Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Review pending

Theatrical release: 12/20/2019
PG-13; 142 minutes
Produced by J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan
Screenplay by Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams
Story by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams
Directed by J.J. Abrams

I'll post this review after I've had time to write something. I hope that will be sooner rather than later, but you know how that goes with me. Until my review is up, feel free to discuss the movie below. For the time being, comments posted below will not be shown in the comment stream.

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138 comments on this review

R.
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Just saw a midnight screening of this.

It’s clear from watching this film that Disney truly had no idea what to do with the story when they bought the franchise from Lucas. Criticisms of the prequels aside, at least there was a (somewhat) cogent narrative and single creative vision driving the first six films rather than film by Disney corporate comittee. This didn’t even view like a proper movie, it felt like a weird pastiche of better moments in the saga but taken to a level of spectacle worthy of Paul Verhoeven.

And story, you say? A luxury in a vehicle as creatively bankrupt as this but from what I can remember… An old enemy comes completely out of left field and our heroes must stop them within an arbitrary time limit before galactic tyranny ensues yet again. Same tired old beats but devoid of any meaning since this trilogy basically ended in spirit with ‘The Last Jedi’.

Standout performances from Ridley and Driver (who is sadly underutilised in this one) but the rest of the cast seem lost in the ether in this one.

Ironically enough, the first sentence in the opening crawl is, ‘The dead speak!’ One can’t help but wonder if they mean the saga itself, which is truly out of gas now with this lifeless affair, rather than the ghoulish CGI mannequin of Carrie Fisher.

See this one only if you’ve invested time and money in the previous Disney Star Wars films and/or have the grim resolve of anyone who has watched the beloved franchises of their youth go flying through the windshield glass only to have their mangled corpses kitted out in all the latest finery while bystanders are told they’re back and better than ever!

Or do yourself a favour and watch ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ for the hundredth time and have a truly worthwhile film experience.
Chris Lopes
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
It looks like they decided to try and win back the folks who did not appreciate Rian Johnson's vision of Star Wars by giving them J. J. Abrams' version of (an Ewok free) Return of the Jedi. It's fan service. If you like that sort of thing, great. If you preferred what Johnson was doing, then you may find this movie problematic.
Burke
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 6:03am (UTC -5)
It's a bit sad, but this movie was dead before it was born, and the lack of planning ahead can be blamed.

There is reason to be optimistic with the future of SW, tough. The Mandalorian is doing well, and is something that the writers of Nu Trek should take note.
Q
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 6:54am (UTC -5)
@R - I attended the fan screening of this film on Thursday at 5pm local time. I'm
not sure most of the attendees would have agreed with you, as there was significant applause at multiple points throughout the theater. I agree with you about the standout performances by Ridley and Driver and I agree that Driver was somewhat underutilized (maybe they will do an extended version at some point where they feature more scenes with him). I think they did a decent job with adding Carrie Fisher to the film. I don't recall seeing any CGI imagery of her; I believe they were previously recorded clips that were inserted in. These insertions were not perfect but under the circumstances the production team deserves a lot of credit.

@Chris Lopez - minor spoiler - there were indeed ewoks, albeit they (and many others) only had a cameo appearance.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and I thought it did a good job of telling a good story, providing outstanding visuals, honoring Carrie Fisher, and resolving the story lines of many characters, though they clearly left a few story lines unresolved so they could be leveraged later. I think the movie (like life in general) is much more enjoyable for someone who does not go in with an expectation of disappointment. I hope you enjoyed it, Jammer!
Chris Lopes
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
I don't doubt it will be a fun movie. It seems to have been made with fan service in mind, so as a life long fan (I was an 18 year old when the first movie came out) I'd expect to be pleased. Those who really like the Rian Johnson film though, are likely to be disappointed. Abrams (from what I gather) tried to undo much of what Johnson did to appease those who hated Last Jedi enough to take it out on Solo. FWIW, I didn't think Last Jedi was terrible and I really liked Solo, but YMMV.
Chrome
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
I'll start by saying it was really entertaining, and delivered well on the mysteries of the previous films. The special effects were especially terrific, from the ship battles to the clever double-stage lightsaber fights. I'd be doing a disservice by not mentioning the franchises signature force powers where we see ample amounts of our old favorites as well as some super-impressive game changers that might be better fare for LoToR or Dragonball Z. Finally, Carrie Fisher reprised her role using unused footage from "The Force Awakens" and Abrams at least deserves credit for finding the footage and making it work. I could see some scenes that would've been better with Fisher in them, but considering the limitations of her presence they did a nice job.

Though I don't think this delivered the gut punch of emotions that "The Last Jedi" did - with the betrayals and the death of a character so important the franchise had to keep naming people after him - it's not a disservice to Star Wars at all. You got your new blood rebels, your familiar faces, your villains so evil they're past redemption. And a lot of this works. Particularly poignant again is the Rey-Kylo Ren relationship which nicely picks up and concludes a story thread well-traversed in TLJ.

Palpatine was okay, but I must admit there were a few too many scenes that screamed "Return of the Jedi" thanks to his presence. Unlike many, I really liked RotJ and I'm not sure this one quite made it to RotJ's level of a satisfying ending.

On the plus side, this installment is one of the funnier movies, and not funny in the Jar-Jar Ewok bad way. Finn, Poe, and Rey all have great chemistry and that helps to bolster the family feeling the original trilogy had (and let's face it, the prequels lacked). There's such a huge mess of events happening all over this epic film, but the likability of the core cast makes this bulky film keep your interest.

The NY times suggested that if they ranked all episodes I - IX there would be a "4-way tie for fourth place" and this movie would be among the four. While I'm not quite as cynical, I don't think this one stands out as being much greater than most of the other Star Wars films. And hey - perhaps there's nothing wrong with that.
Geekgarious
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome, that review said it would be a nine-way tie for fourth place. This doesn't make sense as the critic also said he's not counting the side films. Other than that, that review is a good summation of Abrams' work. "the most consistent b-level student in modern popular culture" hits the nail on the head.

I'm not rushing out to see this. It clearly follows the predictable Abrams formula: keep the action rolling and no one will care if the plot makes sense. In a universe as rich in world-building potential as Star Wars, this is lame.
Chrome
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Ah, in that case I like my phrasing better. I don't think there's a single fan who wouldn't hold a movie or two above the others. "Empire" tied with "The Phantom Menace"? I don't think so...
Cofalroe
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Abrams is a highly competent hack. That is not an insult. Terrence Malick is an “artist,” and some people think Michael Bay is one too. The thing with a highly competent hack (it is sort of a glass half full/half empty thing) is that he or she is probably incapable of making a truly brilliant movie OR a truly awful one.

And true to this, TROS was neither truly great nor truly awful. The movie played things safe. The emotional suspense is undercut when we know no character we truly car about will die.

The movie did indeed feel like a family reunion - the problem with family reunions is that after a while attending them feels more obligatory than a source of excitement. There will still be the crazy uncle and the kindly great aunt year after year. If that is all you want - and that is very clearly what the toxic haters (redundant) of TLJ wanted - you stand to be pleased with this movie. It replicates images, scenes, and even swatches of dialogue from the past films with dispiriting precision.

For people who want more - for people who applauded The Last Jedi when Ren killed Snoke and for whole seconds the narrative could have gone anywhere - TROS is not likely to satisfy.

All of this brings right out into the open something that people should be able to honestly debate without resorting to name-calling. Whom or what must the artist satisfy? The loudest, self-anointed fans who believe they “own” a movie or movies, or (on the other hand) the need to create something that can (gulp) be enjoyed by people who don’t claim fandom monopoly but who simply want to see a good movie?

One character in the tells us that The First Order/The Final Order is a cabal of thugs whose power makes it easy to forget that their numbers are dwarfed by the number of “regular people” in the galaxy. The movie depicts quite clearly the consequences of doing nothing to stand up to the minority. Lots of people enjoyed The Last Jedi, but, in much the same way one is not complimented for what one does well, these people’s voices were not the ones heard - the voices of the screamers were. These voices are not interested in art for art’s sake. They are turned on by reruns.

The screamers probably loved the moment when the real villain - a Mary Sue villain as it were - pulling all of the strings was revealed. Nothing happened in this movie that was not permitted in or did not firmly exist in Star Wars cliche heaven.

It’s all rather sad. If a movie that is guaranteed to make a zillion dollars can’t take a creative risk, what can?
Chris Lopes
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
@Cofalroe
Abrams went where the money is. While I thought Last Jedi was an ok movie, apparently more than a few people didn't. Those folks did more than launch flame wars to express their anger. They stayed home when Solo came out. That cost Disney some money. Abrams' job was to make sure that didn't happen again. It sounds like he may have gone too far the other way, but I can understand why.
R.
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 6:22am (UTC -5)
@Q Ah, I attended a mainstream midnight screening and I'm afraid there was no applause. Much exasperated sighing, though. My abiding memory of watching Episode IX will be the ten year old boy sitting next to me who looked bored and depressed through much of the latter half of the film. I have no problem with CGI stand-ins as such (though I do find it ghoulish), but when that stand-in must speak entirely in non sequiturs and dialogue must be rewritten in order to accommodate the fact that it's all cutting room floor footage from the last film then I wonder if it was necessary. I do agree that the special effects team should indeed be lauded for their efforts, though.

@Cofalroe Excellent, excellent point about the phenomenonology of highly competent hacks. Abrams productions always start out strong stylistically and narratively before getting lost in half-baked plots and flashy shortcuts to disguise the fact that there's no overarching storyline or endgame. Who could forget the whole Rambaldi storyline on 'Alias' or the finale of 'Felicity' or the whole sixth season of 'Lost'?

'The Last Jedi' was by no means a perfect film but at least it did something new and set up the final conflict between Rey/The Resistance and Kylo Ren/The First Order very nicely. I thought it was a great shame that so many of those plot threads were handwaved away in this one to appease the naysayers. Quite literally in poor Kelly Marie Tran's case. Were her and Finn even a couple still? It was very unclear.
Jason R.
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
"Lots of people enjoyed The Last Jedi, but, in much the same way one is not complimented for what one does well, these people’s voices were not the ones heard - the voices of the screamers were. "

Please. This is such a bogus narrative. Nothing I have read about this movie suggests it would satisfy the "screamers" - on the contrary. This movie is no doubt made by corporate committee - just like TLJ. The same people who hated TLJ will hate this.

I actually credit Rian Johnson with taking risks in TLJ even if they all failed and the film still carried the stink of corporate committee filmmaking.

Can I say though that I had no sympathy for the people who hated TLJ. These are the clowns who just loved that nothingburger of a movie - The Force Awakens. That is where this all started - a hollow worthless film bamboozles fans and when they keep getting the same thing, they just can't understand why. Well guess what: you pay 2B dollars for crap, crap is what you are going to get. Over and Over. Looks good on the fans.
Chris Lopes
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
These movies aren't just art, they're business ventures. Disney didn't spend 4 billion on Star Wars to lose money. Whatever one thinks of the artistic choices Rian Johnson made, those choices apparently pissed off people enough that they stayed away from Solo. That cost Disney money.

What Abrams did is a reaction to that loss. We can argue about the artistic consequences of that (over) reaction, but the logic is inescapable. When you are spending this kind of money, you don't like to take chances.
Elise
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Hmmm. On balance, disappointing, but enjoyable and better than the Force Awakens and Solo. I give it a C+.

This movie was clearly made in response to the uneven Last Jedi enduring a white supremacist, misogynist backlash which in addition to being reprehensible obscured the fact that TLJ had more than your average number of plot holes.

