Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
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"Star Wars isn’t about Boba Fett almost-but-not-quite killing enough people to make up for his embarrassing death, or a CGI Mark Hamill slaughtering robots with all the characterization of a can of Raid; it used to tell a story instead of jingling the things we like in our faces, like keys in front of a baby. There’s nothing wrong with a little fanservice or a sequel once in a while, but it can’t be all that we live on. If you take anything from this video, I don’t want it to be that Rise of Skywalker is bad or that JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio aren’t talented people; they are. Consider it a gentle nudge to ask for more. Stop taking a scorched Earth approach when an old series does something new that we don’t like. If Star Wars becomes nothing but backward looking nostalgia, it will die with the current crop of fans. It can’t survive into future generations without evolving. Try to take more chances and seek out things that you don’t recognize. If something unfamiliar looks interesting, go see it... once theaters aren’t festering with disease, I mean. And if it turns out to be good, tell people. I can’t count the number of things I only found out about long after their failures; it’s the “Arrested Development” effect: "Please, tell your friends about this show." If we want to avoid a future of fanservice slop, then we have to be willing to support new ideas and all the risks that entails. And that’s “if” we want new ideas… Because this is how cinema dies… “with thunderous applause.”"— Nerrel
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker) is a 2019 American epic space opera film and the ninth and final installment in the Star Wars Skywalker saga, the third and final installment in the series' sequel trilogy and the sequel to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was directed and written by J.J. Abrams and co-written by Chris Terrio, had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, 2019.
In the year 35 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), it has been discovered that the cowardly Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn and Poe lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order's plans to form a new Empire, while Rey anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren.
- While sounding like a good idea on paper, the core problem of the film is that it brings back Emperor Palpatine, which renders the story of Anakin Skywalker, starting from the pre-Disney era (The Phantom Menace and concluding with Return of the Jedi), less meaningful, since his betrayal of Palpatine was his act of redemption, a single good act in order to help downfall of the Galactic Empire and slightly make up for his previous atrocities. That meant, before dying, he finally did something really important for greater good of galaxy. Palpatine himself is a cowardly Sith lord whose sole existence is damaging and corrupting for the galaxy and the Force, so even destroying him alone without fall of his Empire is still a great event; Palpatine surviving anyway and building two powerful Empires that are one in the same (the First and Final Orders) and personally reigning supreme again means that Anakin's betrayal of his master no longer has much meaning, and thus Palpatine is now essentially the victim of an arbitrary decision.
- Executive meddling in the long story short: He wasn’t originally gonna be in it.
- It also meant that he was putting an end to the man who essentially ruined the lives of the Skywalker family; even without the prequels, the viewer can infer that Palpatine still ruined the lives of the Skywalkers, by turning Anakin to the dark side, having the father capture his own daughter and essentially pitting father and son against each other over the course of a trilogy.
- While it is true that Anakin just intended to save Luke from his death, permanently killing Darth Sidious and irrecoverably disrupting his plan was the act that made him worthy of redemption and being remembered as someone not completely evil. It is the part which is more important on the larger scale, people would care way more about "Anakin betrayed leader of the Galactic Empire and killed him with cost of his own life," than "Anakin turned good in his last minutes and saved his son's life." Bringing Emperor Palpatine back severely reduces much of the weight and importance of Anakin's actions.
- It also felt satisfying in Return of the Jedi to see Anakin finally turn against his master, the man who destroyed his life and essentially took everything away from him including his family and friends, lied to him and made him betray and destroy everything he had only to end up burned into a crisp and suffering in a robot-like suit for the rest of his life, enslaved him and left him go through a lot of suffering and pain while using him as a killing machine. Anakin finally breaking out of his chains, returning to who he truly was and making Palpatine face the consequences for everything he did was the most important moment in his character arc. He was a slave for his whole life and this was the moment when he truly freed himself and destroyed his worst slaver. It was the moment the audience felt that justice is finally being served. Now, Anakin's actions feel even less satisfying.
- It also shares one of the many problems of The Force Awakens, in that it strips away his accomplishments even more; it turns out that he had never actually brought balance to the Force, let alone fulfill the prophecy as the Chosen One. It obviously wasn't his motivation for joining the Jedi Order, but still an important part of his character nonetheless.
- Furthermore, there is no real reason for Palpatine to require Darth Vader, let alone any apprentice, in the first place, since he is apparently powerful enough to keep himself alive.
