Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: An Honest Opinion

Don’t Waste Your Money

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” available to stream on the platform Disney+. The movie was released on Dec. 20, 2019.

Courtesy of Disney+

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” available to stream on the platform Disney+. The movie was released on Dec. 20, 2019.

Johann Bacarisas, Staff Writer

“The Rise of Skywalker” is the third film in Disney’s “Star Wars sequel trilogy, and continues the story of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and others as they continue to fight in a war against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and The First Order. Its cheap, lazy storytelling barely enhances its bland cast of characters in this rushed, fast-paced trainwreck of a movie. 

After the tragedy of a movie called “The Last Jedi, which preceded this movie, director J.J. Abrams (“The Force Awakens”), along with the characters, had to salvage what they could from the events of the last movie. Abrams tried his best to create a family dynamic between the characters, as is the typical theme in many forms of Star Wars media. The film expanded more on the backstories of Poe Dameron and Rey, two pivotal characters in the trilogy. While the film’s trailer features the return of a fan-favorite villain, Darth Sidious, his appearance does far more harm than good for the overall movie. His appearance in the movie contradicts the entire premise of both the original and prequel trilogies, which was that Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) the prophesied “Chosen One,” returned from the dark to defeat Darth Sidious, his former master, to fulfill an ancient Jedi prophecy. However, that fact that he survived to make an appearance all these years later is not only a lazy plot by Abrams, but a contradictory move that overrides years of Star Wars media and storytelling, not to mention being a clear rip-off of a well known, highly controversial Star Wars comic book series, “Dark Empire,” written by Tom Veitch and drawn by Cam Kennedy. This villain reveal, when combined with underwhelming plot twists, forced humor, wasted opportunities with characters, and a plot that seems to only get worse as the movie progresses, makes for a hollow shell of a movie.

The film itself, however, was not without merit. The acting of Ridley, Boyega, Isaac and Driver, as well as acting from the original cast of Star Wars, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, was nothing short of excellent, especially given that they were making the best of poor writing and cringey dialogue. The visual effects of the movie, as well as the music, lifts the overall quality of the movie, and almost tricks the audience into actually enjoying the movie. Kylo Ren, a.k.a. Ben Solo, was one of the only bright spots in this dumpster fire of a trilogy. His character development was one of the best in Star Wars history. Driver’s acting, combined with his Vader-like outfit, despite his frequent, asinine,  juvenile tantrums, made some members of the audience actually root for him during the movie, despite him being an antagonist. The same cannot be said for other characters. Rey, the main character of the movie, has become one of the most hated characters in the franchise. She’s been labeled by the fan base as a “Mary Sue,” or, a character given an unnecessary amount of power in the story simply because she is female. Female characters in the franchise have typically been written well and received well, such as Ahsoka Tano, from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, directed by Dave Filoni. However, as a main character, Rey just falls flat, with a bland, one-sided character arc, a cheap, underwhelming backstory revealed in the movie, and just a general lack of personality that can’t be reconciled by any single movie. Finn, a former stormtrooper and one of the main characters of the movie, was quite possibly one of the biggest missed opportunities of both the movie and the franchise. His importance to the plot only lessened in each movie to the point where in The Rise of Skywalker, he had little to no effect on the plot itself. It got to the point where he could have been removed from the story entirely and it would still make perfect sense, or whatever you could call perfect sense in this terrible movie. Finn also got a new twist to his character revealed during the movie, but one that was never stated explicitly in the film and was even more underwhelming than Rey’s. 

Overall, when all aspects of the movie are considered, it deserves a generous 5/10. While it was certainly difficult to try to salvage whatever was left of the story after The Last Jedi it could have, and definitely should have, been much better than it was. Watching the movie, if you’re a Star Wars fan, is still recommended that you watch it, if only to waste a few hours.  However, despite all this, don’t expect the negative reception of this movie to last. The also heavily criticized Star Wars prequel trilogy had no shortage of flaws, but is now regarded as a masterpiece by fans who grew up watching the movies. In a few years, the next generation of Star Wars fans will appreciate this movie as well.