Category: Star Wars Retrospective
With The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi making over $1 billion, things seemed to be looking up. On top of that, all three received generally positive reviews from critics, but things weren't so with fans and audiences. While fans and audiences were satisfied with the first two, The Last Jedi was especially divisive for what it changed. Between this and the poor box office returns of Solo, it seemed any goodwill Disney had been tainted. For the next installment, Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) was originally hired to direct but was let go in 2017. While Trevorrow and frequent collaborator Derek Connolly received story credits, J. J. Abrams would return to co-write and direct. Much of the original cast returned, while unused footage of Carrie Fisher was incorporated since she passed away in 2016. On December 20, 2019, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker was released.
Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has returned following his downfall in Return of the Jedi and has spread a galaxy-wide broadcast. Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeks a Sith Wayfinder, a device that will reveal Palpatine's location, the planet Exegol. Palpatine and his followers have built a new fleet of Star Destroyers with firepower similar to the Death Star. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is continuing her Jedi training with General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) acting as her mentor. Rey joins Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and BB-8 in stopping Kylo Ren. Along the way, they meet up with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), who agrees to fight alongside the Resistance. During the adventure, Rey discovers her true origins, Ren confronts his past, and the Emperor's plans are set in motion. Will Palpatine be stopped, or will the Final Order reign supreme?
While I know tons of people hated The Last Jedi, I enjoyed it wanted to see where things went. Unfortunately, though it has some good qualities, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker is a disappointment. To get into those good qualities, I'll say first off that all of the acting here is great. Ridley, Boyega, Isaac, and Driver especially continue delivering great performances, while Williams and McDiarmid return to their characters enthusiastically. Also, given the unfortunate death of Carrie Fisher, the way they handled her scenes was done very respectfully. Also, as to be expected with any Star Wars film, the action set pieces and visuals are all done beautifully. Granted, there's plenty of shots recreated from scenes in previous films, but this whole sequel trilogy has already done that. As a pure sci-fi spectacle, this film more than exceeds at providing blockbuster entertainment.
However, great performances, action scenes, and visuals can't make up for a poor story that ends on a resounding thud. Much of this can't be discussed without spoilers, but suffice it to say the story is a complete mess. Not only does this fail as a finale to this new trilogy of films, but the entire nine-film saga. While Avengers: Endgame felt like a worthy conclusion to those films, this feels more like an average Star Wars film. The biggest problem is that in trying to appease those who disliked The Last Jedi, they ended up disappointing everyone. Even the added fan service doesn't help, as it just feels like manipulation to try and win over audiences. That being said, if you're just looking for fun spectacle and exciting Star Wars action, you'll have a good time. Overall, though, Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker is a letdown.
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker is currently in theaters.