Rise of Skywalker – A Review

Hello there everyone! My name is Manthan Shah, and today I’ll be writing about something different. Normally, I’d write about something musically-related, but today I’ll be writing about my most favorite franchise – Star Wars. More specifically, I’ll be writing about the 2019 movie Rise of Skywalker – the conclusion of the Skywalker saga. I’ll keep it spoiler free, of course.

Picture credit – https://www.starwars.com/films/star-wars-episode-ix-the-rise-of-skywalker

Back in 2015, Lucasfilm kicked off a new trilogy of movies with the movie The Force Awakens. Directed by JJ Abrams, the movie received mixed reviews – on one hand, it was nice to see the Star Wars film making something new with new characters, but the plot line and movie progression seemed way too similar to Episode 4; A New Hope. Furthermore, the characters didn’t seem to get much development; they all seemed forced (pun intended) upon the audience. These characters were, of course, Rey (insert last name that gets revealed in Rise of Skywalker), the scavenger girl;Finn, the defector who had firsthand experience of the First Order (Galactic Empire knockoff); Poe Dameron, the hotshot pilot; BB-8, everyone’s new favorite cute thing before Baby Yoda took over; and Kylo Ren, the villain who does something epic in Rise of Skywalker.

Basically all the new people + lots of older characters (source: https://screenrant.com/star-wars-missed-oppurtunities-in-rise-of-skywalker/)

I’ll try to summarize what happened as briefly as possible – basically, the First Order’s out luke-ing (yes, that was intentional) for Luke Skywalker, and Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance stop them at the cost of the entire Republic (their planets got blown up) and Han Solo (killed by Kylo Ren). However, Starkiller Base (a massive installation on the planet Ilum that drew energy from a star to launch weapons that could blow up planets from extremely far away) was destroyed in the process and the First Order got humiliated, so I suppose that’s an even exchange.

Later on, the First Order bombs the Resistance base on D’Qar (to be fair, that was the only one they had) and the First Order escapes to Crait, and they run away again. Meanwhile, Supreme Leader Snoke (basically considered to be Emperor Palpatine of the First Order) gets ignominiously killed by Kylo Ren and we get the massive revelation that Kylo and Rey are linked in some way. Luke Skywalker also trains Rey for a bit as a Jedi but he sacrifices himself while creating a Force projection of him to fight Kylo Ren and distract him so the Resistance could escape Crait.

Now that we’re done, it’s finally time to talk about Rise of Skywalker.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. JJ Abrams did a great job at concluding the sequel trilogy (maybe not the best ending to the overall Skywalker Saga) and tied up as many loose ends as he could. Especially considering how Rian Johnson did a pretty bad job with The Last Jedi and left JJ Abrams with few ideas to work with, I’d say that JJ Abrams made a solid effort to successfully redeem the trilogy in my eyes. Most of the reveals made sense, lorewise (apart from one which seemed overly rushed), and they still tied in with the previous movies.

When I saw the trailer, I was absolutely blown away! I saw a bunch old characters (including an old favorite) return from the dead (that’s very evident to anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer). The Last Jedi (Episode 8) was a pretty big letdown, and when I heard one of the characters in the trailer, I started having a theory involving that character, the First Order, and Snoke. I was pleasantly (un)surprised to know that that theory came true in the movie (that character directly states it).

I also theorized that General Hux (second in command to Kylo Ren), who got physically and verbally abused by Kylo due to his own vision of the First Order being a new version of the Galactic Empire (Kylo wanted a Sith Empire), would betray Kylo and his First Order. That came true, but not in the way that I expected.

The action was also perfectly done! Everything, from lightsaber fights where Rey and Kylo seemed to be fighting each other from different places across the galaxy, to blaster brawls, and even the epic final battle over the Sith Planet Exegol, was executed flawlessly. JJ Abrams did an amazing job at conducting them and kept all of us hooked and on the edge of our seats.

Throughout this trilogy, Rey’s parents have always been unknown to all. At first, in Episode 7, Kylo says that her parents were nobodies. In The Last Jedi, he then says that they were nobodies who sold her for drinking/gambling money. However, in Rise of Skywalker, he states that Rey’s parents were indeed nobodies, with a twist – her grandfather was someone special and he ordered Rey’s parents to bring her to him, for some strange reason.

However, there was a major flaw with the movie – it seemed way too rushed. The Last Jedi was extremely drawn out with tons of useless subplots, but Rise of Skywalker seemed like the polar opposite – everything, even a lot of the reveals, came too quickly with little buildup. While I understand that JJ must’ve been trying to overcompensate for the failures of The Last Jedi, considering how this was the final movie of the Skywalker Saga, it seemed to be very shaky, as if JJ was desperately trying to tie up all the loose ends as quickly as possible.

Overall, I’d give Rise of Skywalker a solid 7.5/10 (it really doesn’t deserve the low ratings it’s getting). JJ Abrams did a pretty good job at ending the saga and successfully saved the trilogy from being a huge pile of disgrace. He brought back old characters and old lines (something that made some of us scream with joy) and connected the old with the new in quite a symbolic way. While I’m somewhat bummed about how everything was rushed, I’m glad, that in the end, the Skywalker Saga is finally done. However, the best part was getting to go with my friends to see it; that makes a huge difference in the viewing experience.

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