Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Review

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review Anakin and His Angel(One of the theaters I saw TROS at had this fun photo op area set up!)

Prior to seeing The Rise of Skywalker, my anxiety was so bad. I felt physically uncomfortable due to how fast my heart raced off and on and it worsened the closer we got to December 19th. The last couple of days before seeing the movie even had me feeling slightly nauseous. All of this was due to my intense feeling of elation over this movie. Yes, I REALLY LOVE STAR WARS. I was also a bit nervous because I wanted so badly to love this movie that I had been looking forward to since I saw The Force Awakens, one of my favorite Star Wars films.

Today I'm going to be talking about what I thought of the overall story and many of the characters we see in this film. I'm planning to do a separate post talking about my favorite scenes. So, grab your favorite snack or drink because this is a long one my friends.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review Anakin and His Angel

STORY

I was thrilled when it was announced that JJ Abrams would be returning to finish what he started. I love the characters he introduced us to and his extraordinary way of storytelling in The Force Awakens. It is a perfect mix of new and nostalgic Star Wars that made me fall in love with the franchise in a completely new way. I feel that's exactly what he has done with The Rise of Skywalker. He did things I never thought would happen that I absolutely adore and he tied up the trilogy and the Skywalker Saga in a very satisfying way. I truly believe there's something for every Star Wars fan, new and old, in this movie. We get answers to most of the big questions fans have had while some were left open for theorizing. There are some things I would still like to know but I don't feel dissatisfied by the questions that I have whatsoever. I walked out of the theater completely IN LOVE with this movie and so happy to be a fan! But when am I not, right?

I can honestly tell you that I've never said "Oh my gosh!", felt my jaw hit the floor or cried more than I did watching any other Star Wars movie for the first time. It was the wildest and most emotional ride ever! And for the record, I have continued to cry, smile and feel all of the emotions throughout the film each time I've seen it. My next viewing will be number six if you're wondering.

During my first viewing it felt like there was so much going on. At times it felt slightly rushed and that if I blinked, I'd miss something mind blowingly-awesome or important. However, my second viewing completely resolved this issue. In fact, I don't think that there are any pacing issues whatsoever. The movie flows beautifully and there is not one scene that doesn't keep me engaged. I think that The Rise of Skywalker is an extremely re-watchable film. For comparison, I also feel this way about A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, and finally, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The way the movie began was completely unexpected and I loved that about it. We're immediately thrown into a battle on Mustufar, introduced to the planet Exogol, and Emperor Palpatine himself! I didn't expect to find out so much in such a short amount of time but I think it really set the bar for the film. I was astonished to find out that Palpatine created Snoke and it really made me curious if he used the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life like he once told Anakin Skywalker that Darth Plagueis did. I always suspected Palpy made Anakin but a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Matt Martin, recently made a statement that he didn't after the comic Darth Vader #25 was released showcasing a scene that made it look like he did. Anyhow, I was also really pleased to learn that it was Palpatine's voice Kylo heard inside Vader's helmet because I have suspected that for the longest time and I talked about it early last year in this post. During this same scene we learn about the Final Order, we witness the most massive amount of Star Destroyers, and Palpatine tells Kylo that Rey is not who he thinks she is! It was so much to take in, and from that point on, I was experiencing an even crazier amount of adrenaline. It didn't stop until much later after the movie ended which I was totally fine with. Being on a Star Wars high is good in my book as long as I feel in control!

The Rise of Skywalker is all about the importance of family and friendship and making your own destiny regardless of whatever your past may look like. It was heartwarming to see the original characters like General Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Lando Calrissian coach and encourage the Sequel Trilogy duo through some of these challenges that they faced. Much like Han, Leia and Luke, I felt that same magic with Rey, Finn, and Poe which was truly remarkable. I honestly can't imagine not seeing these three together again in the future.

