by Joseph Sweeney | staff writer
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from school over the past 10 and a half years, it would be that: yes, things can get worse. On December 20, 2019, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released, showing that, just like Logan Paul’s career, this franchise didn’t destroy itself.
The Star Wars movie franchise has been divisive since its reintroduction in 1999, with the release of The Phantom Menace, where the world gave an overwhelming groan to the cast of annoying characters such as the nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker, and theoretical Sith Lord Jar-Jar Binks. Unlike Britney Spears however, the prequel trilogy has aged greatly, as from some fan’s point of view, the critics are evil: the prequels, to some, were not treated fairly in their initial run, leading to a divide over what the future of the franchise should be: a faithful follow-up to the original saga, or a successor with an all new cast. What we got later ended up to be a mixture of both, in a trilogy that felt like a disorganized series of ideas, which have now all come together in the overly mediocre Rise of Skywalker.
The movie’s plot feels like a complete mess, and about as rushed as pop group Fifth Harmony’s entire existence. Not only does the movie use up all its best ideas almost immediately: Kylo Ren’s battle on Mustafar and Palpatine’s return, it feels as if the director completely forgot the plot of the last movie. The only returning plot point is Kylo Ren’s story arc, everything else: the journey to find the planet Exegol, Palpatine’s return, and the third rendition of Rey’s heritage are all either completely or partially new. Normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing, however, not only do they make Rise of Skywalker feel like part of a completely different trilogy, with each part feeling widely disconnected to the others, or just completely pointless, much like Kristen Stewart’s acting career. A journey to alter C3PO’s core programming is definitely one of these, where Rey and the resistance fighters must go out of their way to translate a Sith artifact.
Though the film does attempt to salvage some of what was left from the disaster of the last two films, these attempts are about as effective as Blockbuster’s attempts at competing with Netflix. While Luke Skywalker does appear as a force ghost, all he merely does is tell Rey to not give up, before giving her Leia’s lightsaber. Not only did the audience not know anything at all about Leia being a Jedi, the dramatic reveal is ruined once you realize no emotional connection is present with this weapon, sort of like how there’s no connection between this and the other two films. It would have been nice to see Luke’s green lightsaber return, especially since the only colors we’ve been seeing from the movies have been red and blue, we are instead left in confusion as the amount of underdeveloped plot-points are added faster than that of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends. As much as I am joking, seeing Harrison Ford appear coming back as Han Solo as an illusion to his son, Ben Solo, formerly Kylo Ren. This is undoubtedly the best moment in the movie, and normally I would link it to you, but it is currently unavailable online, so here’s a dubbed Lego recreation instead.
Probably the biggest mistake made by the movie however, would definitely be its accidental moment of incest, when you realize that Rey and Ben Solo, who seal the deal at the end of the flick, are related in more ways than one. Not only are the duo supposedly based on Han and Leia’s twin children, Jacen and Jaina Solo, from the original expanded universe, Disney seems to have had a Habsburg moment, when it is revealed that Palpatine is Rey’s grandfather; Palpatine is also Anakin’s father through the force, which is explained in the expanded universe novel, Darth Plagueis. Assuming this plot-point is the same in the Disney canon, Rey and Ben Solo would technically be first-cousins once-removed.
So that’s that. The movie offered about as satisfying of a conclusion to the saga as the finale of the 2004-2010 TV series Lost did with its characters, meaning that all meaningful one’s died in the end. As much as I am complaining however, I can’t say I hated the movie; sure the writing was terrible and the film was about as focused as me during a Spanish lecture, but I can’t be too hard on it the more I think about how the director had nothing to work with. Similarly to the concept of atomic bonding in chemistry, bonding the right elements together can create a nice reaction from the fans, while creating the wrong ones can cause a massive explosion of toxic energy. Whereas The Force Awakens tried almost nothing new, and The Last Jedi killed all the potential the story had going for it, Rise of Skywalker actually attempted to give the fans things they always wanted, though well undercooked, much like that steak my mom ordered at Texas Roadhouse a couple nights back.
In a way, this movie was a success, and not in just the way that it generated more money for Disney at the box office, but really, it brought Star Wars back into a lot of people’s hearts. After seeing how bad this movie was, I felt I deserved an actually complete Star Wars experience. I watched The Mandalorian and am currently awaiting Clone Wars season 7 cause of this movie. In the end, while the franchise may be driven by a toxic fanbase rivaling that of the incel forums, its that hatred which brings us together, and really, isn’t that feeling what life is all about? With something to think about this has been Joseph, reminding you to make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!