- It doesn't help that in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi there's absolutely no foreshadowing or hint at Palpatine's return, and when he did show up again, it felt forced, random, and poorly explained. With the proper build, this could have been truly epic, but Abrams mostly dropped the ball in terms of its execution.
- It also destroys the other point of his death in Return of the Jedi, which is that, as Luke points out, "Your overconfidence is your weakness," which was proven true by the fact he was so overconfident that Darth Vader would never betray him, which was why he did nothing else when Vader walked up towards him whilst the former was distracted torturing Luke to death.
- In the ending of Return of the Jedi, Obi Wan, Yoda and Anakin were seen happy after the death of Palpatine yet they've never felt that he's still alive ?
- The film shares the same problem with The Force Awakens of its pacing being way too fast, as it tries too hard to wrap up the entire Skywalker saga in its rather short runtime for the series finale of a long-running franchise; as a result of its pacing being way too fast, there isn't enough time given to characterization and the audience is barely given any time to absorb important plot points.
- Once again, the viewer is expected to know everything from external source material, which has always been a questionable practice for movies.
- The film basically departs from much of the plot and themes of The Last Jedi and has little-to-no payoff for much of them (presumably as a result of said film being criticized by fans of the Star Wars franchise), aside from a few mentions to the events of the film such as Kylo Ren's assassination of Snoke; notably, Kylo Ren's mask is repaired, which goes against the whole point of him destroying his mask in The Last Jedi, which was to show his willingness to, "Let the past die," as he says later in the film, as well as to show him letting go of his fanboy-ism with Darth Vader.
- Rey being Palpatine's granddaughter also goes against the whole point of the reveal in The Last Jedi that her parents are nobodies, which is so Rey would define herself and choose what her own destiny would be without having to rely on her lineage to define it for her.
- It was also set up that Finn and Rose would be in a romantic relationship, but in this film, Finn and Rose barely even interact with each other, aside from in one brief scene in which he pats her on the back.
- The same was also set up for Rey and Poe, when both of the characters met at the end of the previous film.
- Kylo Ren killing Snoke in the previous film shows that he no longer needs a master who would tell him what to do; this is rendered meaningless when taking into consideration that Kylo is now working for Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker.
- The ending of The Last Jedi also set up Kylo Ren as the main antagonist of what would be its direct sequel and continuation; instead, Palpatine was chosen as the main antagonist of The Rise of Skywalker.
- In the climax of The Last Jedi, the Force projection of Luke states to Kylo Ren, "See you around, kid," implying he would interact with him once more; here, Luke Skywalker never interacts with Kylo Ren, even after he is redeemed and becomes Ben Solo once more.
- Similar to Terminator: Dark Fate, it recycles elements from other films and uses clichés, with the final exchange between Darth Sidious and Rey in the film's climax being an obvious rehash of the final exchange between Thanos and Stark in Avengers: Endgame (another film distributed by Disney), and Lando arriving with a fleet consisting of almost everyone in the entire galaxy being nothing more than a cliché that was already seen before in other forms of media. For example:
- Poe's apology refers to Captain America's last stand against Thanos and his army.
- The "But there more of us, Poe" is a reference to "On your left" where a co-hero got reinforcements from all over the world to help the protagonist.
- The reinforcements of the Citizens’ Fleet look similar to the portal scene where the heroes from the other worlds including their armies like Wakandans, Asgardians and many others were teleported by Masters of the Mystic Arts.
- The reveal that Rey is Palpatine's granddaughter is also a rehash of the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke's father in The Empire Strikes Back, as both of them share the same concept, story-wise, in which the Jedi protagonist learns that they are a direct descendant of the film's Sith antagonist.
- False advertising:
- Rather than just revealing it later through the narrative, as the previous films did with specific major plot points, the teaser poster, trailers and even its own opening crawl all straight-up spoil the reveal of Emperor Palpatine's return; it is also mistimed and, as a result, ends too early.
- The title is misleading and nonsensical, as there are no major Skywalkers in the film other than Leia, Kylo Ren and Rey, who dons the Skywalker name in the end of the film.
- The reveal that Rey is actually Emperor Palpatine's granddaughter feels very tacked-on, as there was never any set-up in the previous two films.
- Overuse of weird blue color filters throughout the film, especially during the scenes on Exegol, Kijimi, Kef Bir and Ahch-To, alongside during the scenes in the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss and in the Steadfast as well as within the Millennium Falcon.