JJ Abrams did an amazing job of really balancing out the action, drama and humor in The Rise of Skywalker while incorporating a tremendous amount of Star Wars familiarities that referenced most of the films without forcing it. I think all of these elements combined really made the film feel so smooth and complete, like the best kind of Star Wars movie. I especially appreciate that the humor felt like the kind of humor I'm used to in Star Wars. I was a bit worried about the humor in future Star Wars films after seeing The Last Jedi, but I think it's safe to say those might have just been specific writer/director choices.

I thought the ending of The Rise of Skywalker was beautiful and I don't actually have any problems with it, but I couldn't help but remember something I read back in July. JJ Abrams had told his friend, Kevin Smith, that he should wait to see the very last shot of the movie in theaters. A crew member went on to say that it would "melt his mind.". The last shot, as we know, is of Rey and BB-8 looking out at the Twin Suns. It's fantastic, and a beautiful nod to Luke in A New Hope, but I wouldn't say it melted my mind. This makes me wonder if a different shot had been intended. There is some convincing evidence that the shot of Rey was re-used and flipped from another scene in the movie which backs this theory up. There are also rumors about there being a director's cut that is just over three hours long so there could be an alternate ending we don't know about. Honestly, if there is, I don't know if including that on the Blu-Ray would be the wisest choice. There are fans who have complained in general about the film every single day since it's been released and I think an alternate ending would just add more fuel to their fire.

Going into this movie I was quite torn on what I wanted for both Rey and Kylo Ren, my favorite characters in the Sequel Trilogy, but I continue to find myself very pleased with the paths that they chose and their bittersweet ending. Honestly, I would have loved to see Ben Solo live but I don't know what that would've looked like considering everything that he did as Kylo Ren and the Supreme Leader. It seems like this was a better choice for his character than to be stuck in a prison cell (which would also keep him apart from not only Rey but his mother since she disappeared the same time that he did). I think focusing on the fact that he made the right decision in the end by turning to the Light, and showing Rey just how much he loved her by sacrificing his life for her, was the most perfect ending to his story. He died with a clear conscience, and for once, he was happy. And I think Rey, although very sad, was also happy for him. She knew there was good in him all along and I think she knows that he'll always be with her. Afterall, they are a dyad in the Force (you don't even know how happy this makes me to be able to write that). I was confused as to why we didn't see Ben at the end in Force Ghost form along with his mother, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker. However, I recently found out that Force Ghost Ben Solo was never filmed and I would rather that be the case than had it been filmed and not included in the movie. As for Rey, I think it makes complete sense that she took on the Skywalker name. Luke, and especially Leia, were big influences in her life and she spent a fair amount of time training with with each of them. They were like her family and she was proud to honor them in that way. To me, she looked exceptionally pleased that she finally had a family name. Rey went to Tatooine to respectfully bury Luke and Leia's lightsabers where it all started and Co-Writer, Chris Terrio, recently explained that they never intended for the viewer to think that Rey went to Tatooine to stay there regardless of the fact that John Williams titled the last track "A New Home". I can definitely see how this created confusion but it's nice to have an answer about where she didn't end up. The last time I watched this scene I completely bawled because of how beautiful it was and the way John Williams so masterfully orchestrated the perfect melody for the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review Anakin and His Angel(Official poster by Bella Grace.)

CHARACTERS

REY - I never thought I could love Rey more than I did before seeing this movie but I was totally wrong. I was amazed at how much more she had grown in the Force (those new Force powers though!) which was all thanks to Leia taking her on as her Padawan. I didn't see this coming and absolutely loved their Master and Apprentice relationship! I was also extremely shocked to find out that her grandfather is Emperor Palpatine. The funny thing is, I pointed out to my husband Jason that Rey has Palpatine-esque lightsaber moves in The Force Awakens during our re-watch before seeing this movie. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I never took Kylo Ren telling Rey in The Last Jedi that her parents were "no one" as absolute truth. I figured he could've been wrong or it could've been true from a certain point of view, and it was. I honestly believe we've been shown the Dark Side within Rey since the beginning of her story and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the plan all along. Rey being related to someone doesn't change who she is or the way I feel about her character in the slightest. Even though her power comes from Palpatine, she fought against that very power with the Light within her and who she was as a person and defeated the Emperor! Daisy Ridley does an incredible job in this movie portraying Rey's ultimate moments of struggle and triumph. I think it's the best she's done yet!

