Friday, December 20, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (spoiler-free review)

Here are links to my spoiler-free reviews of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, which have links to the spoiler reviews. There will also be a spoiler review of this movie, linked at the end.

I don't write reviews much anymore. I'm writing this one primarily because this is the last movie of the Skywalker Saga, and I like finishing things. When I did write reviews, my mandate was providing guidance for whether or not the reader will like the movie in question. So, will you, dear reader, like Rise of Skywalker? As usual, it depends.

I'm going to presume you have seen at least Episodes VII and VIII. This, as the last of that trilogy, needs to deal with the threats and promises made in the first two and arrive at a conclusion. Many people disliked the setup in VII and VIII, though, so for them, is it worth sitting through IX? Probably not, for the ones who really hated one or both. While IX does answer a lot of questions, it's not an Original Trilogy film, and I don't think it will provide relief for people who wanted the new trilogy to be that.

For the people who really liked the first two, the third is a must-watch, of course, and I think the vast majority of those should like it. There are a couple disconcertingly unforeshadowed plot points, and some other weak bits, but not enough to ruin the movie, not by far.

The people in between are the question, then, and the answer really depends on why they disliked parts of VII and/or VIII. For those who complained that VII was too derivative - let me digress a moment. Someone pointed out recently that not only was VII deliberately derivative, it was derivative in a very specific way. Where the Original Trilogy's Empire was coded as (inspired by) Nazis, VII's New Order was coded as neonazis. In that sense, the movie did exactly what it set out to do.

Back to IX, I don't think anyone will complain that it is derivative. There are some genuine surprises, and it does not mirror the structure of VI, III, or any other Star Wars movie.

For those who complained about the plot structure of VIII, IX addresses most of that. I've seen a headline accusing IX of tarnishing Rian Johnson's legacy, which is a weird flex, but ok. For the three people who hate Abrams' VII but love Johnson's VIII, that will be a problem. For the much larger number who were on board with Abrams and felt Johnson strayed from the course, Abrams is back with a course correction.

For those who dislike Rey in particular, IX probably won't make that go away.

For those who dislike Finn, the best I can say is that this is the first movie in which he is not trying to run away. Whether that helps or not I can't say.

For those who liked Poe in VII and hated what Johnson did with him in VIII, don't worry about it.

For those who hated Kylo Ren... I'm not sure. I liked his arc in IX, but I suspect that not everyone will.

For those who hated what VIII did with Snoke, IX might satisfy you.

So there you have it - I think most people will like this film, but it won't be universal.

The rest of my thoughts are in the spoiler review.

1 comment:

  1. Complete agreement. I loved it, but I am hardwired to love certain types of source material. I thought this was a well made movie. It filled some gaps and closed some loops.