Movie Review – ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

At last! I’ve seen the third and final movie of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy at the cinema. I’ve seen ‘Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’! And I went in my ‘Star Wars’ Christmas pullover to see it at the cinema! Here I am in the photo below!

I’m not going to do what I did last time with sharing a full-detailed review on ‘The Last Jedi’ on my blog in 2017. That was a mistake on my part. I’m going to share some brief thoughts on what I make of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and do a full-detailed review when it comes to another ‘Star Wars Review Season’. Perhaps I’ll do another ‘Star Wars Review Season’ in 2020 or 2021. I’m not entirely sure yet.

There was quite a lot of anticipation for this third film in the sequels trilogy. Many deemed it to fail considering the efforts of ‘The Last Jedi’. Now I like to be open-minded. I was hoping for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ to be a satisfactory film to conclude the trilogy. Maybe it wouldn’t be very bad in the end.

I still rate ‘The Force Awakens’ to be a great ‘Star Wars’ film whilst ‘The Last Jedi’ was a let-down for me. I hoped the director J.J. Abrams would reassure me in bringing back what he delivered in ‘The Force Awakens’ to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ compared to how Rian Johnson had handled his ‘Last Jedi’.

But then I remembered J.J. Abrams also directed of ‘Star Trek’ (2009) and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and that he ruined ‘Star Trek’ for me. I think J.J. Abrams should’ve directed all three movies of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy to keep up the consistency and the emotional journeys of our characters.

Mind you, as I understand it, J.J. Abrams wasn’t going to direct ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ originally. It was going to be Colin Trevorrow who worked on the movie script with J.J. Abrams and Derek Connolly. But Trevorrow left the movie due to creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy.

It seems Kathleen Kennedy’s got a lot to answer for regarding ‘Star Wars’. As well as Disney. Anyway, J.J. Abrams was back to direct ‘Episode IX’. And who knows? Maybe there’d be surprises in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ to look forward to. I did not want to judge the film too harshly like others would judge it.

And after seeing the movie at the cinema…I…err…um…found it…okay. Yeah, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ wasn’t really a great conclusion to the sequels trilogy in my opinion. It wasn’t good as my cinema experience of ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ in December. But I will say this! It was better than ‘Last Jedi’.

This is a complicated one. There were times where I did want to like the movie. In fact, I think the first half is better than the second. There were plenty of good moments and plenty of bad moments. It’s like a seesaw. The film went up and down from good to bad to good and bad again. Weird that. 🙂

Don’t get me wrong. I had a fun time with this movie. But a lot of the character moments fell flat for me and it didn’t seem like a satisfactory conclusion to pay off what the sequels trilogy had been about. The movie was trying to be a sequel to both ‘Force Awakens’ and ‘Last Jedi’ at the same time.

The film takes place one year after the events of ‘The Last Jedi’ (thank goodness it’s not immediately after like the last time). In the film, Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron go on a mission with Chewbacca, BB-8 and C-3PO to provide a last stand against the evil First Order now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.

Now here’s the thing about the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy. I would like it if it was a trilogy featuring Rey, Finn and Poe as the main heroes like it was with Luke, Han and Leia in the original trilogy. It would’ve made sense to do that and provide a nostalgic feeling of a ‘Star Wars’ trio like the original.

But it’s not that in the trilogy. In fact, the whole ‘Star Wars’ trio team-up seems to have been added late in the third movie and not in the second. This does seem to be like another missed opportunity. Like the trilogy wasn’t planned in terms of how to develop characters and story all the way throughout here.

The movie also features the return of Ian McDiarmid as the evil Emperor Palpatine. Wait, what? How did he come back? It’s never explained how Palpatine survived that fall at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Just like it’s not explained properly how Darth Maul survived from ‘Phantom Menace’ in ‘Solo’!

Oh and get this! Rey’s true origins get revealed in this movie! Are you ready for this? She happens to be…Palpatine’s granddaughter! Hey? What? When did Palpatine have kids? And how come this gets established in the third movie when it should’ve been in the second? This felt rather disappointing. 😦

Now here’s the thing. I really like Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey! She’s a lovely actress and I would give anything to write her a thumping good character part in the ‘Star Wars’ movies. She could’ve had a strong heroic leading female part with some superb strong male characters to support her. 🙂

But that’s not Rey in these ‘Star Wars’ movies. There are times when she seems interesting, but most of the time she comes across as flat. She’s a nice character but the tagged-on backstory in this movie doesn’t help. She’s like Clara from ‘Doctor Who’ who wasn’t properly developed throughout.

And….here’s another annoying thing regarding Rey. She happens to have ‘Jesus’-like powers when using the Force to heal people and creatures from fatal wounds. Um…I don’t think that’s how the Force works. I appreciate the filmmakers trying to introduce new things with the Force in these films. Whether you like it or not, Rian Johnson was brave introducing new things with ‘The Last Jedi’.

But this is the problem I have. It feels like it’s been added on into the movie without any thought or effort being put in. It’s like rules are being broken without making sure whether it’s okay to break those rules. I’m surprisingly starting to appreciate why ‘Star Wars’ fans don’t like these films much.

A lot of ‘Star Wars’ lore is expanded upon in the books, audios, comics and video games which I’ve yet to discover. And I feel the filmmakers ignored what was established in the books, audios, comics and video games without considering how the fans would react to that ignorance. It seems pretty unfair.