I've been a Star Wars fan since I was 7, grew up on the Prequels. At this point I can say that I believe there are 5 genuinely good Star Wars movies- the original three, Revenge of the Sith, and Rogue One. Within the remaining six, we must nonetheless distinguish between enjoyable fluff that doesn't try to be much of anything other than lucrative- (Phantom Menace, Solo, Force Awakens), and movies that tried to be really interesting, creative and thoughtful but failed in presenting- Attack of the Clones and The Last Jedi. I honestly think Rise of Skywalker falls somewhere in between these two poles.

Fan service- ok, let's be honest. Seeing Wedge, even if only for 1.5 seconds, even if only after his stepson dies, raises this movie at least 5% for anyone who's ever played Rogue Squadron or read any EU books. Also, seeing Luke lift his X-wing from Achto's waters was something we all thought would happen as soon as we saw it, and it was obvious, telegraphed, manipulative and nonetheless epic. Chewie gets a medal. Rey goes to the Lars Homestead. Nice voice cameos from Samuel L and Liam Neeson, to name just two. Tons of cool ships have cameos- an MC-75, B-wings, upgunned Y-wings, but unfortunately the awesome A-wing shot from the preview was cut. Also where is Ben's Tie Silencer?! Not that I don't love interceptors but the Silencer is at least large enough to imagine it has a toilet onboard. And the statue in the opening looks like Plagueis!

Chosen identity versus birth- this movie does backpedal from the idea that Rey was produced by the Force from lowly background, and that's disappointing. But it does play up the idea of choosing who to be and who your family is, which is almost as interesting. Rey is Palpatine's granddaughter, and people think this determines her fate. But both she and Leia, and eventually everyone, accept her into the family of the Resistance. When she introduces herself as "Rey Skywalker", everyone who's been told that being born a certain way means we must always be seen that way will get shivers down their spine. Or maybe that's just my transgender projections. Whatevs.

As a sidebar, my first guess for a grandmother would be Sly Moore. Does this mean Rey is part Umbaran? I think so, and this actually works pretty well. You see, in this movie, they decided it was high time to actually give Rey some character traits (say what you will about Rose, but she was a full-fledged character with understandable needs, passions and beliefs- Rey has not been, until now). And those traits are mostly acting instantly on instinct or feelings, due largely to her facility with reading minds in general and Ben's in particular. I have an easier time swallowing the moments Rey picks up the idiot ball if I understand that she's getting mental influences she doesn't understand.

Chosen people over everyone else- yeah. Rey, Palpy, etc are the only ones who matter. He ends everyone else with a force storm, and stops the force storm, saving the day. Nothing else matters. Bleh. On the other hand, Rey is shown actually having to train to get her powers here, which is overdue and welcome.

Characterization- Both Rey and, surprisingly, Palpatine benefit from this movie. Before this one always had to wonder why Palpatine, who played a decades long game of manipulation and self-promotion, who killed his own master to further his own ambitions, was always so willing to risk his life for the sake of corrupting a newer, shinier, younger and more powerful apprentice. Selflessness is not a dark side trait, and especially with what the new continuity has established about Operation Cinder, why would Palpatine, especially a nigh-immortal palpatine, take the risk? Well, apparently he can do essence-transfer, Exar Kun style. If someone kills him he can possess them. Pretty cool explanation and in the spirit of the old EU canon. On the down side, Chewie has been reduced to a mascot by this point and I'm just wishing they'd send him off with some dignity already. Finally, Jannah is a really interesting character who I look forward to seeing explored, but I have serious problems about the timing of her introduction.

Pacing, world-building- one spectacular failure. The opening chase sequences could have visited half as many locations and paid them due respect. Or at least chosen worlds we've glimpsed to give cameos, rather than introducing four new throwaway worlds. Kajeemi could have been Mygeeto. The festival planet could have been Saleucami, etc. We see tons of new sights with absolutely no time spent on them. The sequence just exists for its own sake.

Male entitlement and who gets the girl- this is the biggest problem. So, both the actors and the fans have hoped for Poe and Finn to get together, which would have been cool, but I get it, LGBT people are still too icky for us to be shown overtly in Star Wars. I don't like it, but I accept it. Now, Finn is trickier to deal with here. See, Finn is a chaotic neutral character heading towards chaotic good, and he is driven primarily by his obsession with Rey. Which is fine on its own. It was looking like they would end up together. Which would be pretty cool for Star Wars to show an interracial couple from among the Big Three. That didn't happen. Which is fine. They introduce Jannah who is also Black and a former stormtrooper, which is cool, but I get the sense that she's there just to show that there's no way Rey and Finn will get together and that really bothers me. On the one hand, if their relationship had been explored more (their one scene of dialog is SUPERB) it would be great- mainstream cinema showing healthy Black relationships is also excellent, but I feel like this plot was just to keep Finn and Rey from kissing. Putting this in the same film as the Rey-mass shooter fashy wannabe Ben Solo kiss was not a good combination. Oh well, I hope we see more of Jannah in one of the spinoffs.

This movie tried to be different without taking risks. Has fewer good parts than Last Jedi did, but builds a more comprehensive whole out of those parts. I'll go see it again.
Booming
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
I told the people I was in the cinema with that this will be just fine and it was.

It is an Abrams movie from start to finish. The story is absurd of course but everything happens so fast you don't really notice or care. The emperor building a giant planet killer star destroyer fleet somewhere. The entire galaxy showing up for the final fight. Thought laser battles. The emperor 2.0 with new super powers. Absolute nonsense. That they didn't went into detail how he survived is probably for the best. I kind of expected a post credit scene where we see a puddle of emperor laughing.

Loudest moment was Kylo's death. I think it was supposed to be sad or something but the entire cinema burst into laughter. I did too. :D

What else? Lots of undoing of SW 8 but that was somewhat expected. Oh and every living old Star Warser was reactivated for one final paycheck.

Oh and wow Star Wars 6 rehash anybody. What can I say. I only watch it to then watch the hysterical youtube vids. :)
Jeb
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Watched this last night. Went to the theater without much enthusiasm or expectations and I left the theater pretty much feeling the same way. It's not a terrible film but certainly not a memorable one like New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, etc. I have no desire to see it again.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Not without its flaws but I remained entertained throughout and I can genuinely say I enjoyed it. The final trilogy just feels like a wasted opportunity really. As pretty much everyone is saying. They should have had the plot of the entire trilogy mapped out and then maybe let different directors come in and tell their stories around those plot points.
Elise
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
@Latex- Lucas did at first. Originally it was intended as a Watergate allegory, he changed it and tried to update some of it for the era of the Bush Administration, especially AOtC. He had a plan for the sequal trilogy, Disney didn't like it.

Oh well. As Jammer said about the Disco finale, "Well, they didn't exactly stick the landing, but they were still standing by the end of it. This got the job done. And it was, let it be said, epic."
Latex Zebra
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Elise - Yeah, there have been rumours for years that Lucas had perhaps even a 12 chapter plan for the story but then he said 6 and then he said he had a sequel trilogy planned.
One day, when the dust has settled I would love to hear the outline for his final trilogy.
TBH, much as they're not considered cannon I will always hold the Zahn Heir to the Empire boog trilogy as the real Star Wars sequels. They felt like Star Wars.
Jess
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
A Star Wars version of Watergate sounds like a snorefest.
Geekgarious
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra people need to stop caring about what is considered canon. Back in the early 90s nobody cared about what material was or wasn’t Canon. The canonicity canard began when Lukas began altering the OT. Now it is just an excuse for Disney to put out as many products as possible and to fuel dubious discussion. The discussion that comes from the types of fan to argue about planet names. I just want a good story.
Chris Lopes
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
@Geekgarious

That's a pet peeves of mine. We are talking about a fictional universe, so the only differences between Canon and non-canon is who owns the IP. You are free to make any changes to current "Canon" in your own mind that you want. It will be just as "real" as what Disney says. If you like the EU, then you are free to let it be your "reality". Of course, none of us are obligated to go along you.
Booming
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Oh and we had out first gay kiss in Star Wars from unimportant side characters... in the background... out of focus. And of course it was lesbians, always more accepted then the male equivalent, at least when it comes to movie kisses.
Dom
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I wrote a brief review for anyone interested:

https://domnardireviews.wordpress.com/2019/12/21/review-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker/

Long story short, the film is entertaining and I could have gone along with and even enjoyed some of the story decisions if 1) they didn't feel like such a direct attempt to retcon TLJ, and 2) there had been more setup throughout the Sequels. Palpatine's back? Fine. Maybe hint at his return before the opening crawl of the movie. Rey's a Palpatine? OK. Why did Kylo say she's a "nobody" in TLJ? The Sequel Trilogy doesn't feel like a cohesive story the way the OT and Prequels did, and that's just a disappointing ending to the saga.
Robert
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
WARNING: SPOILERS IN THIS COMMENT.

I liked the movie, but it did not have the emotional depth of The Last Jedi, which is sad. I have to say I liked TLJ better, also because there were certainly a lot of threads and hints that were mentioned, and then dropped / not used in the movie, such as:

- At the end of TLJ they show kids who would want to fight the First Order, and one has force potential. In this movie they talk about people rising against the First/Final Order/Empire. People are not shown to rise against the Empire, nor are there other people using the Force other than Ren, Rey and Palpatine (and Leia Ogana). A real lost chance (and a big fleet showing up as a Deus Ex Machina in the end doesn't cut it).
- Jannah (Poe's girlfriend?), who was also a stormtrooper who rebelled, says a lot of stormtroopers, which were kidnapped as children, would rebel when having the chance. Nothing is done with this.
- The spy for the Resistance in the First Order is revealed to be general Hux, then he is unceremoniously killed off right afterwards. This story line should have more potential, including his reasons (guess is he didn't like Ren?).

Plus the giant plot hole that if Luke is so strong in the Force that after he dies he can still manipulate real objects with the Force (rising his star fighter out of the sea), why doesn't he go kill Palpatine? Or at least try?

But this movie was still entertaining, fast paced, it had humor and some nice surprises and return of old stars that made it a nice Star Wars movie. Also Kylo Ren's and Rey's story were great. So for me this is a good enough ending of the saga.
paul g
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
Hi.
After seeing this, this is my top ten star wars movies:
1) empire strikes back
2) rogue one
3) return of the jedi
4) the last jedi
5) revenge of the sith
6) the force awakens
7) rise of skywalker
8) a new hope
9) attack of the clones
10) solo
Not in the top ten : the phantom menace.

And thus, you can probably guess my age......
Chrome
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
@Robert

Those are some good points about missed opportunities. The kid at the end of TLJ wanting to become a Jedi was definitely foreshadowed — and I think that it did manifest itself through “the masses” rising up against The First Order in Lando’s fleet. But, they needed to connect those dots better.

Something else big I think they missed out in this story was not letting Rey’s vision about falling to the dark side come true. That could have brought some interesting nuance to the story giving a contrast to Kyle Ren’s switch to the light side. It would be nice to see that the force is delicate and cuts both ways in people. Rey falling to the dark side didn’t even need to stick, but it could’ve given the viewers some desperately needed drama.

In line with your comment about Luke’s powers, what about Palpatine? He suddenly found a “duet” in the Force and now he can come back to life? Uh okay, that’s neat and all but maybe they should explain that earlier so it doesn’t sound like they’re making up Force rules as they go along.
Chris Lopes
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Of course they were making it up all along. This movie is damage control for TLJ. As someone else suggested, they should have named it Star Wars: The Apology.
Ghosted
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
I think in fairness, they had but a few options with Snoke's demise in TLJ. How the studio sanctioned that without any set up for a big bad in episode 9 is remarkable. Are we to assume Rian was plotlining this to be Kylo in ep 9? It's almost like he purposely detailed episode 9 otherwise. No snoke, no Luke and of course no Admiral Akbar :(

To be fair I didn't mind Darth Sidious' return in light of Snoke's death, he is such a great villain, but to ressurect him then kill him off in the same movie seemed cheap. However, I did enjoy the creepiness of his return I must admit. Perhaps if it was Darth Plagieus instead it would have been less controversial, but no one can be more evil and enjoy it than the emperor!

