whether it’s the movies, TV shows, books, or video games, everyone has been touched in some fashion by Star Wars.
Growing into one of the largest fandoms in cinematic history was no small feat because most of the best film franchises have loyal fans around the world, each with strong voices and opinions. This franchise is more than just a ‘movie’ to people, it’s a way of life. And that’s why The Rise of Skywalker was such a big deal.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker completed the entire Skywalker Saga, and now, it’s all in one convenient place, ready for us to explore the galaxy from the safety of our own homes, on Disney Plus.
Much like the movie it followed (The Last Jedi), this film caused a considerable amount of controversy. It divided fans, many of whom believed it failed to live up to its high expectations. After all, it was a movie that wrapped up the Skywalker Saga, a moment in cinematic history that was over forty years in the making.
So, did The Rise of Skywalker live up to the hype?
A JEDI’S JOURNEY
We’ve all experienced the frustration of [insert your hated studio here] meddling and production troubles behind the scenes. Then, the news broke that original The Rise of Skywalker director Colin Trevorrow was fired, an overwhelming sense of nervousness among the fan base began to take over. A decision that ultimately resulted in confusion.
The Rise of Skywalker suffered from a fractured story full of huge plot holes, rushed and unfinished character arcs, and planet-sized retcons from the previous movie The Last Jedi.
Much to the dismay of fans everywhere, it appeared the entire team was abandoning any progress made for these characters and forgetting the relationships they forged on their journey. A missed opportunity considering the fact their expectations could have been met with the help of one clear vision mapped out across the entire trilogy.
It’s easy to see how someone could end up confused. Myself included. Palpatine is alive? But he’s not really. He’s a clone of himself? My head hurts…
Rey, I never told you…Finn- The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)
A perfect example of the problematic plot comes with the line, delivered by the character Finn played by John Boyega during the early stages of the movie. He believes that he and his friends are sinking into an early grave. There’s this secret that he needs to get off his chest. The line is teased throughout the entire course of the movie, but we are left waiting for a payoff that never happens.
GLIMMER OF HOPE
There are also some positive moments to The Rise of Skywalker and focusing on them can help us get a clearer answer to whether or not it this culminating film lived up to our expectations.
A large majority of the movie involved the three main characters: Rey, Finn, and Poe — reunited and working together at last. Something that was (mostly) missing from the previous movies in the ‘sequel trilogy’ was the chemistry between the trio. They work dynamite together, so when J.J. Abrams allowed for this in The Rise of Skywalker, it was a nice change of pace from the individual journeys we were used to seeing them on.
The return of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo was beautifully done in true Star Wars fashion.
One moment that stands out involves the return of Han Solo after his untimely death by the hands of his own son Kylo Ren/Ben Solo during the events of The Force Awakens. Perfectly mirroring the events of The Force Awakens in an emotional scene showed the conflict Ben Solo faced within himself between the light and the dark side. Overall, that depicted balance reached a satisfying resolution with the help of his father.
Whether it was a lightsaber duel on the remains of the Death Star II or a spaceship battle among the stars with massive fleets from every corner of the Star Wars universe, the visuals of The Rise of Skywalker were glorious. Perfectly capturing the world of Star Wars we’ve all known and loved.
The Rise of Skywalker ultimately failed to live up to its galactic-sized expectations. But there is a silver lining…
A messy plot and bad pacing drags The Rise of Skywalker down into the Rancor pit. By choosing to distance itself from The Last Jedi it lacks something it so desperately needed, connectivity.
Wasted character arcs and missed opportunities left us all wanting more.
But the promise of delivering a satisfying conclusion to a franchise over forty years in the making was a difficult task and it still has an abundance of charm and magical moments, if you are willing to look past its overwhelming flaws. And for some of us, that’s enough.
So now you’ve heard my opinion, but what do you think? Did The Rise of Skywalker live up to your expectations? Leave a comment below if you agree or disagree. I welcome debates and would love to hear your opinion!