I Love 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'
And I...am all the Jedi.
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out, everyone can agree that no one can agree on the quality of that movie. It was a polarizing film, with some loving it and some saying it was the worst in the franchise.
And last December, when J.J. Abrams released the final installment of the final trilogy of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, people were generally unanimous on how they felt about this movie: a disappointing ending to an unplanned trilogy of wasted potential.
Except for me.
When The Rise of Skywalker landed on Disney+, I decided to watch this film for the third time to make a final decision on what my opinion of this movie is. And I've made my final decision—I love The Rise of Skywalker. Love it. Absolutely love it. I love it to pieces. If this movie were a person, I'd fuck it.
I'm gonna be a bit more profane and immature in this movie because this is my third review of this film. If you want to see my two formal reviews, click here for the non-spoiler one and here for the spoiler one. These are my uncensored, honest thoughts on one of my favorite Star Wars films.
Before I go section-by-section on my thoughts on this film, I just want to address the question you have buzzing around in your head: how much money did the asshole writing this collect from Disney when they paid him to write this review?
Trust me when I say I'm not nearly famous enough to get paid for that. Jonathan Sim isn't exactly a household name (yet), so Disney does not pay me, and the idea that Disney pays critics is just a baseless conspiracy theory. It's fake news, as our spray-tanned president likes to call it.
And now that I've gotten that shit out of the way, I am now gonna dive into this film and tell you why I loved it. Quite frankly, I want to take this movie, hold it, kiss it, seduce it, rub oil all over it, and lick it till the sun comes up. I'll save the finer details for my erotic fantasy stories, but let's get started.
Return of the Emperor
The first words in our opening crawl are, "The dead speak!" And while you may have walked into this article expecting endless praise for this movie, I'm gonna be real with my thoughts on Palpatine's return.
I'm okay with it. I don't love the idea because it felt like a last-ditch effort by Abrams to have a main non-Kylo Ren antagonist after Snoke died in The Last Jedi, and if Palpatine could come back from the dead once, who's to say he can't keep coming back over and over again now?
But as an idea, it's executed quite well. We get to hear him say his famous line from Episode III: "The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural." And while the explanation is brief, it's there: Sith rituals and cloning.
I like the idea that Palpatine was pulling the strings the whole time. He's the one who made Snoke, and that means he was the one who pulled Ben Solo to the dark, and it was a good idea to have the Emperor be the main antagonist in all three trilogies of the Skywalker saga.
What about the big twist of the movie? The Rey Palpatine twist. When I watched this movie in theaters for the first time, this shocked me. This twist will definitely be nowhere near as iconic as "I am your father", but it is quite surprising.
This twist gives an explanation for Rey's unparalleled abilities with the Force. It is foreshadowed early in the film when Rey accidentally shoots Force lightning at a ship when the only other human who was able to do it was Palpatine.
My issue with this twist would be that it basically felt as if Abrams was confirming a fan theory because he felt as if The Last Jedi didn't give the fans enough of what they wanted. It felt like he was trying a bit too hard to give this movie a lot of fan service, like what he did with The Force Awakens.
Overall, my feelings toward the reintroduction of Palpatine are 70% positive. It's not the best idea given the fact that the Emperor had a bunch of Stardestroyers underground on Exegol, and none of this was even alluded to in the first two installments. Still, it's not an idea terrible enough to take me out of the film.
Let's talk about this movie's story. It's quite fun, and it is very Abrams-esque. In my first review, I briefly compared this movie to another Abrams film, Mission: Impossible III, which also had a plot surrounding a MacGuffin plot device and moved at a breakneck pace to string together a bunch of exciting action scenes.
This can be viewed as a fault because watching this movie with a time stamp on the bottom for the first time, I realized this movie is paced like a motherfucker on cocaine. Our main trio of characters goes from the Resistance base to Pasaana to Kijimi to a Stardestroyer to Endor all before the movie even reaches its halfway point.
And while the pacing suffers a bit from Abrams's need for non-stop excitement, I'd rather watch this movie's slick, exciting action sequences over The Phantom Menace's trade negotiations and Senate meetings any day. It's a fucking entertaining thrill ride, and I'm not gonna complain about being entertained.