Being a fan of the force unleashed game, I did like the sith holocrons and was nice to see a bit of force lightening from Rey. The 'Rise of Starkiller' may have been a more interesting 7/8/9. Rey kinda has starkiller's powers without the sith apprentice backstory.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Geekgarious - I certainly don't disagree.

So, think I'll do my running order as well.

1) Star Wars - A New Hope
2) Empire Strikes Back
3) Rogue One
4) The Return of the Jedi
5) The Force Awakens
6) Revenge Of The Sith
7) The Rise of Skywalker
8) The Phantom Menace
9) The Last Jedi
10) Solo
11) Attack of the Clones
Cofalroe
Tue, Dec 24, 2019, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

Let me be clear what I meant. The "screamers" I refer to will hate ANY movie with the label "Star Wars: on it. Abrams and Disney, I suspect, were trying to make, in TROS, a movie they would hate LESS than TLJ. A slight diminution in hatred=more money, or so the thinking went. Sure, this crowd hated The Force Awakens, but TLJ was a veritable stain on their existence.

Of COURSE TROS was made by a corporate committee. By definition, that kind of movie is constructed with a faux utilitarianism in mind - that is, the playing to the lowest common denominator. That group includes screamers, people who accept little from movies, and casual fans. The mentality of today is: well, a filmmaker may not have done anything right, but at least he did not do too many things egregiously wrong
Chris Lopes
Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
@Cofalroe

We are talking about an investment of a couple of hundred million dollars for these things, not counting marketing costs. You need a very large audience to make such an investment worth the trouble. So your movie has to have as wide an appeal as possible.

If the movie deals with a franchise with a VERY opinionated fan base, you have the problem of satisfying that fan base at the expense of the rest of the audience. It becomes a balancing act. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Geekgarious
Thu, Dec 26, 2019, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
This movie was exactly what I expected, a veritable roller coaster ride that bears no scrutiny. I found it enjoyable because I had no expectations and because Adam Driver's performance is always engaging. If nothing else, Abrams makes inspired casting choices, something Lucas often failed to do in the prequels. That went a long way toward my initial happiness with Star Trek 2009 and The Force Awakens.

As a whole, this trilogy was garbage. It said nothing, and had no real story to tell. It shrank the Star Wars universe instead of adding to it. The Force Awakens gave us Starkiller Base, The Last Jedi gave us a cannon based on miniaturized Death Star tech. Now this movie gives us a fleet of Star Destroyer Death Stars and a race to find the boss of the game, uh, I mean, the emperor. The only time this trilogy approached anything new was during Luke's conversations with Rey in The Last Jedi. Luke's presence and attitude in The Rise of Skywalker really does seem like it was written as an apology to those who didn't like TLJ.

Ultimately, this trilogy was bad, but not for any of the reasons suggested on most interweb forums. It was not bad because Rey was a Mary Sue or because of a feminist agenda. It was bad because it was a complete retread of the originals and the new characters never really carried the story. After three movies, Finn still feels like comic relief. Poe ends up being a fairly generic good guy and Rose is barely in this movie. However these are not truly terrible films. They can be an enjoyable ride, but as a whole they are very disappointing. Hopefully the powers that be can do something interesting with SW on TV. It's probably best that there aren't any new films for a good while.
Snitch
Thu, Dec 26, 2019, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
The final movie of the trilogy was entertaining and well done. Everyone in our group of four was entertained. One should not think too much about the story implications of reanimating the Emperor and star killer weapons for every ship. After the disappointing TLJ it was certainly a step up.

The trilogy as a whole did not work, nothing was set up properly and character and plot development was mostly deus ex machina.

The good acting and awesome CGI saved the series from disaster, a bad start for Disney. I would have wished for more of a Ren and Rey focus, both actors were good, but Disney never went anywhere new with them.

I
Booming
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 2:56am (UTC -5)
@Geekgarious
" If nothing else, Abrams makes inspired casting choices, something Lucas often failed to do in the prequels."
Yeah, I mean the prequels only had Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson. Hayden Christensen is also not a bad actor. Natalie Portman had a few good performances as well. The cast was not the problem of the prequels.

"It was not bad because Rey was a Mary Sue or because of a feminist agenda."

It is fairly nonsensical in a Star Wars movie to use the term Mary Sue anyways because the young Jedi that is in every movie is always a Mary Sue. Anakin, Luke, Rey.

Is it normal that a five year old Anakin can build and repair complex machinery or fly fighters? Did he learn that at slave elementary? Or Luke, the guy who was never in a spaceship shoots down fighters even though he wasn't told how the cannon works and when did he learn to fly an X-wing? Not only does he fly it but he also makes the most important shot which other actually trained pilots could not do.

Strangely enough I never heard the word Mary Sue until a women did the same incredible stuff the two male predecessors did and I can't recall anybody ever accusing Star Wars of pushing a masculinist agenda even though during the original trilogy there is only one woman who was not only a tortured prisoner but also a sex slave kept on a leash.
Chris Lopes
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 4:00am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Luke was not perfect from start. He made mistakes and got his ass kicked (by his father among others) a number of times. Yes the X-Wing was a stretch, but he was a pilot (shot wamprats at beggers canyon) and the Rebs needed every pilot they could get.
The point is, he grew into the job of Jedi Knight.

Anakin being able to do all he could as a kid is one of the reasons Phantom Menace (and the prequels in general) are so disliked. A child participating in a suicidal race then destroying the big bad by accident is beyond stupid, as most of us said at the time. Anakin was actually a Gary Sue.

What makes Rey a Mary Sue is that she never fails, never trains, and is better at everything than everyone else. Her character does not learn or grow because there is nothing for her to learn and no where for her to go. She's practically perfect in every way.
Booming
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 5:02am (UTC -5)
@ Chris Lopes
Rey is captured by Kylo. Rey loses a laser sword fight against a badly injured Kylo. What did she do that was so perfect? That one time when she flew the falcon? Rey (like Luke) knew how to fly things.

"He made mistakes and got his ass kicked (by his father among others) a number of times."
When did he battle/got his ass kicked by his father or others?

"but he was a pilot (shot wamprats at beggers canyon) and the Rebs needed every pilot they could get."
Well if you fly some not explained thing then you are obviously capable of flying an attack fighter during a space battle in which you are attacked by elite pilots. He alone was responsible for the destruction of the death star, for god's sake! Luke's impact on the story was far greater than Rey's. She doesn't destroy the base.
Chrome
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Hayden Christensen is a terrible actor but Star Wars was never about big actors. The original trilogy had some relative nobodies in the main trio and they lucked out big time with Harrison Ford being a breakout hit.

But even so you can’t act your way out of a bad script. “They’re animals and I slaughtered them like... ...animals!” What was Christensen supposed to do with a line that bad?
Booming
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 9:57am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
I thought Hayden Christensen was good in Shattered Glass. The whole bad acting from Ewan McGregor's or Sam Jackson's is down to directing. In prequel Star Wars the bad guys can be fun like Palpatine, the good guys are all monks who try to feel nothing which is maybe the worst directing choice ever. Lucas was basically asking his actors to fail.

Oh and the dialog *shiver*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi5jjXTPtyY

You are right about Harrison Ford but imagine him not playing a street smart smuggler but a emotion suppressing Jedi.
Chris Lopes
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
@Boomer

Rey gets captured by Kylo and then escapes using a power she has no reason to even know exists. She can resist his mind probe. She's able to fly the Falcon without ever having flown anything. She almost defeats a guy who spent years learning the ways of the dark side of the Force. She is in essence an adult version of that Anakin kid in Episode One. Just as ridiculous, with no character growth needed.

Again, the XWing thing is admittedly iffy, but Luke is only able to score the kill shot with the help of a Force ghost. In any case, a whole movie (Episode Five) is devoted to Luke messing up, getting beaten by his Dad, and putting his friends lives in danger.

From what I hear, the new movie does go somewhere in trying to explain how Rey is the way she is. So she may end up being less of a Mary Sue than when she started.
Booming
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
@Chris Lopes
You haven't seen the new movie?
I don't agree with your points but while thinking about that I noticed that I really don't care that much about Star Wars. :)
Ghosted
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Hayden gets a lot of criticism, but I think he was good in revenge of the sith, the intro/ count dooku stuff is cool and the 'I hate you' scene with Ewan is one I return to a lot. The script and direction of the prequels is all Lucas of course, but there's a lot of good stuff there. It's a pity that they didn't write Rey and Kylo as well as they could. I was happy
Ghosted
Fri, Dec 27, 2019, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
...with a female lead and I like Rey's personality, but agree with her being written as being all powerful without the journey that earns it. Similarly there couldve been more depth to Kylo's turn to the dark.
Demosthenes
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
I dislike TLJ and TROS about equally, for very different reasons. Rian Johnson broke Star Wars with his insistence on deconstructing it. And J.J. Abrams, with his overreliance on empty spectacle, was never going to be the man to put it back together. Maybe Kasdan could have done it with an extra year. But we’ll never know now.

TROS has this advantage...it feels more like Star Wars then TLJ. However, I hesitate to call it a movie. It’s more like Cliff’s Notes for what Episodes VIII and IX could have been. Both are deeply insulting to the audience...TLJ to Star Wars fans specifically, and TROS mote generally, to people who like good stories. As sad as it is to say, TFA is the best movie of the new trilogy. And now I never want to see it again, because I have a map of the wasteland to follow.

Since everyone is doing rankings, here are mine for what will now be known as the Skywalker Saga (Rogue One, Solo, and The Mandalorian excluded):

1) The Empire Strikes Back
1a) Star Wars — call it what you want, it’s STAR WARS
3) Return of the Jedi
*****SPACEBALLS LINE*****
4) The Force Awakens
5) Revenge of the Sith
*****MENDOZA LINE*****
6) The Rise of Skywalker
6a) The Last Jedi
8) The Phantom Menace
9) Attack of the Clones
Chrome
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
“Rian Johnson broke Star Wars with his insistence on deconstructing it.”

If that’s your definition of deconstruction, then Lucas did it first by making Vader into Luke’s dad and Leia into Luke’s sister.
Demosthenes
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
I define “deconstruction” as using the elements of a work to destroy the sense of the work itself. Which Johnson did, and which Lucas absolutely did not do — in the original trilogy, anyway.

I would also add that it’s a lot easier to redefine character relations in the second or third movie of a franchise than it is to redefine fundamental elements of the universe (i.e., the Force) in a franchise’s NINTH movie.
Chrome
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
That’s debatable, Luke and Leia kissed after all. RotJ deconstructs the idea of the hero rescuing the Princess and the two living happily ever after. Vader being a fallen Jedi wasn’t a thing in ANH either. Empire deconstructs the idea of a son following his father’s footsteps and slaying the villain that defeated the father.

TLJ avoids some fan predictions (not mine) and takes them in another direction. This isn’t new to Star Wars, it’s just that you didn’t like the direction. :)
Demosthenes
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Yeah...we’re very clearly not saying the same thing. I didn’t say Rian Johnson deconstructed tropes in his Star Wars movie. I said he deconstructed *Star Wars* itself. Your examples may be deconstructions of common tropes, but in-universe, they are merely plot twists. They make a universe unique...they don’t cut at its soul.

You would have been on more solid ground by noting that it wasn’t Johnson who came up with the idea of midichlorians (fatally altering the OT’s implied conception of the Force as this mystical whatsit), or showed Yoda flipping with a lightsaber (which does ALMOST as much to damage his character as Johnson’s depiction of him in TLJ). Those are definite examples of deconstructing Star Wars. So Lucas shot first. :)

And no, I didn’t like Johnson’s direction. I remain baffled that any fan would. Star Wars is based on mythic tropes. Making a Star Wars movie with the theme of “Let the past die” cuts directly at the roots of what makes Star Wars itself. However, I give Johnson this much: while TLJ fails as a Star Wars movie, it is at least an actual movie (as are the prequels). TROS is not.
Chrome
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
“They make a universe unique...they don’t cut at its soul.”