KYLO REN/BEN SOLO - I love that TROS opened with a ground battle between Kylo Ren and the Cult Colonists on Mustafar. I had guessed it was Mustafar due to its appearance and confirmed I was right once I got my hands on the Visual Dictionary (which I highly recommend purchasing). I was ecstatic about this as I predicted we might see it in my post, 3 Things I Want to See Happen in The Rise of Skywalker. Anyhow, Kylo literally wipes the Cult Colonists out and it's so satisfying to watch as crazy as that might sound. But if you know me, my favorite Darth Vader sequence is the scene at the end of Rogue One, so it might not come as a surprise to you. Kylo's fighting style is my absolute favorite and we get to see a lot of new lightsaber, force, and blaster moves in this film both as Kylo Ren and Ben Solo. Speaking of which, there are several moments in which Ben is completely his father's son and I can't get enough of it. I need all of the Ben Solo merchandise please! As always, Adam Driver does an impeccable job at portraying his character but there's something special about him in this movie. Watching him slowly transition from Kylo to Ben was unbelievably realistic and emotional. He doesn't even need to say anything to make you feel exactly what he's feeling and I think that's one of the reasons that he quickly became one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars saga. His character is so complex!

EMPEROR PALPATINE - His role is this film was so profound that the questions I have about how exactly he returned surprisingly don't bother me as much as something like this normally would (I like to know as much as possible about generally everything). It makes so much sense that Palpatine was always pulling the strings literally the entire time from the beginning of the Skywalker Saga to the very end. As always, Ian McDiarmid is fantastic as the Emperor. He was somehow even more terrifying to look at and scheming as always, even in his old age. I like to think that Palpatine either had a one night stand or created his son as I find it very hard to believe he could have been in a long-term relationship since he cares only about himself. I've always disliked Palpatine but even I have to admit that the scene in which he gains his power back after extracting the life force from Ben and Rey's bond to send the largest amount of Force lightening up towards the Resistance allies was one of the coolest shots in the entire movie.

FINN - I've always liked Finn but now I feel like I can say that I'm officially a "Finn Fan". He very noticeably matured in this movie and I liked it. His care and devotion to Rey is so admirable but I've always preferred them as "friends" so I was worried that he wanted to tell Rey that he loved her when the group sank in the sinking sands on Pasaana. After seeing the movie I learned that he actually wanted to reveal to her that he is Force sensitive. I did notice his little Force moments throughout the film, which were awesome by the way, and I hope we get to see the continuation of Finn's story in some form. I really love that Finn became a General alongside Poe and I think one of their best scenes together is when they gave a speech to the members of the Resistance! It didn't feel like every other film that includes a "speech scene" and it was more unique having two people working off of each other to provide a message of reassurance and hope.

POE DAMERON - Poe is as awesome as ever and his sense of humor is the best yet! It works so well with the dynamic the new Sequel Trilogy trio have. Speaking of which, I really loved seeing Poe, Finn and Rey together so much in this movie. It made me so happy! It was interesting to see a side of Poe that cared about Rey. His interactions with her seemed more genuine than his flirtatiousness with Zorii Bliss but still, I was not a fan. It's Reylo or bust! I love that Leia appointed Poe as General. It was such a huge honor for him and he, like Finn, very much deserved it. They're both such natural leaders!

GENERAL LEIA - I didn't think that there would be much extra footage of General Leia that they didn't use from the previous films so I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of screen time she had. She looked amazing! I truly believed that she was right there with the rest of the cast making the magic happen. I'm so happy that she was the one training Rey! Leia was so patient and sweet with her, exactly as one would expect her to be. Her final moment in the film could not have been more surprising to me but also so fitting. To use what she had left in her to reach her son was a true act of love. All the details that brought this scene to life from the shot of her holding Han's medal while softly whispering "Ben", to the dimly lit room and R2-D2 by her side was absolutely beautiful. I think Carrie Fisher would have been proud of her character's sacrifice.