- It introduces the ability to heal others with the Force, which misses one of the main points of the saga, which is that the Jedi accept death, whilst the Sith seek to keep themselves alive due to their fear of death (i.e. they fear that if they were to die then they would not be able to get the control and power they desire); specific Jedi live on after death as Force ghosts not for the sake of immortality and power, but for the sake of passing on knowledge to future generations of Force-users. Yoda sums this up nicely in Revenge of the Sith with the lines, "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not," and "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."
- It also removes stakes from the story and essentially makes death meaningless in the Star Wars saga, as there were many situations where it could be used and massively change the outcome of story. Qui-Gon had the exact same wound as Kylo Ren, the latter of whom was saved by healing, so it retroactively undermines his death in The Phantom Menace, since Obi-Wan could've used it to save Qui-Gon; now, it is hard to take the story seriously anymore, as someone can be healed via the Force every time they are in fatal danger. Rey can actively heal and she is alive after this film (and will likely teach it to her students, too), so any stories taking place after The Rise of Skywalker are going to suffer from this problem.
- Anakin Skywalker's entire motivation for turning to the dark side was to achieve the ability to stop his loved ones from dying; in other words, healing others via the Force to prevent them from dying. Him being unable to find it through more normal means like the Jedi was the reason he trusted Palpatine and became Darth Vader. If he could easily get access to it and Yoda taught him in their therapy meeting, he would no longer have any reason to turn to dark side anymore and would stay as the good man and Jedi he was. In Revenge of the Sith, the ability was depicted as such a hard and impossible thing to achieve to the point where it sounded like a myth. Rey knowing how to heal others via the Force now opens a can of worms and renders Anakin Skywalker an idiot whose motivations are nonsensical and pointless.
- Before this ability was introduced, the story of Anakin Skywalker in the original saga had a wholly different meaning; in Revenge of the Sith he became greedy and wanted god-like abilities to prevent his loved one, Padmé Amidala, from dying which costed him everything including the aforementioned loved one, then in Return of the Jedi he finally managed to save a loved one through a simple, human and selfless act with sacrificing his own life at last. It turned out he didn't need any of those silly magic powers to do it, he just had to overcome his selfishness and greed to finally achieve his goal; the introduction of healing via the Force strips the meaning of his story even more, upon considering this.
- The ability itself is also way too easy and cheap to achieve; Rey had just found out about the existence of the Force a year prior and had some training from Leia who abandoned her training midway, but somehow she can heal fatal wounds with ease and walk away from it, and Kylo Ren did practically nothing to be capable of resurrecting the dead. It does not feel earned at all and leaves the viewer wondering why a lot of more powerful and well-trained Jedi in the past could not harness it.
- While this is true that this concept existed in the non-canon Expanded Universe, it was portrayed as much weaker than what was shown in this film, as it was only capable of speeding up the natural healing process of the body and was unable to do anything about fatal injuries nor resurrect the deceased.
- It has also made an appearance in the canon web series The Mandalorian, in one episode of which Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda) heals Greef Karga's venomous wound on his right arm; at least there, it also could not do anything about fatal injuries nor resurrect the deceased, either.
- The excuse commonly used to defend the concept of healing via the Force is that Rey apparently learned it from the sacred Jedi texts she recovered from Ahch-To, even though it is undermined by The Last Jedi when Yoda states to Luke, "Page turners, they were not," which implies he has read them before (and it is unlikely he has read them as a Force ghost), so if this were the case Yoda could have taught healing to his apprentices; even as a Force ghost, he could have taught it to Luke Skywalker and his apprentices.
- One could also argue how it it explicitly stated that it costed Rey some of her life force when healing the snake-like creature (known as a vexis) and how it costed Ben his life to resurrect Rey, but keep in mind that Jedi, especially Anakin, would normally be willing to sacrifice themselves to heal others.
- It can also be argued that the Jedi forbade attachments, as established in the prequels, but this would be like saying a doctor helping a patient recovering from injuries in real life is an attachment.
- It still has a poor grasp of the Star Wars lore, alongside inconsistencies with details and major plot holes. For example:
- Force lightning can now apparently be used by Jedi, even though it was implied in prior films that only dark side Force-users could use it, especially considering how Jedi never seem to even use it, especially right on the verge of fully turning to the dark side. What pours salt on the wound is that Rey uses this ability without any training when she should not be familiar with this ability, even though it was also implied dark side Force-users require training and experience in order to use Force lightning effectively; there is a reason only Palpatine, Dooku and Snoke were shown to be using Force lightning in the films, whereas neither Darth Vader nor Maul ever seem to do so.
