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

[Please note: there are full spoilers for this movie and every other major Star Wars movie here.]

The culmination of the Skywalker Saga, nine feature films in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is a 2019 space-opera action/fantasy movie directed by J. J. Abrams. Under the command of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), the Resistance must face its toughest threat yet; the ressurected Emperor of the Sith, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The trio of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) man the Millennium Falcon, along with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and the droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and BB-8, as Kylo Ren, the Supreme Leader of the First Order (Adam Driver) reforms the Knights of Ren to hunt Rey across the Galaxy.

+ overall, Driver, Ridley, Boyega and especially Isaac and McDiarmid are all good to great. Just because I’m not a fan in general doesn’t mean they aren’t all great actors, and would be more than watchable in something else. This movie is full of callbacks and references to the past movies, including cameos from Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, who I didn’t know was confirmed dead, so that was a surprise to me), Harrison Ford (Han Solo, who there is no reason had to be dead at this point) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian, in an actual role, albeit a small one). If The Force Awakens was a retelling of A New Hope, this was a love note to every other movie to date
+ I loved that sand-speeder chase after the festival; I enjoyed the few Rey/Kylo lightsaber fights; I legit teared up at Leia’s death and Chewbacca’s wails were especially heartbreaking; and I really liked those cultist chanting as Rey faced off with Palpatine (but I can’t find that chanting on any soundtrack anywhere to link it). Basically, as long as there was no space bullshit involved, I was well on board
+ new droid, D-0 (voiced by director J. J Abrams) was a lot of fun. I want a spin off of him, please

– who could possibly care about any of this? There are no consequences for anything, and the few moment we are given to ponder as to whether the heroes may be wrong, or the villains have some good points are immediately thrown out the window in the next scene. Did Rey go too far and kill Chewy? NOPE! He’s alive and fine about 30 second later. What will Rey do without her lightsaber? NEVERMIND! Here is Leia’s old one, which yeah we forgot to tell you about until right now. Oh no, Kylo has to face all of his Knights of Ren! No worries, they’re dead now.
– Kelly Marie Tran’s role as Rose Tico has been reduced to next to nothing; Greg Grunberg has a seemingly will-be major role as a resistance fight but it amounts to nothing; Dominic Monoghan is another resistance fighter, and I think he get like six lines total; personal favourite Domnhall Gleeson’s turn as General Hux is wasted
– am I the only one that was kind of shocked that the only black guy (excluding Lando, who was a glorified cameo at best) had to be paired with the only black woman? I’m not some sort of Poe/Finn shipper, but Finn was arguably the second main character, and I feel he deserved a happier ending
– I couldn’t help but notice just how many people would have died in this movie and/or the nine films in total. Outside of the entire personnel list of the Death Star (which we see in passing in this movie), the death toll of the Resistance is staggering. Wookiepedia tells me that somewhere between 37,000-47,000 people work on a Star Destroyer, and the Eternal Fleet was made up of upwards of 1,080 Destroyers. That means the resistance killed between 3.9 and 5 million people in this movie alone. That’s not okay
– I have so many questions: at what point did Stormtroopers stop being clones? I know of Finn, and Jannah (Naomi Ackie) in this trilogy, but are the other 99.9% clones of Jango Fett guy? Is this the first time we’ve ever heard of Leia having a lightsaber? If Stormtroopers have jetpacks, why would any of them ever walk? How was the Jetpack Trooper so accurate when the team was moving on their speeders, but couldn’t hit them at all once they all fell off? Since when does Rey have healing capabilities? Is that not explicitly said to be Sith ‘magic’ in Revenge of the Sith? Why did nobody question how/why the Emperor came back? Is cloning such a common practice that the Emperor/Stormtroopers being clones is just common knowledge? Why not keep a sample of every Resistance fighter’s DNA and clone them later? I assume the answer to most of these is online or in an encyclopedia somewhere, and that’s kind of my point; the movies answer nothing, even as this one comes in at well over 2 hours long
– “I’m Rey. Rey Skywalker” was the most cringy thing I have ever heard in my life and it made me retroactively hate everything that I thought I might have liked

> it’s hardly a negative, but lots of Leia’s scenes are clearly done in post production, as she is seen only from behind (an obvious stunt double) and her lines sound off compared to the rest of the scene

Should you see this film: Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t care. The Star Wars movies used to be space samurais doing sneaky war things, and much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Game of Thrones, everything that happens seems to be tailor made to turn into gifs on Twitter. There are no stakes to anything that happens, and it made it nearly impossible for me to care, but at least it was better than that god-awful middle movie. In my non-Star Wars fan opinion, The Last Jedi as a whole should be held as dark a mark on this franchise as Jar Jar Binks and young boy Anakin.

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