What’s Star Wars’ soul? Is there one definition all fans agree on or is it something only Lucas could understand? There are people here who love the EU, the spin-off movies like Rogue One, or the games. Who’s really to say which fan truly understands the soul of Star Wars?
Demosthenes
Sat, Dec 28, 2019, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
"What’s Star Wars’ soul? Is there one definition all fans agree on or is it something only Lucas could understand?...Who’s really to say which fan truly understands the soul of Star Wars?"

One of the wisest men in history once wrote that you should never ask more certainty of a question than it can produce. And aesthetics is notoriously ephemeral. So if you're asking these questions in expectation that I can come up with an answer that is complete and obviously right, then I'm going to disappoint you. I don't think any one person has the answer...and in any case, the prequel trilogy should serve as proof positive that it's not George Lucas.

But I'm not a relativist. I think there is an answer. And when deciding what is, and what is not, in harmony with "the soul of Star Wars," maybe you should look at the fans -- not the casuals, but the hardcore fans. There is a clear difference between the near-universal enthusiasm that greeted TFA, the sharp divide that developed in the wake of TLJ, and the irritation and resignation with which TROS has largely been met. I am not claiming that aggregate opinion constitutes truth, but it might point the way toward it.

I don't think it is productive to rehash in detail the many objections that have been raised against The Last Jedi from various quarters. I'm sure you're aware of most of them, at any rate:

1) Wheel-spinning plot
2) Story structure more appropriate for comedy
3) Inappropriate comedy (yo' mama jokes in Star Wars?)
4) Characters that are inconsistent even within the same scene -- the worst example being Luke Skywalker himself: "I'm going to destroy the texts...dammit, Yoda, how could you destroy the texts?"
5) The whole character of Holdo, who should have just been Ackbar
6) The waste of screentime that was the Canto Bight "adventure"
7) The reconception of the Force
8) The plainly dismissive attitude toward the past of the franchise...and it's been deliciously ironic to watch critics turn on TROS for dismissing TLJ...

But if you think you can make a case for TLJ being more like Star Wars and Empire than it is like Phantom Menace and Clones, I'm willing to hear it.
Booming
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 2:55am (UTC -5)
I must admit and it is probably a little perverse that I really enjoyed what Johnson did to the hardcore fans. They turned three simple adventure movies into a quasi religion, like Apple under Steve Jesus Jobs. Then Johnson came and burned it all down with almost nothing to replace it. There are probably entire insane asylums filled with hardcore star wars fans.
Let's be real here. Disney payed 4!!! billions for the rights. If people in the future want to understand what was wrong with our time maybe that would be a good place to start.

I liked the TFA, it was JJ at his best. This movie is JJ at his worst. Grandiose, manipulative, incoherent nonsense. So in my book that is 4 good movies and the rest is garbage and people still run to the cinema like sheep. Why? Because it's Star Wars, motherfucker! I only went because people invited me and almost died because I had such a bad cough that I had to leave for 5 minutes to get some hot tea with honey and missed like 20 plot points. And when I asked what I had missed one said that Chewbacca was captured, then dead but not really dead and so on. During the last hour I was laughing and shaking my head most of the time.

How many bad Star Wars movies do there have to be until people finally start to think ok this is a garbage corporate money machine.

I hate it almost as much as these stupid marvel movies. I watched quite a few of those as well but damn am I sick of them. I promised myself to never watch a marvel movie again, I'll add Star Wars to that.
Chrome
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 4:31am (UTC -5)
Whether a film is devisive or not is no indicator of quality. “Empire Strikes Back” received many bad reviews even by The New York Times and 30 years later it’s hailed by many as the best Star Wars of all time - perhaps partially because it was a game changer.
James White
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
The sequel trilogy harms the original trilogy. That's what this all boils down to for me
David V.
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Have to say that although this was far from a homerun, it’s a least a ground rule double. Most of the story relied heavily on outcomes predicated by Return of the Jedi. However, Ben Skywalker and Rey Palpatine (Skywalker) had enough intrigue between them vying for each side of the force that it kept me engaged with the story until the very end. The cameos and returning old guard were just (expected) icing on the cake.

If Disney’s plan was to redo the original Star Wars but gear it towards a younger audience, it succeeds on that front. For those of us who wanted more of the creative angle that was promised in TFA and TLJ, we’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that this wasn’t our film.

Can’t wait for Jammer’s review!
Quibbles
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I did not expect to like TROS. The one-two punch of Last Jedi and Solo really put me off the entire Star Wars franchise. Not because I hated either movie, but because the magic was gone. Star Wars had so clearly become a corporate profit-making machine, and I no longer expected it to do anything new or exciting. (I continue to insist that Last Jedi was nowhere near as “bold” and “subversive” as many claim.)

Then the reviews of TROS came out, and they were baaaaaad. I read all the spoilers in advance because I just didn’t care anymore. I only dragged myself to see it a week after release because friends were going. I spent the first 45 minutes or so deeply skeptical. It felt like watching a movie on fast-forward: barely coherent, frantically cutting to a new location every 30 seconds, jumping from one miniscule, underdeveloped scene to another. My mind started to drift, thinking about scenes from the original trilogy that took their time, like Obi-Wan explaining the Force to Luke, or Yoda raising the X-Wing on Dagobah. I just longed for the movie to SLOW DOWN and let us connect with this universe.

But you know what? It gradually got its hooks into me. It ended up being my favorite of the sequel trilogy. I still wouldn’t call it a “good” film. It does not hold up to serious analysis in terms of story structure, cinematic technique, etc. But it has its moments, moments that plucked at my emotions one by one and gradually softened this jaded heart. The brief conversation between Finn and Horse-Riding Lady about deserting the First Order. Han reappearing to Kylo Ren (in a scene which actually did slow down and take its time). The fleet of ordinary people appearing out of nowhere with the Millennium Falcon in the vanguard. Rey hearing the voices of all the Jedi that came before her, including nice cameos by Mace Windu and Qui-Gon Jinn. The kiss between Rey and Ben, one truly human moment in the midst of this technological and spiritual maelstrom. And the final scene where Rey takes on the Skywalker name, the message that you can choose to be whoever you want to be.

This trilogy is not something I’m eager to watch again and again. It’s too uneven and oddly structured, and the pieces don’t really hang together. But TROS somewhat redeemed TFA and TLJ for me. I’ve heard the whole gamut of responses, from “it was awful!” to “it was disappointing” to “I actually liked it!” I wouldn’t begrudge anyone their opinion, because I think the movie offers plenty of material for all these points of view. But for me, it was a relief. It finally had the inkling of a message / theme (choose your own destiny, change happens when ordinary people rise up) and finally, FINALLY got to me emotionally.

1) A New Hope
2) The Empire Strikes Back
3) Return of the Jedi
4) Revenge of the Sith
5) The Phantom Menace
6) The Rise of Skywalker
7) Rogue One
8) Attack of the Clones
9) The Last Jedi
10) Solo
11) The Force Awakens
Jason R.
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -5)
"It is fairly nonsensical in a Star Wars movie to use the term Mary Sue anyways because the young Jedi that is in every movie is always a Mary Sue. Anakin, Luke, Rey"

Ummm no. This claim that Luke was a Mary Sue has been so completely debunked already that I am surprised it needs to be done again. No. No. No.

Regarding Anakin, it's just hilariously wrong to call him that. His character arc is literally the anti Mary Sue.

Mary Sue does not mean "chosen one" or "central character" or "prodigy".

But I will agree Rey being a Mary Sue or not is really immaterial at this point. It's a fairly useless term because it's essentially redundant - like worrying if the ham sandwich you found lying in the dirt might have been a bit off.

With Rey Disney's underlying corporate agenda of putting forward a female superhero to help market its massive brand to a new demographic was pretty obvious at the outset. This was was the reason behind its reluctance to invest in the character any hint at weakness, doubt, foolishness, or anything that might detract from her branding. This made her character inherently boring.

But that said, if Daisy Ridley were anything of an actress, something good could have still come of it. But with Rey we have the combination of corporate agenda-driven characterization with lackluster acting which results in a complete dud of a performance.

"I liked the TFA, it was JJ at his best. This movie is JJ at his worst. Grandiose, manipulative, incoherent nonsense. "

And so we come full circle. To paraphrase a better movie, it is not JJ's filmmaking that changes - this is impossible. It is how the fans perceive it. His films are always grandiose, manipulative, incoherent nonsense as you say. But somehow, through a massive Jedi Mind Trick, Abrams bamboozled almost everyone into thinking The Force Awakens was something it was not. Now the spell wore off and fans just can't understand what went wrong.

Here is my list, with the caveat that I haven't seen ROSW. I might catch it on Netflix eventually.

1) A New Hope
2) Empire Strikes Back
3) Return of the Jedi
4) Revenge of the Sith
5) The Phantom Menace
6) Rogue One
7) Attack of the Clones
8) Solo
9) The Last Jedi
10) The Force Awakens
Jar Jar is Yoda
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Its just a kiddie movie 40 something men watch.

That's the problem of society right there.

Man-childs running to their talking raccoon and cute droid movies, then they come online to have an "adult" discussion about it.

Hilarious !!!
Booming
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 1:57am (UTC -5)
@Jar Jar is Yoda
Hahaha. So true! :D
Demosthenes
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 2:05am (UTC -5)
“Whether a film is devisive or not is no indicator of quality.”

Agreed, obviously. But now you’re shifting the terms of the discussion. We had been talking about what makes a good Star Wars film. That’s not necessarily the same thing as a quality film, full stop. On a visual and technical level, for example, TLJ is simply outstanding. But that doesn’t make it a good Star Wars film.

“‘Empire Strikes Back’ received many bad reviews even by The New York Times and 30 years later it’s hailed by many as the best Star Wars of all time...”

Setting aside your mischaracterization of Vincent Canby’s review (calling a movie “nice,” “inoffensive,” “silly,” and “amusing in fitful patches” is not a bad review, it’s just a mediocre one), you are again shifting the terms of the discussion. Empire may have divided the critics, but TLJ didn’t...it received near-universal praise.

But Empire didn’t divide the fans...which is what I was talking about with TLJ. Canby himself notes that people who loved Star Wars turned out to see Empire in droves. Adjusting for inflation, Empire is still the 13th highest-grossing movie of all time domestically. In fact, five Star Wars films make the top 20 on that list. TLJ is not one of them. It’s barely in the top 50.

Who do you think will be a better indicator of whether a film delivers a “Star Wars” kind of experience? A professional film critic? Or someone who has seen Star Wars and Empire so many times they can quote whole passages from memory? I know who I’m putting my money on.
Demosthenes
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Point:

“Its just a kiddie movie 40 something men watch.”

—The self-proclaimed social critic “Jar Jar Is Yoda”

***************

Counterpoint:

“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

—CS Lewis, Oxford and Cambridge scholar, bestselling author, and person I highly doubt would ever have mocked others for continuing to love at forty the good things they loved in their youth
Booming
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 2:57am (UTC -5)
@ Jason
Be it as it may but as I said I really don't care that much. ;)
Booming
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 3:10am (UTC -5)
@ Demosthenes
"but TLJ didn’t...it received near-universal praise."
I'm not sure know if people don't understand rotten tomatoes but even if a movie gets 91% then that doesn't mean universal praise. It means that 91% found it to be ok or better while 9% found it to be not ok or worse.
If you look at the actual ratings you will see that quite a few are: B, 3.5/5, 3/4, 7/10 and one is even 2/5 but still a tomato. I wouldn't call 7/10 or 3.5/5 praise.
Only about half !with a rating! are 4/5, 5/5 or comparable. A third doesn't even have a numerical rating. In that case the critic just liked it. Whatever that means.