Anyway, the film’s cast also includes Carrie Fisher as Leia (using unreleased footage from ‘The Force Awakens’) – I was shocked by how she died in this movie. There’s also Mark Hamill as the Force-ghost of Luke Skywalker; a brief appearance of Harrison Ford as Han Solo’s ghost; Adam Driver as Kylo Ren; John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. I’m afraid to say this but, I did find Poe Dameron to be a pretty mean jerk in this movie. 😦

There’s also Anthony Daniels as C-3PO; R2-D2; BB-8; Naomi Ackie as new character Jannah, a former Stormtrooper aiding the Resistance like Finn; Domhnall Glesson as General Hux (I got to admit, I didn’t see it coming when he turned out to be a spy for the Resistance in this) and there’s Richard E. Grant as Allegiant General Pryde. Seeing Richard E. Grant in a ‘Star Wars’ movie was pretty surreal. 🙂

There’s Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata; Keri Russell as new character Zorii Bliss and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. There’s also Kelly Marie Tran back as Rose Tico (yeah she didn’t do much) and there’s the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. I’m sorry to say this but…even Lando’s appearance felt tagged-on. 😦 Dominic Monaghan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is Resistance trooper Beaumont Kin in this. That’s nice.

There are supposed to be vocal cameos in the movie such as Andy Serkis as Snoke and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader as well as voices of Jedi Past like Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness (archival of course) as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Frank Oz as Yoda. But honestly most of the vocal cameos seemed gargled to me. 😀

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ did feature quite a lot of strange and stupid moments, mostly based on ‘Last Jedi’ logic I believe. There’s even a strange moment where Rey and Kylo/Ben kiss each other after defeating Palpatine. Err…I don’t recall there being a romance between them. Ben also heals Rey with ‘Jesus’ powers. Hey! Perhaps Rey can heal Ben Solo with them powers…oh he dies at the end. Okay.

The movie concludes with Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers on Tatooine before saying to someone that she’s ‘Rey Skywalker’. Err…actually, she’s not. She should say she’s ‘Rey Palpatine’, shouldn’t she? BB-8 is with her as they both look at the sunset on Tatooine. Beautiful imagery, right?

So yeah, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ had a lot going on in it. It’s not a great movie, but it’s better than ‘The Last Jedi’. I can’t say I’m entirely happy with how the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy ended, but on the other hand I’m glad I saw this movie. And there’s no way this is going to be the last ‘Star Wars’ film. Despite people saying it’’ the last one in ‘the Skywalker saga’, it’s never the last ‘Star Wars’ film!!!

Overall, I rate the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy as a mixed bag. ‘The Force Awakens’ was great, ‘The Last Jedi’ was…meh, and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ was okay. It’s not a pretty good sign to see that since the sequels trilogy could’ve been so much better had one director and writer put his/her effort into it. 😦

I’m not a dedicated ‘Star Wars’ fan, but even I know how a film or a TV show is supposed to work. I would’ve written the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy much differently compared to how it ended up. The movies were a wasted opportunity for me, but an enjoyable wasted opportunity. That’s…something.

I’m currently looking forward to checking out the ‘Star Wars’ sequels trilogy!

No, no! The real one!

There you go!

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Movie Review – ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’

  1. Brilliantly summed up, spot on Tim, i am convinced that Disney had no 3 arc structure making this trilogy & made it up as they went along.

    The villain should been Snoke revealed as Darth Plagueius which would ben revealed in previous film who was Palpatines master, how freaking cool would it have been having somone even more powerful than Palpatine, damm you Rian Johnson.

    Poor storyline, poor performances, as you say Poe unlikable in this, Finn does nothing & could be cut from the ntire trilogy for all he adds to the films, Chewbacca sidelined again, Lando definitely felt shoehorned in while Kylo redemption was poorly handled & then trying save Rey biut having his ass handed to him by Palpatine was a joke.

    Jedis each have a specific gift some see past, some future, some can heal but THEY CAN’T DO EVERYTHING LIKE REY WHO’S THE JDI JESUS OF STAR WARS…….GRRRRRRRRRR, not only is Rey 90% self taught but she can teleport objects from one place to another….lazy writing more like, Yoda, Kenobi, Windu, Anakin & Luke couldn’t do what Rey does & they were the 4 most powerful Jedis but her we are Mary Sue saviour of the galaxy oh & don’t get me started on her final confrontation with Palpatine awful, just awful.

    The Leia subplot was daft, so she beat Luke in a duel after training her be Jedi & we find this out in this movie………like i said they made it up as they went along.

    I’m ignoring this trilogy, it ends with Return Of The Jedi for me, the Zahn novels are good as is Dark Empire trilogy & Children Of The Jedi, hopefully The Mandalorian will give me my Star Wars fix as wll as the upcoming Kenobi because to date the only Star Wars film i enjoyed is Rogue One.

    Brilliant review Tim its like you read my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s a shame about how ‘Star Wars’ has turned out lately in terms of the movies. I have enjoyed seeing them at the cinema. ‘Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’ were a high point for me, but ‘Last Jedi’, ‘Solo’ and ‘Rise of Skywalker’ seem to have gone downhill.

      I hope I’ll get onto examining the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn and do a full in-depth review of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, whether it’ll be in 2020 or 2021. My reviews on ‘The Mandalorian’ will have to wait until the first season comes out on DVD. I might review that with ‘The Clone Wars’ movie, perhaps Season 1 of ‘The Clone War’ series and perhaps the book ‘Resistance Reborn’ that takes place before ‘Rise of Skywalker’. I’ll have to figure this out when it comes to the next ‘Star Wars’ movie at the cinema whatever it is. 😀

      Thanks for your recommendations regarding other ‘Star Wars’ stuff. I’ll keep those in mind for future ‘Star Wars Review Seasons’.

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Glad you enjoyed my review and that you agree with the points I made.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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