The Rise of Skywalker Review

Well, here it is. If you know me at all, you know that of course I went to see The Rise of Skywalker as soon as I possibly could. And that was the evening of Thursday, December 19. I actually bought tickets months ago, back in October, but then completely last minute I decided to go with a friend that had free tickets so I wouldn’t be going alone. I made my second viewing by myself the next day, as I needed some alone time to process. Two viewings was definitely better than one, at least for me.

Let me preface this by first saying, this review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. So if you haven’t seen it yet, turn back now. Sorry, but it’s hard for me to write a review of this without going into some aspects of the movie. So I have warned you. Also, this movie was spoiled for me ahead of time because leaks for it were posted online all over the place. And I’m kind of a sucker for that, so I read them. It was my choice, and I’m find with it. I actually wasn’t spoiled for The Last Jedi, and I hated it the first time I saw it. But we’ll get into that.

The Beginning and Middle

Now, let’s talk about prior movies. This was, after all, the third movie in a trilogy. And yes, technically it was the ninth movie in a “saga”. I think it’s better to look at all these movies as three different trilogies that, although, do tell a story of a family throughout generations, are still very much three separate stories. Let’s start with The Force Awakens. I liked it, but did have some problems with it. It’s kind of difficult to revisit that now, though, because some of my problems were actually more like unanswered questions. Then there was The Last Jedi. This one I hated the first time I saw it. It just wasn’t what I expected. But then, I went to see it again, and I realized it was actually a really good movie. It just wasn’t what you expected. But that’s actually a good thing.

The Ending

So, what about The Rise of Skywalker? Did it properly end the trilogy as well as the saga? Well, like I said before, I still think it’s better to view it all as three trilogies. And despite the fact that chronologically the Skywalker saga started with Anakin, it really all started with Luke and Leia. The prequels were about what came before them, and the sequels were what came after. So to that end, I think the sequels ended just fine.

I think the story that took place through this trilogy could have been better planned out ahead of time, with the same director for all three movies. But I also think it’s fascinating how there are so many writers and directors throughout the whole Star Wars universe (movies, books, and TV shows), and yet it all (for the most part) fits together pretty well. I could be picky, as there are plenty of little details that don’t always jive, but the overall story works, in my opinion.

Some people didn’t, but I for one, liked all the fan service in The Rise of Skywalker. (I liked all the fan service in Solo too, and I’m sad that it’s not more well-liked than it is.) I really liked the interactions between Rey, Finn, and Poe. I’m glad they gave Poe more to do in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. He seemed underused to me in The Force Awakens, and I think he’s a great character. I really loved his relationship with Leia. I’m hoping we might even somehow get to see more of what happens with him taking Leia’s place as a leader.

The Rise of Skywalker: Finn and Poe
Finn and Poe

Did it work?

I’m also ok with how they closed everything out. Here’s where the big spoilers come in, be warned. I’m ok with the return of Palpatine. I don’t think it diminishes the original trilogy, the fact that he came back. Everyone seems to see it as he “came back from the dead”, but I took it as he WAS dead. I mean, we watch zombie movies and shows like The Walking Dead, but we can’t accept one of (if not the) most powerful force user in all of the galaxy coming back as what amounts to a zombie? Also, I’m ok with Rey being his granddaughter instead of “nobody”. To me this wasn’t a retcon of The Last Jedi… it was just more information that Kylo Ren didn’t have then. Palpatine obviously was completely capable of blocking information that he didn’t want him to have yet.

I’m also ok with Kylo/Ben dying, as well as his and Rey’s kiss. They shared some pretty crazy stuff together and had a pretty intense connection, so it only makes sense. And if he didn’t die, what would happen? He did some pretty evil deeds – I don’t think Rey’s friends would exactly accept him with no punishment and open arms.

The Rise of Skywalker

And finally, I’m ok with Rey taking the name Skywalker. She started out as “nobody”, but made her own path in the end. I know she turned out to be a Palpatine instead of a nobody, but either way, it was about overcoming her past (not necessarily killing it, Kylo!) and making her own way successfully, which she did.

The Rise of Skywalker: Rey in training in the forest
Rey in training

So overall, I’m happy with how this story ended. And while technically it does wrap up the Skywalker saga, I still see it as one part of a three-part story (each part told in a trilogy) about the Skywalker twins and what came before and after them. It’s not my favorite trilogy of the saga, and actually, it’s probably my least favorite just because I love the story of Anakin so much. But it’s definitely still a part of the galaxy I love, and one I will continue to watch over and over again and enjoy.

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