HAN SOLO - "Hey kid.". I've said for so long about how nice it would be if there was a flashback with Han Solo in this film but Ben having a memory of his father was even better! I think I instantly cried at the sight of him. The fact that Ben's conversation with his dad mirrored the last one they had together on Starkiller Base was brilliant. It was the last push that Ben needed to fully turn to the Light. I believe that Leia, Rey and Han all had a part in helping him find his way. Han responding with "I know." after Ben tearfully said "Dad..." was really the only logical way that Han would respond and yet it had so much meaning to it. How is Harrison Ford so awesome?

LUKE SKYWALKER - I didn't think Luke could be anything but a Force Ghost in this movie and I was right. His involvement in the story was perfect! I loved the fact that he told Rey he was wrong for secluding himself on Ach-to and how he helped guide her to do what she needed to do the very same way she helped him. I never expected to see that Leia had her own lightsaber and I love that Luke had kept it and gave it to Rey. It was also so amazing to see him bring the X-Wing out of the water! I remember being disappointed that it didn't seem to serve any purpose when we saw it in The Last Jedi. Luke didn't succeed the first time he tried to do this on Dagobah so this was a very special moment in my eyes.

LANDO CALRISSIAN - Billy Dee Williams has been saying all along that Lando never left him and he is 100% correct. His performance in this movie makes it really hard to believe he is eighty-two years old. My heart felt so happy to see him piloting the Falcon again! Knowing that he and Wedge were working together in the Falcon to defeat the Final Order was the absolute coolest and gave me all of the Old Trilogy feels.

CHEWBACCA - What can I say about Chewbacca? He's always the best in every single film. I sobbed when I thought he was dead. It was such an intense scene and the way Rey screamed his name after she realized she destroyed the transport he was on with force lightning added to the emotional weight of it all. My. Heart. Broke. I believed he was gone. When I realized he was still alive, though happy, I still felt a tremendous amount of sadness seeing him held prisoner on Kylo Ren's ship. I have very strong feelings about Chewbacca which makes me sensitive to anything bad happening to him. Even when he found out Leia had passed, I felt so sad for him. I did love seeing Maz give him Han's medal at the end though. He was so happy and even showed it off to C-3PO. What a cutie!

C-3PO - Like Finn, I admired C-3PO the most in this movie. He was so funny, sweet, and heroic. There's so many great moments that can easily be overlooked if your focus is on the main characters of the film. One of my favorite scenes with 3PO is when Poe, Finn and Rey all join hands in saying they'll continue on in their journey to get the information they need from the dagger in honor of Chewbacca and 3PO slowly steps over to join hands with them. He truly loves his friends!

D-O - He is just as cute as you'd expect him to be but I'm still getting used to the fact that he talks (he's voiced by JJ Abrams). I didn't expect him to, and I don't think it's bad, but I do wonder what he would've been like if he had a unique set of beeps and boops like our other friends R2-D2 and BB-8. Who who were, of course, as cute and devoted as always. I do love how tiny he is and the fact that BB-8 rescued him. He's a scurry and shy little thing with a very unique personality!

GENERAL HUX - He's clearly never hated Kylo Ren more than in this film. So much so that he risked his position to act as a spy just to see his nemesis lose. Unfortunately, that didn't work out too well for him. I really didn't expect his character to get killed off the way he did but then again, General Pryde was very much on top of things.

ROSE TICO - I've always been more of a fan of Kelly Marie Tran than Rose Tico but I thought her character fit the story well. I think that my friends over at StarWarsNewsNet.com summed up the fact that she had less screen time in the best way, " Why wasn’t Rose in the movie more? I don’t say this to upset anyone, but Abrams made the right decision in my opinion – if you view the movie from the lens that his focus from when he started this story was on four main characters: Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren. If you look at the screen time for every character in the movie, that’s exactly what happened, and I thought the relationship between Rey, Finn, and Poe was the best part of the movie. Every character outside of these four, Chewie, and C-3PO had six minutes or less screen time in the film."