- In The Last Jedi it was implied the door for Luke's hut was actually a part of his X-Wing that was torn off, and there was even a shot of the damaged X-Wing in the sea with a missing wing, yet here the X-Wing is shown to be perfectly fine; the fact that said X-Wing is perfectly fine also undermines the climax of The Last Jedi, since he could've left with the X-Wing rather than create a hallucination of himself to stall Kylo Ren and the First Order. The models of the ships aren’t even the same.
- In said film it was implied Luke has never actually read the sacred Jedi texts, yet it turns out he apparently wrote in at least one of them.
- Kylo Ren mentions how he "never lied to Rey" about her parents being no one, even though in The Last Jedi he never told Rey that her parents were nobody; he forces her to admit the truth that she knew and has hidden away, and she admits that her parents were nobody, before Kylo Ren taunts Rey about how her parents were filthy junk traders who sold her for drinking money and died off.
- The Emperor's throne room on the second Death Star is shown to have a secret chamber containing the other Wayfinder, even though it was clearly shown to have no secret chamber at all in Return of the Jedi.
- It is revealed Palpatine influenced Ben Solo's fall to the dark side by inducing him with voices, those of specifically Snoke and Darth Vader, "inside his head", without ever meeting him in-person; this creates plot holes in the prequels since it was clearly possible for him to do the same thing with Anakin instead of wasting his time meeting him in-person and convincing him how evil the Jedi apparently are as well as of a way to save Padmé from dying.
- The Final Order's Xyston-class Star Destroyers are required to leave Exegol in order to activate their shields, implying their shields do not work within the atmosphere, even though shields are shown to work perfectly fine within the atmosphere in the previous films, with Gungan tanks and Droidekas being examples of technological creations with shields that work perfectly fine within the atmosphere.
- Even the ability to heal others via the Force contradicts previously established lore; previously it was implied that such an ability is either only possibly accessible from the path of the dark side or doesn't exist at all (it is based on whether the viewer takes Palpatine's words in Revenge of the Sith as truth or not) but in The Rise of Skywalker it suddenly popped out as a light side ability without any proper setup and foreshadowing.
- At one point C-3PO remarks how R2-D2 has a "famously unreliable" memory, even though in A New Hope Leia stored the plans of the Death Star inside R2-D2, not to mention that R2-D2 has been around since the prequels and is the only one of the two droids to not have its memory be wiped in Revenge of the Sith.
- The existence of lightspeed skipping, a technique that could be used to quickly jump to lightspeed, contradicts Han Solo's line in A New Hope regarding how, "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?".
- In one scene Beaumont Kin suggests pulling some "Holdo maneuvers", referring to the technique Admiral Holdo used to jump into lightspeed to destroy several Star Destroyers and split a wing off of the Supremacy by ramming into them, against the Final Order's Xyston-class Star Destroyers, but Finn dismisses it as a "one-in-a-million" move; this frames Holdo as a coward who was just trying to escape but accidentally got herself killed in the process.
- What pours salt on the wound is when taking into consideration that a similar technique was shown being used against a First Order Resurgent-class Star Destroyer above the atmosphere of the forest moon of Endor in the ending montage of the film; basically, this would mean that the "Holdo maneuver" is not a "one-in-a-million" move.
- In the climax the voices of past Jedi, consisting of Luke, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Anakin, Qui-Gon, Ahsoka Tano, Mace Windu, Kanan Jarrus, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli and Adi Gallia, convince Rey to arise and stand against Palpatine, even though it was established in Revenge of the Sith that living on after death as a Jedi is something that requires training... though this retroactively ruins Anakin becoming a Force ghost in Return of the Jedi, as no time has elapsed for him to learn how to live on after death.
- Rey and Kylo Ren engage in a tug-of-war using the Force to pull a First Order transport the former assumes to contain Chewbacca; this creates plot holes in the original saga and especially Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as it turns out Darth Maul could have just used the Force to pull the Naboo Royal Starship to prevent Qui-Gon from escaping, or Darth Vader could have just used the Force to pull the Tantive IV to prevent the Rebels from escaping with the plans for the Death Star.
- One could argue that Yoda lifts Luke's X-Wing from the swamp in The Empire Strikes Back, but there is a difference between a ship that is unpowered and one that is not only powered up but also providing thrust.
- The backstory of Poe Dameron has been interpreted by many as racially offensive towards Latinos, as he is portrayed as a former "spice-runner," which many consider to reflect a negative racial stereotype of the Latino ethnicity of actor Oscar Isaac, as the "spice-runner" profession is interpreted as the Star Wars equivalent of drug dealers.
