Rise of Skywalker is… Well, it is a good Star Wars movie even if it feels completely uninspired.
Honestly though, it’s hard to say if it could have turned out better.
Rise of Skywalker gets off to a rough start and sort of stumbles its way through the eventual finish line.
The Momentum Just Never Really Carries It Far Enough
It picks up a year after the ending of The Last Jedi and fails to provide enough relevant information to really get its story off of the ground.
The middle act is definitely the most interesting as it poses some seriously cool questions about the mythos of the characters, the lore of this new trilogy and the eventual outcomes of these varying story lines.
Truth be told, if you’re a big fan of the books and you read between the lines, you will see the plot twists coming.
They’re not really telegraphed to be fair, and honestly Abrams did a great job of hiding the info just out of plain sight for the average viewer.
Where this film’s story really struggles unfortunately is in the finale.
It is just so safe and dull. Nothing terribly exciting or different happens. The Palpatine story line just abruptly ends and we get another Star Wars Rebel Celebration party.
The final scene of this movie however, if only for nostalgia’s sake, hits home pretty hard.
Truth be told, there were some manly nostalgia tears being shed.
The writing and consistency of the story and its pacing is another problem for this film. It is just all over the place.
While this has not traditionally been a problem for Star Wars movies, this movie just really struggles to maintain the quality of the previous films writing and pacing.
Star Wars Has Never Been About Great Acting, So This Was A Welcome Shift
The actors do feel like they’re giving it their all, they just seem to be struggling to understand the pacing as much as we are.
Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley especially turn in some truly great Star Wars performances.
Driver is easy to commend in his final outing as Kylo Ren. There is just some level of raw emotion that Driver is able to tap into that makes him outshine everyone else.
Ridley’s final(?) outing as Rey is a welcome change from her more wooden performance in The Last Jedi.
She still retains that childlike wonder that made her admirable in The Force Awakens. She developed a certain level of charm and maturity in this movie that helps drive the audience more behind her.
Speaking of Rey, Abrams did a great job finally showing us the more human and fallible side of Rey’s character.
She loses more than once in this film and feels like she actually earned her stripes by the end of the movie.
What Happened to Rose? Phasma? Anyone? No One? Alright.
Poe and Finn are pretty much the only two supporting characters that Abrams really gave some attention to.
Poe gets some much needed backstory exposition and we get to see the more cavalier side of Oscar Isaac’s which was a welcome change from the previous movie.
Mileage with Finn is definitely going to vary pretty wildly. He does get some bit of story and moments in this finale but it feels like he was not used to his potential.
The remaining side characters just feel… Forgotten.
Rose is basically ignored, almost outright ignored honestly. The added side characters are just there for exposition dumps and the odd but interesting story threads they set up.
The interesting thing about this movie is how it is resonating with audiences.
The Controversy Will Be With You… Always
If you only have a casual ear to the ground you would think that this movie is being universally panned or at the very least splitting people down the middle like The Last Jedi did.
While it is easy to say that the movie plays its hand very safely, in a lot of ways. That is what the fanbase more or less demanded when the backlash from The Last Jedi really took off.
So maybe, sometimes, playing the hand safe and allowing fans to actually have a movie with interesting lore will pay off in the long run.
It seems to be that with both the combination of a safe story, more introspective looks at characters, interesting lore, consistent entries into side stories would see that The Rise of Skywalker may strike a chord with fans.
Earning a very respectable fifty nine million at the opening weekend (which has yet to conclude at the time of writing) is no small feat.
This movie does seem to be on the track to become much like the prequels; beloved by time, but divisive in the moment.
From us here, we enjoyed the movie and thought that while it suffers from inconsistencies it does still get enough right to be an enjoyable theater experience.
From a personal standpoint, this movie was exactly what I expected. And to that end, as someone who grew up reading books, collecting comics, enjoying the lore but not being a huge fan of The Last Jedi; this movie felt like a finale that I expected.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now!