Just wanted to point that out because a lot of people mistake a very high rotten score as "the critics think that the movie is the best thing ever" when it is nothing more than a thumbs up, thumbs down ratio without clear rules I might add.
Chrome
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 3:34am (UTC -5)
I don’t want to get bogged down in semantics, Demo. If you care to continue discussing TLJ, we should shift it to that comment section. It just seems like we don’t agree on what Star Wars is — and that’s totally fine.
Booming
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 3:55am (UTC -5)
Here is the half in the bag review for anybody who wants an in depth review. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pAsss_nTlk
Chris Lopes
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -5)
"It just seems like we don’t agree on what Star Wars is — and that’s totally fine."

So you're saying it's just a movie franchise and we don't have to burn the heretics? Son of gun!
P'kard
Tue, Dec 31, 2019, 12:24am (UTC -5)
The saga ends....until Disney decides they want more star wars money. Which will be two months from now
Booming
Tue, Dec 31, 2019, 3:19am (UTC -5)
It will only end if/when people stop watching. It's like Mcdonalds. As long as people wan to eat garbage there will be a Mcdonalds nearby.
One problem is that Disney is using all it's star wars products to draw people into Disney+ which means far less money from selling distribution rights. There will be a Star Wars 10 in 2021.

You get a new crew who does what they always do in these shitty movies (Disney) plus you can give Oscar Isaac or Daisy Ridley 5 million and they have a few cameos where they can spout important nonsense and give weight to the new crew. Sure now they all say that they are done with Star Wars but they even got Harrison Ford to appear and that guy really hates Star Wars. I wonder what they gave him... I imagine that it is something you cannot buy with money only with power like maybe the restored plane of the red baron so that Harrison Ford can be in another plane crash.

Oh and to all the "critics are all bought shills" Star Wars 9 has 54% from critics and 86% from the audience (that has a rotten tomatoes account and did bother enough to make a review). Seems like the audience was bought by Disney OR Disney was so sure that this movie would be a hit they didn't bother buying the critics. I could now write a long piece about why critic scores and audience scores often differ but...

Have a nice start into the new decade in which we will get even more hollow corporate garbage, more corporate profiling and more political conflict.

And maybe a few good things, too. You never know. :)
Pascal
Tue, Dec 31, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Star Wars is an evergreen property. Deal with it.
wolfstar
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 6:43am (UTC -5)
I saw it yesterday. My main takeaway is that whatever else went wrong in these films - ie. pretty much everything right down to the basic plotting, worldbuilding and characterization - the central Rey-Ben arc holds up. For me it's kind of the only thing that makes this trilogy worthwhile or watchable. Adam Driver is great and while I've often found Daisy Ridley wooden, she rose to the occasion when needed here - the two of them have good chemistry together. I was so glad in this film that they went through with redeeming Ben; Rey's line that she "wanted to take [his hand] - Ben's hand" was key. I found the scene where Ben speaks to his dead father very moving, as well as the end where he comes together with Rey then revives her.

It's so on trend at the moment for films to have a shallow "toxic white male" character who's essentially irredeemable (whether the film condems him or lionizes him), so I think it's so important that the film showed that it was possible for Ben to step back from the path he was on and that it would lead to no good (for him or anyone else). The way Driver sloughs off the characters anger like a worn-out skin - revealing beneath it loss, regret and an unselfish desire to try and make amends - is masterful. As Freddie deBoer put it in his great write-up, "Star Wars is about redemption". https://fredrikdeboer.com/2020/01/02/let-me-explain-all-of-star-wars-to-you-heathens/

Other notes: A beefier role for Rose here would have helped undo the damage from TLJ, because the actress is good - it wasn't her fault that her character was so badly written in the last film. John Boyega was wasted in all three of these films - he and Driver are the best of the new cast, but his arc just goes nowhere. The last-minute insert of one-dimensional love interests for both Finn and Poe is laughable, ditto the blink-and-you-miss-it same-sex kiss. When "representation" like that is so tokenistic, cursory and fearful (much more so than the Sulu moment in STB, which I actually quite liked), you really have to ask what the point of it is and who it's for. Studios are playing this ridiculous tightrope walk of trying to display their progressive credentials while not alienating foreign markets, especially in countries like China where a mainstream blockbuster could be denied release by government censors if it includes too much LGBT content. The lesbian kiss is so cursory and the camera cuts away from it so fast that you can feel how frightened the filmmakers are that it could negatively impact their bottom line. It's pathetic.
wolfstar
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Oh, ranking:

1) Star Wars
2) Empire Strikes Back
3) Rogue One
4) Return Of The Jedi
5) All the others

I look forward to the saga ending again in another 15 years' time when they decide they want to hook in another generation of consumers.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
I rewatched Endgame recently and it’s pretty amazing how well Disney can pull off one finale and not the other. Any theories why that might be? It’s clearly not a matter of money. Stan Lee was around, but he was retired and wasn’t doing any creative work for Disney outside the cameos.
Chris Lopes
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Two franchises with 2 different creative teams. The Marvel folks had a long term plan and stuck to it. The Star Wars folks were winging it. J. J. Abrams may have had a plan but it didn't survive TLJ. The finale is an attempt to make all the different pieces that weren't meant to fit together into a coherent whole.
Geekgarious
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Yeah Star Wars could’ve been fantastic under Disney with the right people running it. Kennedy, Hidalgo and Abrams were not the right people. And Lucas wanted Abrams directing episode seven, so I put this on him ultimately. These are just space adventure films and all, but as a swan song to Han, Luke and Leia this trilogy was lame.

*reaches for the A New Hope radio drama*
Chris Lopes
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
*reaches for the A New Hope radio drama*

I haven't heard that name in a long time, a long time.

:)
PM
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 2:46am (UTC -5)
I like most movies and most sci fi.

I like most Star Trek and Star Wars and most of my friends do too. Our family just tries to surround ourselves with positive things.

I dont hate most things new. I'm a 9 year old in a 42 year old's body and I'm usually just pretty amazed with a lot of the stuff I see on screens.

But there are limits to that.

The Star Wars prequels (ALL of them, even Revenge of the Sith) were horribly-acted video games with barely 5 good moments between them.

The first two Disney sequels, breaths of fresh air. Wonderfully acted, fun FUNNY roller coasters into a galaxy I was overjoyed to return to.

Having said that, Rise Of Skywalker was an absolute, unbridled, non sensical, boring mess.

How anyone could have thought it was acceptable to turn in this slap-in-the-face trainwreck as the final chapter of this saga is a mystery for the ages.

Emperor got thrown to his death decades ago, so how is he now alive? Up yours! Stop asking questions and watch our joke of a movie!

Kerri Russel and twelve other celebs show up to establish characters that get 3 mins of screen time? Shut up and buy their action figures!

Trailers had 99% of all the even close to good parts of the full film? Stop complaining! So do most Pauli Shore movies.

Know what, though?
Star Wars is alive and well on the big screen (and by big screen, I mean my 70 inch 4K tv, which has been giving me week after week of incredible Mandalorian episodes...And if you add up the cost of each month of our Disney+ subscription combined, it still is cheaper than the price my wife and I paid to go to our local movie theatre, eat diarea-causing over-buttered popcorn, and watch the wang-punch that is Rise Of Skywalker.

Honest-to-effing-baby-Yoda, the diarea was more pleasent than watching this movie.
James White
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
After TLJ, why was it necessary to forcibly end the sequel story arc with Episode 9? Why not have two more episodes to develop and integrate the competing themes expressed in TFA and TLJ?
Chrome
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 10:34am (UTC -5)
@James White

That’s an interesting point. I’m sure Disney already contracted people only for up to the end of the trilogy and it would be really expensive to extend those figures. Then too, you got the aging old cast (one of whom died already which probably messed up this movie significantly) who you can’t count on for an extra movie.

Also I don’t think Disney is super eager to further saturate the SW movie market after Solo’s failure. They’re focusing on the TV stuff now, and who knows when, if ever, we’ll see an episode X in our lifetimes.
James White
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Yeah, it's more or less wishful thinking, in the face of corporate realities. It makes you wonder at what point JJ himself realized that shoehorning everything into a single, final film wasn't going to work. Then again, maybe he never did. Arrogance and myopia are a wonderful drug.
Booming
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -5)
Yeah, quite a few were clearly done with Star Wars like Ridley(received endless hate) and Boyega (completely underused) but I'm fairly certain that they will make a new trilogy soon. The movies are still the flag ship so that has to be resurrected.
Paul M.
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 5:38am (UTC -5)
Just watched it. What can I say that hasn't been said already?

The best compliment and the most devastating critique essentially boils down to the same thing - it's a J. J. Abrams movie. The guy is a more refined and, admittedly, much more competent version of Michael Bay. And by this point in my life, I'm really done with his approach to filmmaking. Seen one of his movies, seen them all.

Rise of Skywalker is an all-out assault on every single neuroreceptor in your body, with sound and images and plot points buzzing around at light speed until you're physiologically incapable of sustaining any more hits and succumb to that pleasant state akin to alcohol-induced stupor where everything is fine and life is good and the Force is with us and oh boy I really liked BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic back in 2003 -- and don't even get me started on KotOR 2 by Obsidian, now that's a masterpiece -- and all this shared cultural heritage is kinda cool and I look forward to discussing this with my friends... until the haze lifts and you realize there's... nothing beneath the surface.

The way Abrams dismissed The Last Jedi in its entirety is, well, bold I guess (though the same could be said of TLJ in relation to TFA), and the way he conjured plot points from thin air every 10 minutes is even bolder... I mean, HE is your main antagonist? Really? Okay.

As others have noted, the one highlight I can take away from this entire trilogy is Rey-Ben relationship. It had a clear beginning, middle and end, and, aside from that silly Hollywood moment at the end, was a narrative journey worth exploring. I wish the very best to Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver who gave their all in these movies.

When all is said and done, the entire sequel trilogy is more or less the original trilogy retread, just executed with less substance and more everything else. When viewed in isolation, TRoS is a technically competent movie that is kinda entertaining to watch. When viewed as a final movie of the trilogy, its value and the enjoyment one might derive from it fall precipitously. And most damningly, as a conclusion to the Grand Saga that started before I was born, it's a trainwreck that failed to honor even the basics of what came before. Ape yes, honor no.

Pity it had to end like this.
Dom
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -5)
@Paul M., I agree with your take. More importantly, more people need to play KOTOR 1 & 2. Star Wars storytelling works best when you take the setting and world-building and use it to tell new stories with new characters. KOTOR 1 did what TFA tried to do, recapture the spirit of the original films in a new setting. KOTOR 2 did a deconstruction like TLJ tried to do, arguably more effectively. For both games, the characters had to stand on their own and couldn't rely upon nostalgia.
Chrome
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
I loved KoToR a lot and from what I hear The Mandalorian has some similarities to the named planet in the games. The problem with trying to put KoToR on screen is you’re not going to grab the non-savvy casual fans who only know about Luke, Han, Leia, and Vader (and now maybe the sequel leads like Rey and Poe). It would have been nice if the sequel trilogy set up some unsolved world-building that would stir up interest in that type of movie though.

It’s a shame because I see in this Star Trek too. So many Hollywood execs are stuck in the past and rebooting said past.
Paul M.
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
KotOR 1 and 2 are mighty fine examples of RPGs for sure and quite likely among the best Star Wars games ever done. What Disney needs to do is what those games did, as Dom correctly pointed out: now that the Skywalker Saga is over, they should pick a different timeframe and make a series of movies set there, with a clear vision of where they want to go and what it is they intend to accomplish.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 7, 2020, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
I really like the Mandalorian.