- The film tries to introduce a great number of new planets and moons, but the only one which feels distinct enough is Exegol, while the rest can be best described as either a jungle, a desert, a grassland with an ocean or a snowy wasteland.
- Just like Terminator: Dark Fate, this film has an overuse of pointless nostalgia-pandering and fan service, notably a small cameo of Wedge Antilles from the original trilogy as well as a shot with Ewoks from Return of the Jedi. Chewbacca also gets a medal from Maz at the end of the film, which would be fine on its own, but it contradicts external source material which establishes that the Wookiees' culture prevents Chewbacca from accepting medals from anyone outside of his species.
- Another example of this is the reveal of Lando Calrissian, which doesn't feel powerful since it ends up as unnecessary to the point of being trivial.
- Some of the leitmotifs are only used for the audience and not the story itself, which means that the leitmotifs sometimes fail to match the visuals; for example, Yoda's theme, which was used when Yoda was lifting Luke's X-Wing out from the swamp in The Empire Strikes Back, is used in the scene where Luke lifts his X-Wing out from the ocean so Rey can get to Exegol.
- Laughable dialogue, particularly the infamous line from Poe, "Somehow, Palpatine returned," as well as the infamous "They fly now?!" exchange between Poe, Finn and C-3PO.
- Scenes and plot points are severely affected by bad writing:
- The script constantly re-uses the "Disney Death" trope, in which a character is seemingly killed and then is later revealed to be alive all along; neither Kylo Ren, Rey, Zorii Bliss, Chewbacca nor C-3PO are immune from this.
- It also heavily relies on the "race against the clock" trope, in which the Resistance has sixteen hours left to find the Final Order before they launch a massive attack on the galaxy, which is lazy storytelling since the filmmakers are just creating artificial tension, and it would be realistically impossible for everything in the plot to happen as a result of the aforementioned trope; this is very obvious in the film, since it visits around many different planets within less than sixteen hours.
- After Rey is resurrected, she and Ben kiss, even though neither of them ever had any romantic chemistry throughout the trilogy; not helping is that any potential of a romance between Rey and Ben is gone once the latter dies. It's most likely that this was shoehorned into the movie in the last minute as a flan-pleasing moment, as there were fans that were shipping Rey and Ben ("Reylo"); but since this potential romance was never developed in the trilogy, makes the kiss completely weird and out of context.
- The use of Force lightning is inconsistent, on one hand being able to literally cause an entire transport to explode, while on the other hand being able to simply stun tens of thousands of ships.
- Several scenes serve no reason to be in the film other than to extend the runtime and thus make the film feel longer, with Finn's actions on Kef Bir doing nothing to move the story forward or develop his character ("Rey!").
- On the topic of pointlessness, the lightspeed skipping sequence is supposed to reinforce Poe's impulsiveness, but it ends up being rather pointless since that same impulsiveness can be inferred from the Falcon breaking through the ice wall as it jumps into lightspeed.
- Even Palpatine himself is inconsistently portrayed; on one hand, he orders Kylo Ren to hunt down and kill Rey, but on the other hand it is later revealed he never actually wanted her to be dead, he wanted her on Exegol the entire time.
- When BB-8 activates D-O, none of the crew members seem to care for some reason that they now have a droid associated with the Sith that would provide information about them and especially their location.
- C-3PO infamously states that he is "taking one last look at his friends," referring to Rey, Finn and Poe, even though he barely even got to know any of them for at least a year, leading to the moment also lacking any emotional impact.
- When Palpatine reveals that he created Snoke and was responsible for the voices Kylo Ren heard "inside his head," none of it shatters his worldview and makes him doubt himself for some reason.
- Several plot points that were set up in the previous films and within even itself are never resolved; for example, the ending of The Last Jedi revealed that Temiri Blagg, the boy whom Finn and Rose encounter on Canto Bight, is Force-sensitive, something that is never touched upon or even mentioned in this film (though he does make an appearance in the leaked screenplay for Colin Trevorrow's scrapped Duel of the Fates at the end, in which several Force-sensitive children are shown).
- Finn also never gets to explain to Rey about what he intended to tell her; it is clear that he intends to inform her of his Force-sensitivity, but he still never explains it to her.
- At the end of the film Lando asks Jannah where she came from, and she responds that she doesn't know, to which Lando responds, "Well, let's find out..."; the scene ends right here, leaving this unresolved.
