As I mentioned in my review of Star Wars The Last Jedi, I have been a Star Wars fan since birth. Star wars has been a part of my life for over 40 years and seeing the ‘Skywalker Saga’ come to an end is a profound moment for me. You see for someone my age I have an entirely different memory of how Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, R2 and ThreePO’s lives went after The Return of the Jedi. This amazing group met and fought a Blue Skinned Grand Admiral while fending off an insane clone Jedi. Luke built a Jedi Academy and trained Han and Leia’s Jedi Twins. Luke met Mara Jade and eventually had a child of his own. It goes on but THAT was the incredible generational future I had grown up with through books and comics. Then Disney came along.
When it was announced that Star Wars was coming back for a final trilogy I was ecstatic and a little nervous. I had hoped but never dreamed that there would be more to this story on the big screen. I had accepted that these multitude of interconnected Novels depicting Jedi Academy’s and invading aliens were it and frankly I was happy with that. However, upon the announcement I wondered how they would embrace and incorporate the decades of apocrypha into the new Cannon. In a word, they didn’t. Not only did they not embrace 99.0% of those novels they recently acted like those books never really even existed making me fear this was yet another moment of the Mandela Effect taking hold but no, they tossed everything out, called them ‘Legends’ and started over.
Walking into the theater I was nervous when The Force Awakens hit theaters but left pleasantly surprised and honestly reinvigorated. Sure it was different but it was familiar as well and frankly I liked the characters. Wondering where they were going with this new saga we built our fan theories for two years only for us to get something called The Last Jedi that pretty much tossed out everything the first film established. You can read my reviews here and here but honestly the more I think about that film the more I want to throw up. It broke a decades long story thread that really didn’t need to be broken. Leaving that theater I wondered how the hell they would fix this mess and now we come to Rise of Skywalker. Did they fix it? well Lets talk about that.
Lets start with the fact that the entire cast were 100% committed to this film. I loved each and every one of their performances and frankly they nailed it. I loved both Daisey Ridley and Adam Driver in this entry with both of them really re-finding their characters and creating very believable characters. The rest of the cast was incredible as well with John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and even Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.
The way they brought back the late Carrie Fisher was astonishing and the visual effects as a whole were pretty amazing. JJ packed a ton of fanservice into this giving us cool glimpses of other worlds, old friends and even some touches back to the old trilogy bringing a lot of things full circle. The story of the Skywalker clan has always been an intriguing one but the problem was, I am not entirely sure about the story…
SPOILER TERRITORY HERE BE WARNED
Taking place not long after the events of The Last Jedi, the story picks up with them all on the run still but surprise surprise a message from beyond announcing the return of Emperor Palpatine shocks the universe. He’s back and needs to be taken down by..well…everyone. When I mean everyone I mean EVERYONE, Kylo Ren wants Palpatine dead because hell he’s Supreme Leader now, the resistance wants Palpatine Dead because…uhm didn’t they kill him like 30 years ago? Anyhow. The race is on and the only way to kill him is to find him so Rey happens to find a thing from the sith that might lead her there. Okay. Sure.
After tons of jumping from planet to planet and meeting up with lost friends, Lando I see ya buddy, things come to a head when it Rey’s parentage is revealed and she is not happy about it. You see, she is Palpatine’s granddaughter because somehow that makes perfect sense. I mean, sure I guess you could glean that from the other films but… no, not really. Needless to say, the good-guys win and everyone is happy in the end but I won’t get into any more of it because honestly I have no clue what the heck happened other than an infinite fetch quest that let to yet another infinite fetch quest and then to the revelation above and finally to a giant battle with a giant fleet that ended up bringing everyone together and….oh geez I’m getting tired just typing this mess. How did they even write this script to begin with?
Okay so I cant say that the story made any real sense but damn was it fun. I will say it did make far more sense than the last film but honestly that is not saying a lot. JJ Abrams did what he has done for his entire career, he started a story in The Force Awakens that he never intended on finishing and, when he was forced to, he pulled a Lost and gave us something completely new to chew on making a very fun story that really had nothing to do with the overall narrative.
The Bottom Line
There is an old saying, Fool me once shame on you, fool my twice shame on me. Going in I knew from experience that JJ Abrams could not write endings. I literally spent six years of my life watching his series LOST only to get the worst possible ending that literally made no sense with the rest of the series. I knew this was a possibility here but, like I said earlier, I have lived with this franchise for 40+ years so dammit I was going to see this to the end. Yeah, shame on me for expecting an ending after the horrendous thing Rian Johnson handed us with the last one. It wasn’t possible to fix this sinking Star Destroyer of a trilogy but dammit JJ gave it his best go.
As a stand alone film I thought it was a blast. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, I cried again for good measure, I laughed, I cheered and I left smiling. Honestly it was a fun Star Wars adventure that, had it been an entirely different cast of characters it would have been just fine. It was well within cannon when it came to the rules of the universe, it fit the overarching theme, heck it even managed to right some of the wrongs from Johnson’s shitshow. But this is not a stand alone film, it is the final part of a nine part saga and that is where it fails horribly. It’s not Rise of Skywalker’s fault, no, it’s Kathleen Kennedy and her lack of building a cohesive story before launching into this new trilogy. Early on they stated that they wanted to let multiple directors take the reigns for this new trilogy, not considering that this is the back bone for all of Star Wars. What Star Wars desperately needed was a Kevin Feige to pull everything together and make it work like he did with the Marvel films. However, according to Kennedy there just wasn’t any source material to draw from…oh really? Yeah, there are a few…
To be honest, I am happy it’s over. With the incredible series that is The Mandalorian and shows like Rebels and more existing, Star Wars will continue on in some new form. No longer bound by the Skywalker legacy it can now go and do great things, maybe this time we can get some more non-Jedi related stories?
Sorry for the chaotic nature of this review but honestly, there was no other way considering that I honestly don’t know what I just watched but it was hella fun. Heck I just might have to see again because dammit, it’s Star Wars warts and all, and it is one beautiful mess.
Thanks for reading!
Late To The Game 12/22/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!