What about the Sith wayfinders? The fact that this was the final installment in the epic Skywalker saga and the story is just about people trying to find a thing was just a bit disappointing. And when Rey finds it on the remains of the Death Star II, Kylo just smashes it, making the first half of this movie feel a bit useless.
Another issue here is the fact that before Finn sinks into the quicksand, he tells Rey there's something he never told her. They bring it up in the next scene, and Finn tells her he'd tell her later.
Yeah, he never does. It does not come up again. I don't get it. Why would Abrams put a mystery in the movie if he was never gonna solve it? I assume he would have told her that he could use the Force, but this idea is never fully explored either. He has "a feeling" during the movie's finale, but he doesn't get to do anything substantial with the Force.
But the second half of this movie is much better than the first, in my opinion. It's more deliberate in its pacing as it slows down and gives the film more emotion. Rey and Kylo have their final lightsaber battle, and it ends with Rey stabbing Kylo as they hear Leia pass away.
Rey then uses the Force to heal him. This was a fantastic moment because it symbolized Rey killing Kylo and healing Ben Solo. At that moment, Ben had murdered his father, and his mother had died. He had no one who loved him anymore except for Rey, which is why she says she wanted to take Ben's hand, not Kylo's.
And later, Ben turns and sees his father, Han Solo. This fucking scene gets me every time. It's always great to see Harrison Ford play this character, and his appearance in this movie was such a surprise. He appears as a vision, and this scene mirrors the scene from The Force Awakens.
This is the scene when Ben realizes he had a father who loved him and wanted nothing more than for him to come home and return to the light. He didn't see it before because he was Kylo Ren, and when Ben finally sees who he really is, he returns to the light side of the Force. And when he says, "Dad?", that just fucking gets me, man.
Ben turns and throws Kylo's lightsaber into the water, and it was such a great parallel to Revenge of the Sith. Ben's grandfather, Anakin, descended to the dark side, surrounded by a raging fire. Ben then returns to the light side, surrounded by water.
Rey arrives on Ahch-to and is ready to exile herself there like Luke did to avoid a future where she would turn to the Dark Side and become one of the Sith. Her decision came out of nowhere, in my opinion.
Earlier, Rey tells Finn that she had a vision of herself on the throne of the Sith, and she was afraid of the power inside of her and how she would end up using it. However, we don't get to see this vision. This scene breaks the famous storytelling rule of "show-don't-tell".
Because it would have been a lot scarier and understandable if we had gotten to see Rey on the throne of the Sith, rather than have her describe this vision. Instead, we only get a scene with evil Rey on the Death Star II, which was just an inferior version of Luke's cave scene in The Empire Strikes Back.
Speaking of Luke, he arrives in this scene. He grabs his lightsaber and says, "A Jedi's weapon deserves more respect." Luke then states his decision to exile himself was wrong. I'm gonna delve into how this movie undoes a lot from The Last Jedi later, but I don't think this was a reversal of The Last Jedi.
By the end of the previous film, Luke had already changed. He tells Kylo that he would not be the last Jedi, meaning that he had evolved, and is no longer the lightsaber-throwing, green milk-drinking old man from the beginning of the film. He sees a future for the Jedi, and he sees it in Rey, which is why he doesn't want her to exile herself as he did.
And this is just a lovely scene, but the ending is fantastic. We finally get to see Luke lift his X-wing out of the water, which he was never able to do in The Empire Strikes Back. As this happens, the music from Empire swells in the background, and this scene is just fucking beautiful.
After this, the film moves into its final act, and I'll give more thoughts on that later.
Everyone loved Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewie, and Darth Vader from the original trilogy. This set of characters is so famous, and if I'm gonna tell you the truth, I like those characters more than the set of characters in this trilogy.
Now, let me elaborate; BB-8 is an adorable droid that must be protected at all costs. Kylo Ren is a much more layered, conflicted villain than Darth Vader, even though Vader will forever be more famous and iconic as a movie villain.
