The Dark Side

I am deeply in love with Star Wars. From the high republic to the sequels, I have consumed as much Star Wars media as humanly possible for close to 11 years. From staying up late watching “Star Wars: the Clone Wars” on Cartoon Network to buying almost every Lego Star Wars set ever released, I would classify myself as a big fan. Some of my favorite memories come from Star Wars; seeing “Rogue One” for the first time with my family, having lengthy conversations about the canon and such at Chuy’s, and building the Lego Death Star at my kitchen table. Star Wars is a part of my life, and that’s why it’s so heartbreaking that The Rise of Skywalker is such a complete dumpster fire.

First things first; “The Last Jedi” is terrible and many of the movie’s problems are caused by “The Last Jedi” and it s inability to progress the Skywalker story. “The Last Jedi” completely destroys the world building done in “The Force Awakens” by killing Snoke, making Kylo Ren a weak and predictable softy, complete destruction of Luke’s character in the originals by changing from a hopeful leader into a sardonic quitter, and throwing off Finn’s story arc by making him a useless sidekick to arguably the worst Star Wars character ever created (yes, including Jar Jar); Rose Tico.

All of this aside, “The Rise of Skywalker” creates more problems than it solves: the inability to pull Finn out of the character rut that is him screaming “Rey” for half an hour, a very forced and ridiculous plot twist with Palpatine being the grandfather of Rey, and an unfortunate shunning of prequel era characters all culminate in a lackluster and disappointing finale to one of the biggest sagas in history. 

Finn’s character arc in the sequel trilogy is utterly disappointing. In “The Force Awakens” Finn is an incredibly captivating character due to his wit, humility, and mysterious past, which is a perfect combination to make him an extremely likeable character, similar to Princess Leia and Han Solo. Instead, due to his character regression in “The Last Jedi,” he becomes very spare. This continues on into “The Rise of Skywalker” seeing as Finn’s dialogue consists of him screaming “Rey,” and him saying “I have something to tell you, Rey” which he never actually tells her. 

Palpatine is the most ridiculous choice for this film’s villain. The notion that he lived through “Return of the Jedi” and was able to survive totally unbeknownst to the entire galaxy and Luke Skywalker is entirely lazy storytelling and also an extreme stretch. Then, they compound on that laziness by making Rey a Palpatine for seemingly no reason other than to justify her immense force ability. One of the best parts of Rey’s character in my opinion is that she is truly no one, meaning she falls under the classic interpretation of the force which is that anyone and everyone is connected to it. The only reason I can see Palpatine being the villain of this movie is JJ Abrams not finding a viable villain after the death of Snoke in “The Last Jedi.”

The lack of representation for prequel era characters is one of the biggest problems I have with this movie. I understand that the prequels are bad. I agree that they are bad, but a complete disregard for these characters means leaving out a significant proportion of fans who love that era of Star Wars. The clone wars television shows and games means an entire generation of fans grew up seeing the heroics of Anakin, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu. Although their voices can be heard in the climactic throne room scene, this is still not enough for me. I really wanted to see these characters I grew up with recreated on the silver screen just one more time so I could have my final goodbye to them. Instead, the only characters we get to see get a true ending are Luke and Leia, thus ignoring the entire prequel era.

All in all, the majority of these problems stem from “The Last Jedi” destroying the pace and storyline that began in “The Force Awakens.” Therein lies the problem. “The Rise of Skywalker” does not come close to redeeming the problems of “The Last Jedi” and instead lazily attempts to wrap up the saga in some butcher paper and a tacky string bow. Its inability to let its core characters shine, nonsensical villain, boring and frivolous plot twists, and its ignorance of prequel era characters led me to the darkest corner of the force in the theater, bringing me nothing but pain, suffering, and hatred towards this movie.