JANNAH - One of my new favorite characters was Jannah! I loved learning that she was a Stormtrooper and watching her passionately share her story with Finn. Their scene on the Falcon was really special because they each found someone who they were able to relate to. I think Naomi Ackie did a wonderful job bringing Jannah to life. Her character felt so genuine and kind. I hope we get to see more of her somewhere.

BABU FRIK - Another favorite character of mine was Babu Frik. I love his personality and his little voice so much (Shirley Henderson, voice of Moaning Myrtyle in Harry Potter, voices Babu)! I feel like I've been quoting him at least once a day since I first saw the movie. A plushie of Babu is most definitely necessary.

GENERAL PRYDE - Watching Richard E. Grant's enthusiasm over his character and the film before it hit theaters made me so giddily happy. It's such a remarkable thing to witness how excited and passionate actors can be over their characters and Richard is definitely one of those people. Dedicated, ruthless and straight to the point, his character, General Pryde, was the perfect fit for the First Order.

ZORII BLISS - I think Zorii is one of those characters that might grow on me overtime. She was mysterious with a feistiness about her that I admired but I didn't feel particularly drawn to her character. My favorite parts where watching her interact with Babu Frik but it also made me jealous that she was familiar with the language that he spoke.

SITH TROOPERS - Since the new Troopers were part of the Final Order that was just starting to begin to reveal themselves, it makes sense that they had such little screen time. However, I still found it disappointing since they were so highly marketed. I love me my Troopies!

JET TROOPERS & SITH JET TROOPERS - It was really fun to see these specialized Troopers with jet packs in action. I won't ever be able to not see the face of Predator when I see their helmets though. I'm not complaining but, it's not just me, right?

KNIGHTS OF REN - These guys were an even bigger disappointment. I had hoped we'd get to see them in a lot of action but most of what they did included standing around looking awesome and wanting to be awesome. I did love their fight scene with Ben Solo at the end of the movie though and was definitely ok with Ben taking them out one-by-one.

If you made it this far, congrats! That concludes my review. I don't know yet where I will be placing The Rise of Skywalker on my list of favorite Star Wars movies but it's something I've been thinking about. Thank you for reading and please stay tuned to read all about my favorite scenes from the film! Please let me know if there's something I didn't cover that you're curious about or anything else you'd like to comment on! Just keep it friendly :)

7 comments

  1. I'm glad that you like the movie so much since you're such a huge fan. In my opinion it was entertaining, but I would place it last on my Star Wars movie list. It was not a completely bad film, but there were so many unexplained plot holes (like: Where the hack did all those star destroyers come from? Who built them? Why did Rey choose the Skywalker name in the end although her parents were heroes aswell and saved her?). Also I don't like that Palpatine miraculously showed up again, felt like a cheap trick to me.
    I enjoyed seeing Ewoks and Porgs again and Babu's scenes were hilarious! The love story between Kylo and Rey was bittersweet, I understand why he had to die, but still ... ;)

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    1. every star wars movies has plot holes and doesn't explain everything, not sure thats a valid reason for rating it 11th place lol.

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    2. Thanks for reading!

      I don't think that just because we don't know all the answers to everything makes the movie automatically worthy of being at the bottom of the list. A lot of movies are open for theorizing. Plus, who knows. We might find out some things later on in different forms of content. You mentioned the Star Destroyers and I actually didn't think that was a big deal. To me, it was obvious that the existence of the Final Order was being planned for a long time. They had a lot of new recruits!

      As for Palpatine, I think it makes sense. He has always been there. And I think this quote really sums up his return, "The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."

      Rey didn't know her parents like she knew Luke and Leia, so her choosing to take on the name of Skywalker made a lot of sense to me.

      I loved Babu too! He's so cute!

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  2. Great review. You put a lot of work into this.

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    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate that you took the time to read it. MTFBWY!

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  3. Great Review!! A lot of the things you said were right on point. I love watching the movie too. Now its time for marathon when it comes out.

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    1. Thank you, Shayne! I am really happy that you liked it! And yes, a marathon will be a lot of fun!

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