It has just the right balance of ingredients: nostalgia, respect for canon, good storytelling, showing instead of telling, good special effects, well casted characters, a sense of wonder. I felt like a kid again as I watched these for the first time.

This is what the new Star Wars movies failed at: it stopped feeling like a galaxy long ago and far away, but rather a galaxy generated on a computer hard drive in Hollywood.

(Spoiler)

I wouldn't have had Mando show his face at the end. I hope they keep his helmet firmly planted on his head.

(End spoiler)

Hopefully next season will maintain this level of quality.
Atomguy
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 9:42am (UTC -5)
I think this movie was alright, maybe too much fan service and not enough plot, but fortunately, the Mandalorian was good enough to counteract that. Speacking of which, hey, Jammer, could you review the Mandalorian? It is Star Wars, after all.
JPaul
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I still remember all those fans defending The Force Awakens after it came out, saying that we couldn't judge it as what it actually was (a bad copy of A New Hope) until the entire sequel trilogy was released. They were all so certain that episodes 8 and 9 would break new ground and take Star Wars in bold and exciting new directions, we just needed to be patient, they said.

Well, now that it's all over, The Last Jedi was a poor version of Empire Strikes Back with a some ideas and scenes cribbed from Return of the Jedi (the throne room scene, Rey believing that there's good in Kylo Ren), and now The Rise of Skywalker is a not so cleverly disguised copy of Return of the Jedi.

There's nothing in this trilogy as clean and understandable as "we need the Death Star plans to find a weakness so we can blow it up" or "we need to blow up the shield generator so we can attack the second Death Star". Instead we get "we need the map to Skywalker because... well no reason really because Luke is a washed up failure, why did we bother", or "we need to get the hacker so we can disable the tracking ship... oh, never mind, too late we already lost all our ships", or "we need the dagger to get the translation to get the Holocron, oh screw it I'll just use the way finder Kylo had in his ship".

I'm sure Disney isn't crying too much, they've made a ton of money off these movies and now they have a path forward for Star Wars with the success of The Mandalorian on Disney+, but it really seems to me that this was the worst case scenario for the sequel trilogy.
Chris Lopes
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
"this was the worst case scenario for the sequel trilogy."

No. The worst case scenario would have been a reimagining of the original trilogy starring all your favorite beloved Disney characters. Just try to get THAT image out of your mind.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
"The Last Jedi was a poor version of Empire Strikes Back"

This I don't agree with. Snoke getting killed while Ben and Rey foster an unexpected relationship sets TLJ squarely apart from Empire. I suppose you could loosely analogize Luke with Yoda on Dagobah but the way Luke actually comes out to fight Kylo Ren changes that narrative significantly. TLJ is the most original piece born from the sequel series, and ironically some fans hate it for that very reason...
JPaul
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome "TLJ is the most original piece born from the sequel series" That's not saying much given how closely TFA and TRoS hew to the OT. The basic beats of TLJ are the same as ESB:

Even after their victory destroying the Death Star/Starkiller Base our heroes are on the run from the Empire/The First Order while Luke/Rey trains with Jedi Master Yoda/Luke to become a Jedi Knight. Then Luke's/Rey's friends are in trouble and only he/she can save them but doing so puts him/her into a confrontation with Darth Vader/Snoke+Kylo from which he/she is tempted by the dark side of the force when the truth of his/her parentage is revealed but he/she makes the right choice and lives to fight another day with the Rebellion/Resistance.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
I don't recall Rey being tempted to help her friends over training to be a Jedi or meeting with Kylo Ren. She had more determination to ideals than Luke. Luke literally gave up his training with Yoda to help his friends; that was a huge decision that led to his failure in Empire. The two movies only have the vaguest similarities and that's if you stretch the facts.

Contrast that with TRoS, which has a ton of natural and intentional parallels to RoTJ, and it seems to be on purpose.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
And Snoke dying in TLJ is a big deal. Nothing like that happened in Empire.
JPaul
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
"I don't recall Rey being tempted to help her friends over training to be a Jedi"

She goes off to redeem Kylo instead of training with Luke and winds up helping her friends in the same way Luke does in ESB. It's just a poorly written version of ESB because at least Luke had some compelling reason to leave and it's a hard decision as he knows he's not really ready. Rey isn't losing anything here because Luke is a bitter old man who was teaching her nothing, why would the audience care that she left?

"The two movies only have the vaguest similarities and that's if you stretch the facts. "
The vaguest similarities? I already outlined the plot of both movies above and they are basically the same. Rey training with an old Jedi master = Luke training with an old Jedi master. Rey's friends being chased by the First Order = Luke's friends being chased by the Empire. Finn, Rose, and BB8 going after the hacker to stop the tracking ship = Han going to Cloud City to fix his hyperdrive (each group gets betrayed in the end by the person they trusted, DJ and Lando respectively). Rey's confrontation with Snoke+Kylo = Luke's confrontation with Darth Vader. Both learn a terrible truth about their parentage, then escape to join their friends and live to fight another day. At least at the end of ESB there's some interesting dangling plot threads with Han taken off to Jabba's palace by Boba Fett, and Luke struggling with the truth of Darth Vader's identity, the end of TLJ had many of us shrugging our shoulders and wondering what reason we had to go see the next instalment.

"And Snoke dying in TLJ is a big deal."

Snoke is not a big deal at all, his death here is a desperate attempt to come up with something as shocking as "Luke, I am your father" in ESB. It doesn't work because he's a minor character and ultimately the end of the movie is the same as ESB, Kylo tempting Rey to join him and rule the galaxy the way Vader did with Luke, and Rey refusing and escaping him to join her friends in the Resistance. The status quo doesn't really change, it's just Kylo in charge of the First Order instead of a literal Emperor Palpatine stand-in.
Chrome
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Well, this conversation was productive. :-)
Atomguy
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 10:39am (UTC -5)
JPaul, I don't recall Luke and Vader battling stormtroopers together in ESB, or the rebellion sending a number of old Republic ships to destroy AT-ATs at the end of the movie. And, funnily enough, I don't seem to have any memory of the Emperor's own ship getting obliterated by a ship ramming into it at lightspeed at point blank range. Not saying that similarities don't exist, but it TLJ is almost certainly the most original and unique and, in my opinion, the best of the sequal trilogy.
Jason
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
I walked into TLJ expecting Rey to lose an arm and find out she's somehow blood-related to Snoke. Now *that* would've been ripping off ESB.
JPaul
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
"the rebellion sending a number of old Republic ships to destroy AT-ATs at the end of the movie"

They took the Hoth scene from the start of ESB and put it at the end of TLJ. Instead of white snow we get white sand, instead of snow speeders we get... a different kind of speeder. In both cases the Rebels/Resistance are outmatched by the Empire/First Order and they just need to delay until they can get away. Not exactly what I would call original.

"I don't recall Luke and Vader battling stormtroopers together in ESB"
"I don't seem to have any memory of the Emperor's own ship getting obliterated by a ship ramming into it at lightspeed"

These were done for the sake of eye candy and nothing more. The guards in the throne room scene could have easily looked at each other, looked at Snoke cut into pieces, then gotten down on one knee and pledged fealty to Kylo Ren and it wouldn't have changed the plot of the movie at all. All done to have a cool looking lightsaber battle.

The light speed ram is a deus ex machina way of accomplishing what ESB does with Lando's decision to throw in with the Rebellion after Darth Vader goes back on their agreement, It's a plot device to get the heroes out of the predicament they're in (captured by the Empire/First Order). I'm not going to go into why the use of deus ex machina is poor writing, suffice it to say that it's been controversial for thousands of years of literary history.

"TLJ is almost certainly the most original and unique and, in my opinion, the best of the sequal trilogy"

I consider it the worst, but really I could make a case for any one of them because they're all terrible. I suppose I dislike the TRoS the least because it's the last one and I won't have to watch anymore of them, I had incredibly low expectations going in, and some scenes made me laugh because they are completely ridiculous (horses running around on the outer hull of a Star Destroyer for example).
James White
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 3:12am (UTC -5)
JPaul, some of the parallels you are claiming resemble square pegs and round wholes. A few are legit but others are your zeal getting in the way of your better judgment.
James White
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 3:31am (UTC -5)
Holes
John Harmon
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Why do people keep falling for JJ's hack tricks? Remember when Star Trek '09 came out? People kept saying it wasn't very original, it felt like he ripped off the plot from the original Star Wars, but doing what he did with it was essential to bring in new fans and introduce them to Star Trek and that the sequels would totally be better and explore new ground. And the sequels were both wet farts.

People had the exact same sentiments with Force Awakens. Yeah it's just a remake of the original Star Wars, but he had to do that to remind people of Star Wars, that thing they already remember. The sequels will totally explore new ground.

Just stop falling for his tricks. JJ Abrams doesn't have an original bone in his body. He knows how to remix things he grew up with. His movies always focus on nostalgia, mystery boxes that go nowhere, and a frenetic pace with lots of yelling and explosions to tickle our lizard brains so we don't have enough time to think about how none of what we're seeing makes any sense.

And Alex Kurtzman is a clone of JJ Abrams, constantly mimicking his style and techniques for filmmaking, but doing it even worse somehow. Stop falling for these hacks' bag of tricks.
Booming
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
@John Harmon
Well, he is a good producer and a competent director. The problems start when he picks up a pen or the Kurtzman Orci duo of doom works for him. Star Trek 09 und Into Darkness were written by Kurtzman and Orci, Star Trek Boyond was written by Simon Pegg. JJ only produced it.

While I'm certainly not a fan of his, saying that there is some kind of trick or whatever shows a lack of understanding or a vivid imagination.
Yanks
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Saw this the other night.

About what I expected. ... well, I didn't expect Rey to be Palpatine's frellin granddaughter though...

I become so accustomed to the visual awe these movies provide that I'm even more let down by the lack of a coherent storyline when I see them I guess. The same with the last Terminator movie.

While I'm not a huge fan of 'The Force Awakens', (copy, bigger, copy, bigger) I think these "3", might have been better had JJ done all three. Maybe that way we wouldn't have spent so much time in this one catching up for what wasn't told in 'The Last Jedi'

Pretty much a paint by numbers finale. Got all the cameos in. Palpatine didn't die after all and he's amassed a bazillion ships, blah, blah. We must stop him, or he'll amass a bazillion more ships, blah, blah... I do enjoy Rey though.

I never felt anything aside from Rey hugging Princess Leia goodby. (and I think that was because Carrie Fisher passed away) Kylo Ren's death was expected and I never once thought Rey would turn to the dark side. Maybe if the 2nd movie had her to do just that it might have been better.

I'm not upset. Star Wars just doesn't mean that much to me (or maybe it used to but doesn't anymore), but man Disney really screwed the pooch with these last 3 movies... they made a gazillion dollars, so they will see them as gold and probably give us more just like it.

For me, the best Star Wars since the 'Empire Strikes Back' are 'Rogue One' and the recently released 'Mandalorian'. I should include 'The Clone Wars' animated series as I've heard great things about it, but I haven't seen enough it to say for myself.

I'm not even going to rank them... I guess my midichlorian count isn't high enough.

I am going to buy a baby Yoda though :-)
John Harmon
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
@booming yes the lack of imagination is on JJ’s part. He has none.
Chrome
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Yanks wrote:

"While I'm not a huge fan of 'The Force Awakens', (copy, bigger, copy, bigger) I think these "3", might have been better had JJ done all three. Maybe that way we wouldn't have spent so much time in this one catching up for what wasn't told in 'The Last Jedi'"

Or maybe Rian Johnson should've directed all three. But yeah, I agree that the changing of the guard midway through the series led to too many slap-dash efforts to conclude story arcs. It reminds me a lot of the final season of The Office where they brought the original creator Greg Daniels back, but he brought with him all these old things that didn't fit with what happened while he left. Consequently, the show became a Frankenstein's monster of non-sequential stories.

