The Rise of Skywalker is the latest, and allegedly final, installment of the Star Wars’ Skywalker Story. Unfortunately, reviews from critics and a lot of fan feedback have not been great. Currently, on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes the Rise of Skywalker is running at just 57% which could be considered disastrous for both Disney & Lucasfilm. However, the critics are wrong the film is actually quite good, but there is a problem.
Our review of The Rise of Skywalker is spoiler-free.
I wasn’t a great fan of the last Star Wars installment The Last Jedi. The critics loved the film but I was a typical viewer who felt it destroyed my childhood, it didn’t even have a proper lightsaber battle.
I had spent since 1983 waiting to see what became of my childhood heroes and the events of The Force Awaken and especially The Last Jedi have not been kind. Like many a child of the 80s, I had played out my own sequel trilogy and had expectations of what would occur. The death of Luke Skywalker was certainly not one of them.
The triumphant finish of Return of the Jedi was no longer relevant and in the new trilogy, after The Last Jedi, we are back to where we started just with some new characters. Unfortunately the new cast of good guys, Rey, Finn & Poe is not as lovable as my 70/80s idols.
Made worse the bad guys were no Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Boba Fett or even Jabba the Hutt. To make matters worse inextricably The Last Jedi decided to kill off the one interesting character Snoke before we even learned who he was.
I finished watching episodes 7 & 8 with no clear idea of what justified them being episodes 7 & 8. There was a more interesting backstory that surely justified being episodes 7 & 8 than what we had witnessed on the big screen. Who was Rey? Who really was Snoke? How did Kylo Ren get turned? Why did Maz Kanata have Luke’s lightsaber? Surely the destruction of Luke’s New Jedi Order was a big enough event to justify being an entire Star Wars Episode? There were so many unanswered questions and it seems we will never have an answer to most of them.
The biggest question, of course, was why did Disney scrap George Lucas’s original story treatments? What was in these mysterious stories and did George ever consider creating Snoke?
Then came the teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker and perhaps it all seemed a bit better. Emperor Palpatine was back from the dead!
Yes, the big bad of the saga would be back for The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps now the sequel trilogy could be saved?
However, was this always the intention of Lucasfilm to bring back Palpatine for the final episode? Depending on what source you read either this was always the intention or was a desperate measure to save the sequel trilogy after the bad reception of The Last Jedi.
Either way, this film has it all: a proper Sith Lord, space battles, characters from the original trilogy and at last a proper lightsaber duel.
The problem is it has too much! It runs at a ridiculous pace with no opportunity for proper story development. Events of previous films are ignored to get a conclusion. Yes, it probably does create a conclusion to the entire Skywalker saga but you don’t enjoy it as much as you should do.
The film should have been in 2 parts, there is easily enough story to have created an Episode 9 & 10. If Disney had done this the reviews for Episode 9 would be superb. Instead, we get a not too satisfying conclusion. Perhaps better still episode 7 & 8 could have been pretty much merged as 1 episode, the essential missing backstory could have been included, and with the Rise of Skywalker, we could have had a proper trilogy.
The Rise of Skywalker is certainly much better than the critics suggest, but it could have been so much better.