Rey, Finn, and Poe? They're interesting on their own. Each of them has a dark past, with Rey's parents being murdered, Finn being raised as a Stormtrooper, and Poe's history as a spice runner. But you don't get the chemistry and dynamic between them the way you had the relationship between Luke, Han, and Leia.
I like these characters, but I think the characters of the original trilogy are better. But it made me pretty happy to see Lando Calrissian return in this movie. Billy Dee Williams plays that character so well, and I loved his role in the final battle.
My only issue is how he randomly showed up to save the trio on Pasaana. Out of all the planets he could have been on in the galaxy, he happened to be in the exact same place as our main characters? It felt kind of like a deus ex machina (and not the one with Oscar Isaac).
As for Leia, I loved it. They had planned to have Episode VII be a Han-centered movie, Episode VIII be a Luke-centered movie, and Episode IX be a Leia-centered movie. But given that Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016, they were unable to get new footage.
The fact that they used deleted footage from the first two films is noticeable, and you can kind of tell how they wrote scenes around the lines Leia said in this footage. But it was done beautifully and respectfully, and the fact that Rey brings Leia's lightsaber to Exegol to finish Leia's journey is just awesome.
This movie brings in some new faces. There's Di-O, who was unnecessary, and I get the feeling that Abrams only wrote that character so he could give himself a character to voice. And we also had Zorii Bliss and Jannah, who weren't bad at all.
But hey-HEY, what about Babu Frik? That's a fucking CHARACTER! Voiced by the actress who played Moaning Myrtle? My god, I love Babu Frik.
How It Handles 'The Last Jedi'
I love this movie, but I'm not gonna act like it was perfect. And the most imperfect thing about this movie, in my opinion, was the treatment of The Last Jedi.
Now, Abrams doesn't throw out everything from The Last Jedi; he took the connection between Rey and Kylo to new heights and the fact that the Force can transport matter such as rain is brought back in this movie in spectacular ways (we're getting there, trust me).
But I have issues with this movie's handling of the previous film. Luke's lightsaber, for example, has been restored after it broke in The Last Jedi with no explanation offered for its repair. And the most significant issue here is the story of Rey's parents.
Anyone who watched The Last Jedi would have heard Kylo's story about Rey's parents; they were nobodies—filthy junk traders who sold Rey for drinking money. In this movie, however, Kylo amends his story to say that they were nobodies because they chose to be, and they sent her to Jakku to protect her.
Um, what? That's not what Kylo said in The Last Jedi. He even says, "I never lied." But yes, he did. I like the idea that Rey's parents loved her, but I wish it didn't directly contradict something that was stated in the previous film. It's a bit like Obi-Wan's dumbass explanation of, "what I told you was true from a certain point of view," but this was worse.
As for the character of Rose Tico, I correctly predicted that she would have a reduced role after the negative reception to her character, effectively getting "the Jar-Jar treatment". But she was only in this movie for about two minutes.
Really? You're gonna sideline her that much? If I was writing this movie, I would have given Rose a role of a similar capacity to The Last Jedi, but I would have given her some impressive scenes to turn the tide in her favor and get audiences to love her character.
Not everyone liked Ahsoka Tano when the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie came out, but anyone who recently watched the last four episodes of the show now knows that Ahsoka is fucking badass. I think Rose deserved the Ahsoka treatment.
This movie brings back the Knights of Ren after their absence in The Last Jedi. I would have wanted more scenes where we could see them in action, but they really only follow Kylo around and then fight Ben at the end of the movie.
And speaking of the end of the movie, it's about time for us to finally talk about it.
What I've always loved about Star Wars is how the Rebels unite to fight their enemy. One of my favorite lines from all of Star Wars comes from Cassian Andor in Rogue One when he tells the Rebels, "Make ten men feel like a hundred." That line gives me chills just thinking about it.
And when Poe is giving his speech to the Resistance as everyone preps for the Battle of Exegol, that just made me so fucking happy. I loved watching this scene, and it was so great how once they reach the planet, they're immediately thrown into the action.
It's a unique Star Wars battle, as we get to see a bunch of action from Finn, Rose, and Jannah on the Stardestroyer. At one point in the battle, the Resistance starts to lose. And Poe begins to lose hope, saying there are too many of them, but he hears Lando say, "But there are more of us."
