Clunky, unfocused, and downright sloppy, “The Rise of Skywalker” is the worst film of the new “Star Wars” trilogy. The debate over Disney’s treatment of the “Star Wars” sequels is a long and fraught subject, and “Rise of Skywalker” is sure to keep this debate going for years to come. If you enjoyed “The Force Awakens,” “Rise of Skywalker might be your cup of tea. However, if you are a fan of “The Last Jedi,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is sure to disappoint.
The film kicks off with Kylo Ren looking for a Sith Wayfinder (nerd-speak for a space map) to find an undead Palpatine. Without any explanation for how the Sith Lord is back, the “Star Wars” saga shamelessly establishes a zombie as the main villain. The film only gets worse from that moment on, as we once again meet the heroes of the Resistance, with Rey completing her Jedi training under Leia, and Finn, Poe and Chewbacca returning from a quest to find the location of Palpatine.
Continuing on a lightning pace, Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2 leave on
yet another fetch quest to find another Sith Wayfinder. Curiously enough, Rose, who was clearly a main character in the previous film, is completely absent from the core group’s adventures. This is just one of the many things that J.J. Abrams does that makes “The Rise of Skywalker” frustrating, as the movie goes out of its way to ignore the events of the previous film, and suffers from a disturbing lack of plot. The script is so preoccupied with placing the characters in different locales and situations, that the character interaction and growth suffers.
It’s a shame to see how most of the bold creative choices made in “The Last Jedi” were retconned, seemingly to please outspoken fans. From Palpatine’s return, to the altering of Rey’s heritage, to neglecting to give fulfilling arcs for the main heroes of the trilogy (particularly Rose and Finn), “Rise of Skywalker” falls short of being the sweeping epic we deserved. As a whole, the trilogy plays out like two people arguing over the aux cord, but settling to listen to the radio which neither of them liked in the first place: nobody is completely pleased in the long run.
It was my mistake for thinking that the conclusion to the new trilogy could have been something more than a popcorn film. With the special effects, set pieces, humor and action sequences scattered throughout the film, “The Rise of Skywalker” provides just enough entertainment for the average film goer. Ignoring themes and continuity in favor of a nonsensical thrill ride, in the end, it is just another average film within the sci-fi genre. With a heavy heart, as Lando Calrissian once said, “I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, but I accept it.”