Michael Olderr, Layout Editor
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the last chapter of the Skywalker saga, which began all the way back in 1977 with the original Star Wars: A New Hope. Here we are given a movie that seeks to do justice to the prequels before it. And while this movie succeeds at being a mindless action movie, it fails to live up to the franchise’s legacy.
After the (supposed) fan backlash to the previous installment, The Last Jedi, it is clear that this film was made to undo everything that the previous movie had done. It is a people-pleaser movie, which on its own is infuriating. It lacks imagination and forces way too many elements without actually justifying their existence, creating plot points that do not follow the arc of the movies before it. Disney took inspiration from the wrong side of the fanbase when creating the story, and in doing so, they made some grievous creative choices. Some moments in the film put the prequels to shame, with lifeless scenes and voids of emotion that make you want to leave the theater throwing up. The very clear rewrites that this movie went through took a toll on the narrative and left the cast to carry the weight.
The stars of the movie are the only reason that the movie is watchable. The members of the cast work well off one another, and Daisy Ridley noticeably outshines her peers. Her character Rey is one of the better characters in this trilogy, and over the course of the movie Ridley reminds us why she is the protagonist of the story. Her charisma shines through each scene she is in and adapts well to the narrative. Though the long-standing criticisms of her character are still present, and her story moments are not without heavy flaws, in the end, we see a fitting end to the journey she started in The Force Awakens.
Moreover, Ian McDiarmid is phenomenal in his return as Sheev Palpatine. A cool effect follows his character wherever he goes, giving the atmosphere of his character a sense of horror, which is something Star Wars has not done before. It is refreshing, but if you just stop and wonder why McDiarmid is even in the film, it collapses the narrative as well as Star Wars as a whole. Adam Driver also does the best he can in this movie, but like many of the other cast members, he fails to live up to the story’s potential.
Rise of Skywalker could have been so much more. It should have stood as a testament to this 40-year-old story, but it does not. The heart that Star Wars used to have is missing. If this is the final product of the Star Wars saga, it should have stayed in a galaxy far far away from theaters.