Also, you're right about Fisher and her not being in this movie more must have seriously hamstrung JJ's original gameplan. She really needed to be in this movie as much as Hamill was in TLJ.
Atomguy
Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Honestly, I think that Rey being a Palpatine was predictable, and yet somehow still out of nowhere. I was surprised to realize when I saw it for the first time that I was not at all surprised by the twist, but it kind of ruins the message that TLJ was trying to have, that you have to be related to someone powerful to be powerful. And Rey worrying that she'd turn to the dark side, they don't do anything with that. Instead of accepting that perhaps the Jedi weren't perfect and a combination of the light and dark side could be attained she just forgets her entire internal struggle, the dark side is absolutely gone in her, and she becomes the perfect Jedi, apparently (Despite her rather out of the blue make out scene with Ben) she just becomes the embodiment of all the Jedi and wins that way. I honestly think that it could have been so much cooler if she had done it entirely on her own, with maybe a little help from Ren. In the struggle, Ben is injured, and Rey, with help from both sides, kills Palpatine. Ben then dies in her arms, etc. etc. On Tatooine, she responds to the person with "Just Rey" and walks away, igniting her new and shiny purple lightsaber. Boom, movie ends, best ending since Return.
Leif
Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Was anyone else disappointed Yoda wasnt in,the film like Luke was...especially at the end facing the Emperor?? And thst they didn't bring back the Midichlorians and show their origin to go full,circle and show the origin of the Force and dark side..maybe in some,mysterious stellar nursery or cool,imaginative sci first phenomenon that was like a Midichlorians nest or,something...something akint to the unique and fairly imaginative and cool area of space where Exegol was or that pretty unique Kijimi planet...did anyone else want that sort of sci fi,world,building or,exploration ?? I did like the twist of Rey being Palpatibes blood..thiught it was a little surprising..though I guessed halfway in...just like I guessed who the traitor was...
Leif
Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Was anyone else disappointed Yoda wasnt in,the film like Luke was...especially at the end facing the Emperor?? And thst they didn't bring back the Midichlorians and show their origin to go full,circle and show the origin of the Force and dark side..maybe in some,mysterious stellar nursery or cool,imaginative sci first phenomenon that was like a Midichlorians nest or,something...something akint to the unique and fairly imaginative and cool area of space where Exegol was or that pretty unique Kijimi planet...did anyone else want that sort of sci fi,world,building or,exploration ?? I did like the twist of Rey being Palpatibes blood..thiught it was a little surprising..though I guessed halfway in...just like I guessed who the traitor was...
Atomguy
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Did you accidentally double post
PM
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 1:22am (UTC -5)
"Exegol" sounds like something my grandma puts on for pain relief..."My arthritis is acting up again...Better rub some Exegol on..."
Atomguy
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
I had trouble remembering the name the first time through
Joseph B
Sat, Jan 18, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Well just for “kicks and giggles”, here’s my Star Wars movie rankings:

* Empire Strikes Back — Still the best sequel ever made. Only “Terminator 2” can even come close toit.

* Star Wars (er, I mean, “The New Hope”) — Still remember when I saw it the first time. We had to bus over to Atlanta (from Birmingham). Stood in line in the rain for 90 minutes. Jaw hit the floor just after the opening crawl. When the movie was over we just nodded to each other and got back in line.

* Return of the Jedi
* Rogue One
* Revenge of the Sith
* The Force Awakens — Had a lot of fun in the theater with this one. In retrospect, it might have been the “Harrison Ford” factor.
* The Phantom Menace
* The Rise of Skywalker
* Attack of the Clones — This movie could have been great if Spielberg had directed it. He approached Lucas to do just that and was turned down. The pivotal love story just didn’t work under Lucas’ direction.
* The Last Jedi — I didn’t hate it until the end when Luke “force projected” himself into the showdown and then just faded away. WTF(?). Good acting from Hamill for the first 2/3rds of the movie, but I couldn’t buy that ending ... 😡
* Solo — They should have just used Harrison and Williams with the CGI de-aging ...
JPaul
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -5)
"Exegol" sounds like something my grandma puts on for pain relief..."My arthritis is acting up again...Better rub some Exegol on..."

I kept thinking of the Xtacles from Frisky Dingo, "Awesome X's team of easily distracted and remarkably inept, rocket-booted troops." (from Wikipedia). This almost made me lol in the theatre when I first heard them say "Exegol" since it sounds so similar.
Tim C
Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
I came here to comment on the first episode of Picard, but since Jammer hasn't opened the new section yet I guess I'll leave two cents here instead.

This movie was an epic letdown, which is quite an accomplishment after The Last Jedi left me so confused. The difference between TROS and TLJ, though, is that even though I think TLJ was ultimately a misfire, you could see genuine artistic and creative intent behind it all. Johnson had things to say about the Jedi, about war, and about failure. I respect the effort to give us something new.

TROS, though, *immediately* demonstrates its artistic bankruptcy by bringing back Palpatine. In the opening crawl, no less! Rather than double down on the idea of the First Order now being commanded by a crazy-ass Kylo Ren determined on forging a new path, we revert to our cackling supervillain who we've already seen getting his ass kicked *twice*. McDiarmid's performance is wonderful fun, as usual, but as an idea and a character the Emperor is just boring now.

The fan-servicey, soft-reboot nature of The Force Awakens was appropriate, I thought, given the disaster that was the prequels and the need to remind audiences that Star Wars could still be *fun*. From there, though, there was an obvious need to chart a new course in order to keep the magic alive, and a good final chapter in the trilogy could have redeemed some of the bad stuff in TLJ. Instead, by choosing to backpedal and sprint though two movies' worth of (pretty silly and uninteresting) plot, we just get a sad exercise in fan fiction that fails to exploit our new heroes to their full potential and just leaves you feeling empty when the credits roll.

1.5 stars and a sad face emoji.
Cody B
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Well I’m late to this party but hey I’ll still weigh in.

On its own? Stupid but fun

Tied to the rest of the series? A dumpster fire.
Cody B
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:52am (UTC -5)
@Joseph B

The best sequel ever made is The Godfather 2
PM
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -5)
Still no review?

I predict Jammer will give 2.5 stars/4

In reality, it deserves 0/4

(If TOS Balance Of Terror gets less than 4/4this movie should mathematically get -3/4)

Make it so the Force will be with you!
Atomguy
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
I tend to agree with you, PM
Toony
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 4:13am (UTC -5)
A pointless , unimaginative and terrible conclusion for a troubled trilogy.
What we have here folks is two warring directors trying to screw each other over, Rian shouldbeJobless wanted to establish his own trilogy with the last film and took a giant shit on the obvious set up of JJ's starter to do it and now JJ's taking an even bigger shit on his movie.
One day this train wreck will be excised from continuity and we'll pick up a century or two later in a story that will subtly reference the Thrawn trilogy and Dark Empire before this garbage.
PM
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 2:29am (UTC -5)
Just sayin @Atomguy

Never in my life have I viewed such a confused piece of flaming poo

This must be the 4th comment I've made here about the movie....that's how much it bugged me...I just need to keep coming back to remind anyone who has the good sense to listen what a slap in the face this was

...we all deserved so much better (thanks haters, you've ruined movies)
Atomguy
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Did that come out as sarcastic? If so, sorry. I DO agree with you
PM
Fri, Feb 14, 2020, 3:55am (UTC -5)
Oh, actually it's ok...This explains everything... https://youtu.be/2OnieKUgv3I
Occuprice
Sat, Feb 29, 2020, 4:17am (UTC -5)
After feeling burned out by the constant slew of star wars movies and products (which have ultimately left me with a greater appreciation for what was good about the prequels), I finally tried to watch the new movie on an airplane.

I watched the first several minutes and just disliked everything. Plot developments I was unconvinced by and incredibly flashy and ADD but ultimately boring cgi. I did like the scene on the falcon playing monster chess. As soon as CGI carrie fisher showed up, I decided I didn't need to make myself see this at all. I switched to watch Judy and enjoyed that a lot.

Force Awakens was fun, Rogue One was good. I'll go hang out with count dooku now...
RS
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Jammer, will your review for this movie see the triumphant return of the "zero stars" rating? (I suspect few would complain)
Big Pimpin'
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I think Jammer has pretty good taste in Trek, but his Wars reviews are all over the place. I wonder if he just can't be bothered to review this mess of a movie.
Elliot Wilson
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
Just here to clear up a few misconceptions, thanks to Kathleen Kennedy and her cohorts helping the spread of misinformation, speaking from my own niche in the fandom as a member of the Expanded Universe Movement and a loyalist Legends hold-out. No, Legends absolutely had oversight from George, he made a checklist on what to sign off on, what was allowed and what was not (like exploring Yoda's species, probably because he wanted to do so himself if it ever came up). Plus he was an avid reader of the comics, like Star Wars: Republic. He probably had less time to read, or he would have checked out the novels, since he was a fan of older science-fiction literature like Dune, Lensman, and so on.

And it had become too bloated, true - that came about in 2008 with Dave Filoni, who some appear to be clamoring around now to succeed Kennedy, aspiring to dreams and ego-fueled ambitions far past his station. He was right when he said the EU was not technically part of the world of George Lucas. George didn't have a hierarchy of canon - he never said that word "canon." He had three pillars. The first, whatever he makes (of which hey, he never considered TCW's movie or the TV show to be a part of it); then there is the second pillar, which is all that the EU does, no doubt because George appreciated other, more talented people coming in to help shore up his weaknesses as a writer, like he had done with the original trilogy; then there's the third pillar, the fans.

But Filoni was caught red-handed just lifting material from the lore without looking into the details of it (like stuff that was written on the older Star Wars Databank), the precursor to Disney's practices now, and he was also on record stating he likes to poke at the fans, troll them a bit, IIRC (the exact wording might not be exactly this), so it sounds as though he's still low-key nursing a grudge, and when offered advice from George, he ignored it a lot of the times as well as he did the advice of Hidalgo and Chee who were desperately trying to run about keeping it consistent, whipping up a whole new T Canon level because Filoni is narcissistic. That is where Legends became too bloated. And Filoni still works there. He is NOT the man to succeed Kathleen Kennedy and continue what George Lucas began. I personally hold him responsible for all the stupid changes to lore like redesigning the planets Malachor V, Onderon, and Kessel to more generic spheroids because he's a person with limited imagination, and isn't familiar with the EU, so doubtless he just thinks ALL planets should be spherical. He put WOLVES in Star Wars, why? And he used time travel to save Ahsoka long after the point she should be DEAD, going against George's own wishes because we know this is not George's vision to Star Wars, yet they keep saying they're following true to his footsteps (when they ditched him at the first opportunity), both blaming and praising George to deflect criticism from themselves. In short, Filoni is not your man. He was never the first pillar, but he was too arrogant to try and fit TCW into the EU, and so it was an orphan until Disney adopted it. But then, I don't know who would be.

Legends was absolutely consistent, despite the retcons, until 2008. Now let's move on from that.

I find the new material to be a pale shadow of what it once was. The big issue here lies in the fact that it is founded upon lies and hypocrisy. Their so-called EU tribute vid Lucasfilm put out only ever really talked about the EARLY EU - stuff like the Thrawn Trilogy and Dark Empire, never the true high-water marks such as the KOTOR games, the Darth Bane Trilogy, and potentially a dozen more. George said they wanted a retro movie, but I think their approach so far has been too chaotic to stick, speaking as a Legends fan and dedicated member of niche geek circles. It hits all the points needed to draw in the casuals to make them their money, but it will not sustain them past that once they leave the shelves and theaters. The geek circles keep it alive, and they have called us right-wingers, sexists and racists based on the actions of a few. How ironic.