This is a callback to what Zorii said on Kajimi, and we then get this epic shot of thousands of ships from all over the galaxy rising to fight and prevent the creation of the Final Order. Wedge shows up too, and when Lando uses the Millennium Falcon to save Finn and Jannah, that was just such an epic moment.
But what about what was happening on the ground? Rey confronts her grandfather on Exegol, and Ben rushes after her. I love Ben's no-look shot and the moment when they see each other through the Force, and Ben just gives her a nod, and Rey knows she doesn't see Kylo; it's Ben.
Rey puts the lightsaber behind her back, and Ben picks it up. He gives a Han Solo shrug and fights off the Knights of Ren using the lightsaber he had wanted since The Force Awakens. And when Rey and Ben get their team-up shot, that was just fucking amazing.
They get knocked down, and Rey looks into the stars. She hears the voices of Jedi past telling her to rise. Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kanan Jarrus, Qui-Gon Jinn, Ahsoka Tano, Aayla Secura, Adi Gallia, and Luminara Unduli, all telling her to rise and take a stand against the Emperor.
How can you not like this scene? Seriously, how? "We should have SEEN them!" This is Rey's moment. If we had all of these other characters show up with her, it would have taken away from her, as we would have been too focused on all these different characters instead of Rey. It was Rey's heroic moment.
Back to the scene, when Luke tells her, "the Force will be with you, always." This is what Obi-Wan told Luke, and now, Luke says it. I'm sorry. That's too fucking perfect. Am I wrong? That's beautiful.
And the Emperor tells Rey, "I am all the Sith!" She gets the other lightsaber and says, "And I am all the Jedi!" before using both Luke and Leia's lightsabers to fight off the Emperor, standing for every Jedi who lived in the past, standing firm as the last Jedi.
That is when I orgasmed.
Is it reminiscent of the Endgame ending? Yes. But I don't care. I giggled like a motherfucking toddler when she did that, and it was terrific. Rey dies, and Ben saves her. We have a moment where they kiss, and just then, Ben Solo and his mother become one with the Force.
Rey returns to the Resistance base, and she, Finn, and Poe share a hug. I would have wanted more friendly, happy moments between the three of them before this, but it was a sweet ending, and Chewie finally gets his medal.
The movie ends at the Skywalker home on Tatooine. Rey buries the two Skywalker lightsabers there, and a woman asks for her name. Rey had spent the entire trilogy wanting to find her place, not knowing her last name or anything about her.
And the message of this film is that it doesn't matter where you come from; it matters where you end up. Rey doesn't consider herself a Palpatine. However, she sees Luke and Leia's Force ghosts smiling at her, and she decides to adopt the name of her masters. Her name is Rey Skywalker.
I fucking love this movie. I am not ashamed to say it. This is my third review of the movie, and I guess this review is my way of saying sayonara to this film. I think I watched this movie again to see if I could possibly end up hating it as much as everyone has been for the past few months.
But I just can't help but love this movie. To quote Rey herself, "All you want is for me to hate, but I won't." I won't hate this movie. Yes, I think it's the weakest movie in the sequel trilogy, and yes, there are issues, and it could have been better.
However, I've watched this movie three times now. And I still love it as much as I did the first time. There's no denying this movie's issues, but I'm not gonna apologize for how happy this movie made me. Maybe you agree with me and maybe you won't.
But that's the point. We're Star Wars fans. We don't always agree, but we have a love for Star Wars. There's no point in complaining about this movie's awfulness because that doesn't do anything. We aren't making progress if we just complain and focus on all our negative emotions; that's how you let the hate flow through you.
Perhaps you disagree with my feelings on this movie. However, I think I know what we can agree on: the original trilogy is fantastic, the prequels have the most planned out story, the sequel trilogy has excellent visual effects, and the last four episodes of The Clone Wars were terrific.
See? We can agree on a few things. And truthfully, I loved watching Rey's journey. I loved seeing where she went in these three films, and I loved being able to see her rise—it delighted me to be able to watch this movie and witness the rise of Skywalker.