Thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Get ready for those Kylo knight funkos!

Spoilers ahead.

The arrival of the rebel reinforcements cemented to me that this is a movie that lacks humanity.  It’s just a bunch of ships.  I don’t care about a bunch of ships, show me who’s piloting them.  Who are we saving from the Sith and the First Order?

It touches on this when the crew heads to Kijimi. We see stormtroopers inspecting everyone. The planet is bleak with darkness abounding within it. Kylo’s battleship is soon hovering over it as he hunts for the heroes. One of its residents, Zorii Bliss, is trying to escape the screams of the despairing populace. But we can’t stay too long; Rey’s got the Emperor to thwart!

There’s a scene where Rey says no one knows her, and she’s right.  I don’t know her either despite watching all of the sequel trilogy. She’s stoic, but most Jedi who came before her have been stoic too.

Even Kylo’s knights are just a bunch of new merch for Disney to sell.  We don’t get to know any of them individually.

And the sequel trilogy does have vibrant characters (Rose, Finn, Jannah, Zorii, Babu) who get sidelined in favor of the The Important People.  And they don’t do enough with The Important People either.

You know what does too much though? Those lighting effects!

I didn’t get any headaches or seizures from watching this, but if I get the opportunity to watch this again, I’ll make sure my eyeballs are on anything other than the screen. I get that they were trying to set a creepy atmosphere for Palpatine scenes, but there’s nothing creepy about a dude who lost in the original trilogy and is going to be defeated in this one.

The lighting just makes the film inaccessible without accomplishing anything.  I would’ve saved it for Palpatine’s lightning (i.e. the point when he’s actually a danger to anybody).  Palpatine just waits around for Rey to kill him.

There’s a crowd of Sith, but they just sit around while Rey kills them all.

There’s no danger, no threat.  Rise of Skywalker is a movie that undermines its characters, its conflict, and its accessibility.

This all being said, I did like some things in it.

  • Finn freaking out about stormtroopers having jetpacks now
  • Jannah
  • Zorii Bliss
  • Babu Frik
  • Sith C3PO

The newcomers made it all the more blatant how boring the Important People are. Let’s get a movie about Zorii or Jannah! We’ve seen so many characters like Rey and Kylo in Star Wars already.

On a related note, the sidelining of Rose Tico in particular is especially a shame. After all the backlash Kelly Marie Tran, her actress, received from racists and misogynists, Rise of Skywalker could’ve come out saying, “Characters like her have always been in Star Wars, and they’re all here to stay.” Instead, Star Wars’ response to this backlash is to hide her away. The Rebellion and the Jedi aren’t supposed to be faceless goons and a bunch of ships, they’re supposed to be people.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”

Master Yoda (not in this movie, though)

Sith C3PO could’ve been awesome! A previously docile character suddenly going evil or even just mean was the one moment in this film that I went “holy shit!” So of course, it only lasted for two seconds, which is about as long as they spent contemplating the ethics of erasing C3PO’s memory in order to access the information they needed. At least the final decision was his, but it never felt permanent or even a burden. Two seconds of red eyes and danger voice, and he’s back to mostly normal. They didn’t even do anything interesting with his amnesia either.

And while Finn’s reaction to the jetpack troopers got me to smile, it wasn’t as funny as it could’ve been. The movie doesn’t lend itself to comedic highs or any sort of highs. All of its victories, dangers, and in between moments feel muted.

I know Star Wars can do better, yet entries like The Rise of Skywalker show that it’s content with mediocrity.  I’m not angry with it; I’m disappointed with it. And bored.

That’s the worst part, really. I don’t care enough to be angry. The Rise of Skywalker is just another one. Despite having the resources to be something spectacular, it gave us a galaxy that’s far, far away from interesting.


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