- General Hux is wasted as a character; he is revealed to be a spy sending vital information to the Resistance, and just shortly after, he is unceremoniously killed off; the fact that he doesn't care about the Resistance winning is also an inconsistent portrayal of his character, since in the previous two films he clearly doesn't want them to win.
- On the topic of the antagonists, they are still framed as idiots, thus rendering it harder for them to be taken seriously:
- Darth Sidious literally broadcasts his return to the galaxy hours before his intended return; if he never did so, he would essentially be unstoppable.
- It is also revealed that he was responsible for the creation of Supreme Leader Snoke, and test tubes showing botched clones of Snoke are also shown, implying he and his cultists are capable of creating powerful dark side Force-users from scratch; this creates plot holes since it was clearly possible for Darth Sidious to create an entire army of powerful dark side Force-users to back him up during his time on Exegol, but he chooses not to do so for some reason.
- The Final Order's Xyston-class Star Destroyers are required to leave Exegol in order to activate their shields, but for some reason no one in the Final Order seems to know how to fly a ship upwards; they literally have to rely on the navigation tower to tell them to go upwards.
- Palpatine urges Rey to kill him so he can possess her, otherwise her friends would be killed off by the Final Order; she does kill Palpatine in the end, but she is left unpossessed for some unexplained reason.
- It continues the previous films' tendency and ideology to forcibly disadvantage classic characters in favour of the new ones, with the Force ghost of Luke Skywalker giving Rey his old X-Wing, and her also being portrayed as the "true" Chosen One instead of Anakin, the latter given how it was established in the prequels that the Chosen One is destined to bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith.
- At one point Luke Skywalker, the same man who was tortured by Palpatine with what is shown to be one of the most dangerous usages of the dark side of the Force, literally convinces Rey to face Palpatine, who is the most powerful Sith at that point; Luke is basically sending Rey to her death!
- Although some of the action sequences are good, they are flawed at best, with every single lightsaber duel lacking any stakes due to Kylo Ren's refusal to kill Rey; at least in The Force Awakens, there are still stakes in the duel between Kylo Ren and Rey, especially considering how the former refuses to kill the latter and wants her to join him, because Starkiller Base is on the verge of blowing up and both the characters would die if they were not to escape.
- Lazy soundtrack, although it's still well done. While it's not terrible, most of it is just reuses of scores from previous movies, ESPECIALLY the Force Theme.
- While The Last Jedi wasn't a great movie either, at least that movie knew when to use certain music at the right moments. But this movie overuses the Force Theme so much, they literally put it in when a First Order ship is exploding, and it really doesn't fit there. Meanwhile The Last Jedi uses the force theme during Luke's death, and it fits much better there.
- What's weird about all this is that this soundtrack literally got nominated for Best Original Score, even though most of the tracks were reused. After this got nominated, the Oscars changed the qualifications for Best Original Score to that the movie's score has to have 60% of it be original tracks.
- The ending is just a blatant cliffhanger as Rey travels to the Lars homestead on Tatooine, having been left in ruins since after the events of A New Hope, and there she buries Anakin and Leia's lightsabers nearby the homestead. While this may sound like a good idea on paper, circularly ending the Skywalker saga at where the story of the Skywalker family began, it is pretty disrespectful to the Skywalker family, as Tatooine was:
- The place where Anakin and his mother were enslaved by Watto.
- The place Shmi, Anakin's mother, was kidnapped and tortured by the Sand People and died from her injuries in front of her own son whom she was separated from for a decade some time after, and where Anakin committed his first mass murder, against the Sand People, including "the women and children."
- The place Luke despised to the point where he wanted to leave.
- The place where Owen and Beru were killed by the Galactic Empire, and because of their deaths Luke decided to join against the Galactic Empire.
- The place Leia headed to so she would find Han Solo, her love interest having been frozen in carbonite for some time, but was captured and enslaved in a bikini by Jabba the Hutt before being rescued.
- The visual design, cinematography, lighting and integration of digital and practical effects are all top-notch, even better than in The Last Jedi. One highlight is the use of unused footage from The Force Awakens being used for Carrie Fisher's performance as Leia; another highlight is the wreckage of the second Death Star at which Rey and Kylo Ren's duel occurs.
- Notably, the makeup for the returned Darth Sidious/Palpatine is very good.
- Great call-backs and references to the previous films. For example:
- One of the early scenes features a festival called The Festival of the Ancestors that happens once every 42 years. The original film was released in 1977, 42 years before this film, which takes place in 35 ABY, so this means the last time the festival was held was in 7 BBY.