The new canon is a failure in management, even if you like it. In trying to address the points raised by the heartbroken Legends fans to "bring it back" or continue it when they ceased all work on it and tossed it away in 2014, they prove how tone-deaf they REALLY are as they half-heartedly "give us more Legends" in entirely the WRONG manner, lifting elements, similarities, and sometimes grafting wholesale entire plotlines into the new canon, like how Rise of Skywalker is the pale retelling of Dark Empire stitched to the Legacy of the Jedi and Return of the Jedi topped off to the Katana Fleet and World Devastators. It is like Voyager. It has NO IDEA what it wants to be, and in essence, it is half the EU, and now half some weird and new content that is shortchanging both the older material since this is the new Gospel of Canon supplanting it, and underselling what the new material is capable of, if it were allowed to stand upon its own as an alternate universe peacefully coexisting alongside, not at the expense of the older continuity, which is where I find a lot of people probably have the most criticisms, and the most of fandom anxieties, such as for me. Just because something is more "canon" or has been moved "to the big screen" in some limited fashion doesn't make it superior to what came before. And Star Wars was NEVER gone. Only to snobs who can't be arsed to read.

Kennedy and her comments do NOT help. I understand the limits of a corporate reality. I really do. You can't stop a production. That being said, the language here is the big issue, since it's picked up on by EU haters and used to sneer at the older content, especially given how this is laced in narcissism. God forbid Legends has a few bad eggs in it when their new canon is the same way. It is inevitable. You can't have a "grand unified canon," that is what the older EU was doing (since Star Trek and Stargate NEVER had consistency among their own books in relation to the TV shows) all along and despite the way they declare "firsties" to draw in idiots which the EU has already done (like "first female villain" or "first Wookiee Jedi") we have already seen the seams showing through now. It is why it is still trendy based on ignorance to keep pushing the narrative that "Legends was a mess." Give it a few more years, and you'll see, the new canon will be the same way. Kennedy's words ring hollow to their concept of a "grand unified canon" by this point, when it is the approach true to all creativity, sometimes there's retcons, and sometimes there is not.

What the anti-EU crowd do is to read online articles from the older fans who are bandwagon jumpers, latch onto Kennedy's remarks, and double down on it in the way they spread the misconceptions, which is no surprise since the EU haters are not really novel readers or comic book fans, they have their TV shows, that makes them happy. So that when Kennedy earnestly says things like, "There's no source material, we don't have comic books, we don't have 800-page novels" one month before the repackaged/revised "adaptation" to Dark Empire hits the big screen we know it's a damn lie. Do they care? It's finally in the movie, not those boring books and comics! You might offer the retort that she was referring to Harry Potter, but then that also paints a good argument for the defense of the EU. Marvel has been doing that with the MCU, and now everybody wants their own, thinks they can do the same thing. But they've failed to learn the lessons Marvel had. To Kennedy, at this point it's entirely clear the EU was just an afterthought that had to be purged. And any calls to "more Legends" is to double down on the references which mean nothing, mixing and mashing continuities, so all consistency breaks down. Which is what I am seeing here from the fandom and the bandwagon-jumpers.

Trash articles will paint the reception to Rise of Skywalker as the reason that the EU couldn't be adapted? Really? Because the biggest complaint that I see is that it never explains how he returned past a vague mutter of a blunt nod to Episode III. For the casual popcorn crowd Lucsfilm seems to be catering to, no doubt that was confusing, and I think even young children they use as deflection against criticism would wonder how he returned from getting blown up. While the source material Kennedy said "they do not have" explains it was clones and essence transfer, and lo and behold, that is EXACTLY what they are ripping off from the older EU. They need the EU to fill in the gaps now, and burning bridges with all the older fans in 2014 was a mistake that got the new canon off on the wrong foot. Rather than a new canon, new continuity, a fresh start, it was a twisted continuation/sequel to Legends, where that universe ended, with Jaina Solo being displaced by/inverted into Rey. Poor Ben Skywalker was literally erased and grafted onto Jacen/Darth Caedus dressed up as Revan, because it's illogical Han or Leia would name their kid that (Luke was more attached to him, Han mocked him, and Leia never met him). It's a house of cards that has finally collapsed and exposed the rotten core that lies at the heart of this soulless corporate entity and some members of the larger fandom.

My point to all this? As a Legends fan, I love what Last Jedi has done. In a way, it's created a huge boom for disgruntled fans to turn back to the EU if they wanted a Luke more like it was true to George's mandate, and it's also firmly cemented the new canon as a unique separate entity, finally banking on that "creative freedom" Kathleen Kennedy cited as the justification to nuke thirty years of lore that, for all they pilfered from the EU, they'd have been better off adapting those stories. And it's totally honest in its approach to their business policies. "Let the past die - kill it if you have to!" Seriously, Legends is GONE, it is never coming back despite some fans getting hyped up on #108 (pandering in the wake of the backlash to Last Jedi doesn't impress me, most Legends fans I know want more of the NOVELS, not the continuation of a random comic no one had heard about), and the original heroes are dead. Disney does want to kill the past. We must rally together as the fandom, because businessmen are calling the shots now, not artists. This whole thing has been the Palpatine Saga, not the Skywalker Saga. And if we had gotten more of an insight into Rey's character this could've been a great message that we don't have to be like our relatives. But that is not what we got. It is as shallow as those who are managing the franchise now, and it shows. And it's why I can't support any new canon content, and I fear the day if they ever do "bring back Legends" since it's going to screw up and butcher important galactic events. Disney Star Wars is dead. But fan Star Wars is still alive and will never go away. Where will these new movies stand in 20 years?
Dom
Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
In December, I was really disappointed by The Rise of Skywalker. It almost killed my interest in the Star Wars franchise. Then I saw the Picard TV show and saw just how bad things could get. Make no mistake, TROS isn't a good movie. It's got a lot of problems with pacing, plot holes, etc. But it has some moments I really liked. It feels like Star Wars. Picard, by contrast, is such a cluttered mess that damaged the legacy of some characters that I have a hard time going back to watch TNG.
van zeSpleen
Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 4:13am (UTC -5)
Luddite babyboomers like me just got our hands on the dvd - and I've watched it 3x already, the last time in a binge of TFA, TLJ & TRoS. Have to say whilst I find Kylo Ren/Ben Solo life history an unlikely tale, overall the storytelling is great, mostly (did skim thru some irrelevant bits). Abrahms did a good job with Leia scenes.
Wonderful landscape and sunset scenes - Luke's homeland & island hideout in particular.
Plagiarised scene is probably not the right thing to call out JJ Abrahms' favourite pastime - the words spoken sinks in, and leaves one distracted: where have I heard that before, where have I seen that before - Stargate? ID4? Star Trek:Picard? No matter, new generation of Star War fans probably like that sort of teasing from Abrahms, prompted by Mom/ Dad. (I am still puzzling over Poe agonising by Leia's deathbed, which movie was it).
By the way 'new' Star Trek movies, Abrahms style, I didnt like at first viewing, probably because they are standalone stories.
Those fans panning this final trilogy of Skywalker saga should try and view these family movies thru the eyes of younglings, and not as would be movie makers !
Dan Bolger
Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Are you going to review this film, Jammer, or not?......
Dimitris
Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 9:48am (UTC -5)
@Eliot

Indeed it seems that recycling old stories is inevitable but it could also be coincidental. The past material is huge and there are few ideas left untouched. I don't envy the new writers of comics/novels etc. Almost anything they may come up with could be attributed to a rip off of long gone & discarded material...
Dom
Sat, Apr 18, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -5)
@Dimitris, I don't think that's true at all. Before it was declared non-canonical, the Expanded Universe had dozens of novels and comics set after Return of the Jedi. Not all of the stories were good, but almost none just recycled the Original Trilogy story.
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 3:43am (UTC -5)
To everyone moaning about the last 3 films:

Are you outta your mind? I thought they were good. Long live Star Wars!

"The Force will be with you... always."
Big Pimpin'
Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
The sequel trilogy was Star Trek Picard with the problems magnified and the good things minimized.
Picard's biggest problem was the the backstory/political landscape made little sense. This is the case tenfold for the sequel trilogy.
Picard's biggest strength was that *sometimes* the character work was really good (Episode 6 for example). The sequel trilogy characters were all underwritten and/or poorly acted.
David Ryan
Tue, May 5, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
I waited until it became available on Disney+, mainly because I couldn't stomach paying to see it at the cinema or renting it but I wanted to give it a shot (especially since I'd seen the other 8, for better or worse).

My wife's instant reaction isn't printable, so I'll sum mine up as follows:

For a fan of the first six Star Wars films and the computer games, plus some of the books...it wasn't worth the wait. To be honest, none of the sequels were. I wasn't too impressed with Rogue One either (which is probably more controversial). Disney just doesn't seem to know what to do with Star Wars films (although I've heard good things about The Mandalorian so maybe there's hope yet).

More's the pity.
Chrome
Tue, May 5, 2020, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, I thought you'd surprise us with another May Star Wars review. Still looking forward to it. This just became watchable on Disney Plus but i was planning to read your review before rewatching.
Venk
Wed, May 6, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Chrome, this movie was never watchable.
Chrome
Wed, May 6, 2020, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Wow, did someone make an alt just to make a dumb comment like that?
Nick
Mon, May 18, 2020, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Adapting the first Thrawn trilogy would've been awesome. But the main actors were too old. Maybe they could've gotten away with a recast? Moot point, I guess. Still, I would've hired Timothy Zahn to craft a new story anyway. Made little sense to have a redo of big bad Empire vs plucky rebellion just with different names.

And yes, I was one of the guys who wanted Luke to face down everyone with a laser sword in an epic hero moment. Like when Thor entered the fight during the end of Infinity War. So sue me. I'm a sucker.
Atomguy
Thu, May 28, 2020, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
This movie sucked. Hands down the worst sequal and just an embarrassment for Disney. It was convenient, the characters got no room to breath, they faked a death, one of the cardinal sins of movies, no less than 5 times, and the new characters, with the exception of Babu Frick who was funny, sucked. My stance on this movie has changed greatly over these last few months, but I think this is the stance I'm sticking with
AthenaCompany
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
I think Jammer's silence on this film says it all.

Just recently rewatched the middle chapter, and no matter how you feel about the choices made in it, THE LAST JEDI actually MADE choices, especially with its characters, and was visually stunning to boot (it also had a much better performance from Carrie Fisher vs. TFA). By the end of it, I was genuinely excited about where the Star Wars universe was heading next, because it suddenly felt new and unexpected again, freed from the shackles of magic blood and Skywalker legacy bloat.

Then THE RISE OF SKYWALKER happened.

JJ's good/great with actors, his casting instincts are incredible, and he usually has a keen sense of momentum... But his terrible worldbuilding skills are laid out for all to see in this trilogy, especially in the third film. A big issue with Rian Johnson's movie was he had to deal with the poor worldbuilding choices from JJ's first entry ("A Resistance? Why not just make it the New Republic fleet?", etc.), and that kind of crap was especially egregious in RoS ("Wait, this new Final Order has been hiding/building the whole time, and they ALL have planet-destroying lasers? Um... Okay..."). In addition, he kept piling on "shocker" moments in the narrative that landed with a wet thud ("The Emperor is alive, erasing the entire point of the previous trilogy!", "Chewbacca's dead [except he isn't]!", "C3PO's memory is erased [except it isn't]!", "Rey's a Palpatine [so I guess the previous film's message about "coming from nothing" didn't matter, cool, cool]!")... If you keep pulling the rug out from your story, over and over, eventually your viewers grow numb.

This movie felt like an overeager (and unnecessary) apology for the previous entry, but failed to do anything original of note on its own, and by the end I was just exhausted at the cynicism of it all. My only hope is, now that it's done, we can finally move on from anything involving Palpatine / Skywalker, and actually explore new stories in this galaxy. Such a disappointing end to a nine-film saga.

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