Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ★★

"Do or do not. There is no try."
- Master Yoda

It's a shame that the Star Wars franchise cannot follow its own advice. The sequel trilogy is a poorly planned, nostalgia-reliant mess that showed great promise but fell catastrophically short due to being unable to choose a direction.

Nowhere is this more evident than in The Rise of Skywalker. So much of this film is spent undoing the themes and threads of The Last Jedi and trying to set up its own that the result is an incoherent jumble that feels like I'm watching 2 better films put together being played at 2x speed. Whereas The Last Jedi drags on for far too long, here there's scarcely room to breathe, and it took all my effort to even keep up with what is going on plotwise, especially since it jumps around so quickly it may as well be playing storyline pingpong.

It's especially upsetting because there is a good film buried beneath this heaping mishmash. I'm not someone who grew up with Star Wars (I didn't see the movies until college), so I'm not an expert at what makes a good Star Wars film, but I actually quite enjoyed the themes that this installment is putting forth. Rey's inner dilemma was actually quite captivating, Finn's relation to a certain character had potential, and a certain change regarding Poe's role would have been great development had it been more fleshed out. Indeed, almost everything would have been better given proper room to grow; had the sequels been actually plotted out beforehand, or at least not changed directions with every film, the whole trilogy would have been stronger as a result. But instead we get a plot summary run-through of story beats and not nearly enough development for anything to truly resonate.

If this is truly the last of the Skywalker saga (and please dear god let it be so), then it ends with a bow tied much too neatly and with resolutions so cheesy it hurts. Certain characters' fates would be far more interesting and appropriate had they swapped, while the rest feel unearned or bogged down by predictability. Ultimately, The Rise of Skywalker is truly disappointing and emblematic of the fall of Star Wars.

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