I’ve been putting off my review of the Rise of Skywalker for two reasons. Firstly I don’t relish the idea of picking a side in the online argument about whether this movie was good or bad (it’s shite btw, but we’ll get to that) and second, if I am going to shit all over a Star Wars film I’d prefer to do it with every weapon in my arsenal, which means spoilers. So consider this your warning, this review will have spoilers, but if it makes you feel any better the movie was such unrepentant garbage it literally doesn’t matter!
Apparently the plot picks up after the events of “The Last Jedi”, but considering the content of the text crawl you could be forgiven for thinking you have missed an entire movie, explanations are one of this film’s many weaknesses. Turns out The Emperor isn’t dead, well he was, but he got better, returned from the dead through the power of the force. “What’s that? You’d like to know how? Sorry we didn’t include that in this movie, but maybe we put it in Fortnite so go play that you consumerist piece of shit!”.(“We want your money to be OUR money!”)
The resurrection of Palpatine was the first thing that set alarm bells ringing for me; it’s not the resurrection itself, but the way it was handled. They resurrected one of the greatest movie villains of all time and they did it off screen…what the fuck? Hell, even a 2 min scene at the beginning of the movie would have been enough, but no, he’s alive, no we won’t say and fuck you for asking. And if you thought he would be this shadow presence, manipulating things throughout the whole movie (you know, the thing he’s infamous for!) forget it. He’s in the opening scene where he explains about 90% of his plan to Kylo Ren and give off less of an “evil Sith lord” vibe and more of a pensioner who needs his adult diaper changed vibe.(“Palpy make DOOKIE!”)
Do you remember a couple of months ago when that corporate mouth piece “Kathleen Kennedy” (no relation thank God) spouted that complete fucking lie about how “There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels”? Well, fans of “Knights of The Old Republic” will find the plot of Rise of Skywalker eerily familiar. Two force sensitive individuals who share a force bond or a “dyad in the force” (which sounds far less cool) search for a Sith with the ability to create war machines out of nothing. Now, taking inspiration from source material or other works is fine, especially if they are in your licence, but to do it so shittily is lazy and insulting.
But back to the (for lack of a better word) plot, Rey and her cavalcade of less important tag-alongs head off in search of a magic knife so they can find The Emperor and stop his fleet of planet destroying ships. And in the span of about ten mins, they meet Lando Calrissian, Rey kills Chewbacca with force lightning, (but not really he’s just on an identical ship that was hiding behind a rock) Rey heals a snake and finds out she’s Palpatine’s granddaughter, wait…WHAT?
Now, I know The Last Jedi had its detractors and I understand why, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and one of the things I enjoyed most was something many fans took umbrage with, i.e. Rey’s lineage. Many fans wanted her to be the secret daughter of Luke or Obi Wan or some other powerful Jedi, but for me I thought it was a much better idea to have her be a nobody. The revelation that Rey was no one special coupled with the scene of the slave boy using the force brought to life the belief that anyone could be someone special. But apparently that wasn’t good enough for the drooling obsessives who demanded that she be the force incarnate sprung fully formed from the desiccated husk that is Palpatine’s ashy balls!(“Let’s DO IT!”)
But let’s set aside the terrible decision to retcon Rey’s family and focus on how it was done, surrounded by high octane action and other moments of revelations and drama. The revelation that she is descended from one of the most powerful, evil and hated men in the galaxy should have been awarded much more gravitas, but in all honest it just felt mundane. This is a prime example of one of the biggest issues this film has, it’s pacing.
This movie starts at a 10 and never slows down, it’s all go all the time, never allowing the viewer to stop and savour what few good moments could be enjoyed. Now some would, and indeed have argued that that just means its action packed, to which I say no. Pacing is integral to a film, if a film doesn’t take the time to allow a character to react to emotional moments then those moments become meaningless. The audience will find it harder to empathise with a character that doesn’t react believably and thus we as the audience become less invested.
And if you were hoping that the terrible writing was limited to the plot, then more fool you, this film has some of the most cringe worthy dialogue to ever be attached to the Star Wars license. Every now and then a character would say something about losing hope and every single time someone would respond with the opposite sentiment. It was so blatantly obvious that the writers were trying to create something quotable but instead it came off as something you would read in bad fan fic written by a teenage girl.
While the plot and the dialogue may seem like they were written by someone who watched the prequel trilogy on fast-forward while coming off dental anesthetic, the acting and the visual effects were wonderful. The performances from all the cast were excellent, each of them brought their characters to life in unique ways, which given what they had to work with proves their immense talent as actors. It would be hard to point to any one of them and say he/she stood out among the rest but each is worthy of praise.
The visuals were as jaw dropping as we have come to expect from the latest crop of Star Wars movies, a wonderful marriage of C.G.I and practical effects (it’s good to see that SOME lessons have been learned). They managed to make each planet feel unique and beautiful in their own ways, especially the dark and desolate planet of Exegol. Exegol was beautifully bleak, from the moment we see it we are given the sense that it is a dark and dangerous place, a place devoid of life and beauty. And that sense of distinctiveness is true of every world and environment, so hats off to the designers for that at least.
Honestly, there is so much more I want to complain about, but I am already over my word count so it’s time to deliver the final blow, its crap. For my money it is, without a doubt, the worst piece of star wars media out there, an appallingly bad script that spent most of its runtime desperately trying to retcon the events of the previous film. A move which left no time to create an identity all it’s own, forcing it to fall back on tired clichés and by-the-numbers revelations that puzzled more than they astonished.