- Chewbacca never receives a medal at the end of A New Hope. In this movie, Maz Kanata gives him one at the end. As Chewbacca has now lost all three of his friends Luke, Han and Leia, he has something to remember them by.
- Right before dueling the Knights of Ren, Ben Solo does exactly the same casual shrug that Han Solo did in Return of the Jedi.
- Rey encounters a dark-side reflection of herself, just as Luke did on Dagobah.
- Before Luke shows Rey Leia’s lightsaber, he says “There’s something my sister would have wanted you to have”, calling back to how when Obi-Wan gave Luke Anakin’s lightsaber, he said “Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough.”
- ’The Ewoks make an appearance during the victory celebration as does Cloud City on Bespin.
- Luke lifts his X-Wing out of the waters of Ahch-To the same way that Yoda did on Dagobah, complete with the exact same piece of music playing while he does so.
- Finn meets several former Stormtroopers who defected from the First Order after refusing to gun down unarmed civilians, just like he did.
- When Rey heals Kylo after stabbing him, it not only heals his chest wound but also the facial scar she gave him all the way back in The Force Awakens.
- When Kylo Ren asks Palpatine how he could possibly still be alive, his only response is "The dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.", which he said in Revenge of the Sith.
- Ben Solo's vision of his father is deliberately staged identically to their final confrontation in The Force Awakens — right down to the camera angles, the dialogue, and the progression of shots — only the outcome is deliberately reversed. And during this scene, when Kylo/Ben says 'Dad' and Han answers 'I know,' this is a call-back to the iconic scene between him and Leia in Empire Strikes Back right before Han went into the carbonite freeze.
- The Battle of Exegol stands out as possibly the most epic battle in the franchise, as it shows a fleet of almost all of the citizens of the galaxy teaming up with the Resistance to defeat the Dark Side; Rey and Darth Sidious' final battle also deserves a special mention.
- The film also makes great use of C-3PO in its plot, a character who normally only serves as comic relief.
- Great performances, with Daisy Ridley notably having mostly improved her acting from the previous two films (aside from the infamous screech at Chewbacca's apparent death), even going as far as showing some actual emotion in specific scenes, especially as the Sith counterpart of Rey in a Force vision. Adam Driver also shows a decent performance when a hallucination of Han Solo confronts him on Kef Bir.
- Klaud and Babu Frik are cute characters. Likewise, BB-8 is still pretty cute.
- Lando Calrissian finally returns in a Star Wars movie for the first time since Return of the Jedi (if you're not counting Solo: A Star Wars Story).
- It is also nice to see Han again after he was killed off in The Force Awakens.
- As pointless as much of the fanservice is, some of it works to great effect; for example, the scene where the voices of deceased Jedi like Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, among others, is rather nice, with their respective actors called in to record vocal cameos, and archival audio of Alec Guinness as the elderly Obi-Wan being used.
- The sountrack is still decent by John Williams, and the fact that most of the soundtrack is reused isn't really his fault, as this whole movie is just a hodge-podge put together so sloppily at the last minute just so Disney could make a quick buck. Also, this was his last Star Wars film that he would compose before retiring from the franchise.
- It takes the story line of Rey’s desire for belonging and identity from the last two films and takes it to a new, inspiring level, making for a powerful moral of self-discovery.
- The dyad in the Force between Rey and Kylo Ren is actually an interesting concept, which is eventually being explored further in the Star Wars: Visions episode Akakiri, in where the main protagonist Tsubaki forms a dyad with Masago to revive Misa, whom he accidentally killed when he's fighting Masago's henchmen.
- The conclusion to Rey's character arc serves as a great "Be careful what you wish for" story.
- Rey longed to find her family and feel like part of something important, and spent much of her young life training herself in the hopes that one day they would return. Maz Kanata told her they wouldn't come back (which they didn't), and Kylo Ren told her a half-truth about their identity, but Rey kept clinging onto the idea of them until the heartbreaking truth was revealed. She was forced to accept that her family is the people she has made friends with, not her blood relations, and her refusal to take Palpatine's place on his throne and instead rebuild the Jedi from the ground up cements that.
- Specific scenes work well, even if they are affected by bad writing. For example:
- Kylo Ren's encounter with Palpatine on Exegol in the opening scene is a chilling and powerful moment.
- The scene where Luke finally lifts the X-Wing was nice to see, especially given that he failed to do so in The Empire Strikes Back back when he was training under Yoda.
- The scene where Kylo Ren has a hallucination of the late Han Solo and redeems himself as Ben Solo is touching.
