Katie Roman Books



Rise of Skywalker Episode Review

Posted on December 22, 2019 at 9:25 AM

Three stars

Rise of Skywalker amirite? This review in a word, underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good. It was Abrams's ode to the original trilogy without bothering to keep the originality Johnson gave in The Last Jedi. There’s mild spoilers below, but I’ll keep the major ones out.

The Force Awakens was good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a rehash of A New Hope, but that movie is built on tropes and classic stories so, whatever. The Last Jedi was great. It strayed from the paint by numbers of the first and opened the door for something wonderful. Rise of Skywalker just felt like an apology for its predecessor because people can’t stand new things and we're supposed to hate The Last Jedi or something.

Rise of Skywalker introduces too many new characters without giving them enough screen time or personality to make me care. Jannah had potential and it was wasted. Zorri could have been cut, since she was also wasted potential and her scenes could easily have been replaced by already introduced. Rose wasn’t used enough and Hux was done dirty. Characters introduced by Abrams were wasted (see Hux) and it’s just a shame. But seriously, the storyline with Hux from the beginning was great and now, wasted! WASTED!

It also pulls scenes directly from Return of the Jedi. Not in an homage sort of way, but in a “Ewoks watching things explode over Endor yet again” way. I mean come on with that. This little insignificant thing has been driving me bonkers since I watched it. You have simply taken some of the last few shots of RotJ and updated them with Star Destroyers exploding.

And that eleventh hour reveal? The groundwork wasn’t laid well enough for it to have any impact. I didn’t hate the reveal and I see how it could fit in, but it needs more foundation. Not just in this trilogy, but somewhere in the other eight. It’s not there and all I can do is shrug because it had all the force of a wet noodle. 

In general Abrams underwhelms me. Looking at his film credits I am left with very little feeling towards his other works. He wields nostalgia and little else in his more recent movies. His episodes lack originality and that says a lot considering Star Wars is built on archetypes and tropes. A New Hope lacks orginality and that's not a bad thing, it's all about execution and the execution here is middling to poor. 

But I didn’t totally hate it. I didn’t really hate it at all. It does have some emotional moments (mostly involving Chewie) and I’m a sucker for big battles where reinforcements come to help save the day just when all hope is lost. It is a stunning looking movie, whoever was in charge of that deserved more money. And in all three movies the Kylo-Rey story has been wonderful and this had a beautiful conclusion to that. Acting and chemistry was top notch as always. The final battle, the moment when Rey takes control is wonderful.

Is it worth seeing? Yes. Does it have flaws? Yes, more so than the other two, but it does bring the saga to a close in a way that respects the original trilogy.

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