- The scene where Palpatine talks to Kylo Ren, saying "I have been every voice [In Snoke's voice.] you have ever heard [In Darth Vader's voice.] inside your head," at the beginning of the film was hauntingly amazing.
- The final scene of the film, in which Rey renames herself as "Rey Skywalker" and rejects her dark heritage, is emotional and poignant, given that it gives the message that it isn't obligatory for someone to be related to you through blood to be your family, despite essentially being a re-skin of the message that was done in Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi, which is that, "Your parentage/lineage doesn't define who you are and what your destiny is."
- Leia still plays a prominent role in the film despite the real-life death of Carrie Fisher, which is worth noting given that most of the time, when the performer of a character in some franchise passes away, their character is either killed off-screen or never mentioned ever again as if they had never existed.
- Some of the action sequences are good.
- Some good quotes. For example:
- Do not fear their feeble attack, my faithful. NOTHING WILL STOP THE RETURN OF THE SITH!!!
- I'm the spy.
- I knew it! No, you didn't!
- Even if it was plagued with flaws, depending on your view it was an okay way to end the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
- The poster is great.
- Decent direction by J.J. Abrams.
Before the release of the film, there was pre-release controversy when it was discovered that Palpatine in the film's teaser poster resembled a photograph of a Hot Toys Emperor Palpatine Deluxe Version action figure rather than a still or render of the character from the film.
Critical and audience response
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the acting, action sequences, musical score, and visual effects, but criticized the story, pacing, overuse of fan service and perceived departures from the plot and themes of The Last Jedi. It receiving a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 508 reviews, with its critic consensus stating, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion." It also holds a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 61 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." The film however received overwhelming negative reviews from Star Wars fans.
One aspect of the film that was criticized was the reduced role of the character Rose Tico, with it being interpreted by many as a response to the negative criticism of her character in The Last Jedi. Following the release of The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran had been a target of online harassment. Some of the attackers were interpreted by many to be either racist or "body shamers." In response to the criticism regarding the reduced role of Rose Tico, screenwriter Chris Terrio claimed that it was due to difficulty of including archive footage of the deceased Carrie Fisher in scenes planned to feature both characters, but it did not explain why Rose was removed from merchandise or why her scenes with Rey were cut.
Audience response was polarizing, however; viewers consider this film to be a great conclusion to the series, while others dismiss it as another bad Star Wars film, as well as a disappointing way to conclude the series. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film collected the ratings of 86%, based on over 50,000 verified ratings. On Metacritic, the film earned the score of 4.6/10, based on 5358 ratings.
And not to mention by some fans this was considered the worst Star Wars movie ever to be made and even worst then the prequel trilogy.
Months prior to the release of the film, it was review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, with the "Want to See" percentage going down as far as 5% within a day; most of the reviews focused on criticism towards The Last Jedi. Rotten Tomatoes completely removed the "Want to See" feature after similar bombing with Captain Marvel occurred.
John Boyega admitted that the movie was a disappointing conclusion of the Star Wars saga, and he replied: "Embarrassing? LOL you wish. Very fulfilling, some disappointments but yet not that big of a deal. Everyone has moved on."
Upon release, the film made over $259 million domestically and over $516 million internationally in its first week, though it had a colossal 71% drop at the end of the second week at the US box office.
- Originally, Colin Trevorrow was set to direct this film, which would have been titled Duel of the Fates; it would have differed heavily from the final product; Trevorrow left due to creative differences with one explanation given is Luke Skywalker was important in his version of the movie but Kathleen Kennedy refused to change her mind on killing him off in The Last Jedi. An early script of Duel of the Fates was leaked in early 2020, and it is widely considered by many to be better than the finished product.
- After the release of the film, a user posted a conspiracy theory on Reddit, believing that Disney had bribed Rotten Tomatoes to "freeze" its audience score at 86%; however, there is no proof to back up his belief specifically about Disney bribing Rotten Tomatoes.
- Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in all nine episodes of the Star Wars Skywalker saga.
- The shot of the civilian fleet consists of over 16,000 ships; it also took Industrial Light & Magic 8.4 million hours of processor time to render it. The ships in it include several Naboo starfighters from The Phantom Menace, Captain Rex's starfighter and a Mandalorian starfighter, both from The Clone Wars, as well as the Ghost from Rebels.
- This is currently the third largest page and also the largest page for any movie on this wiki.
- This is the second most recent film to make a billion dollars in the box office, and the last film to do so before the Covid-19 pandemic happened.