Film Review: Rise of Skywalker

by MELANIE ARVANITIS

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is a part of the new Star Wars trilogy for fans of all ages. Episode IX stars Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie and C-3PO, as they try to end the First Order, once and for all, after Emperor Palpatine mysteriously returns.

The Rise of Skywalker was making its own rules as it went along, and not in a good way. There was no explanation for Palpatine’s return, and the world has changed a bit too much since fans last visited the story of Rey, Finn and Poe. It feels like there’s a missing movie between Rise of the Skywalker and The Last Jedi.  

 Episode IX also felt very rushed in the beginning and sluggish at the end. It seems representative of how it was probably rushed during production to meet the December deadline, and the film slowed down near the end for dramatic effect, which fell flat. There was so much build-up for an epic conclusion to this electrifying trilogy, yet all fans got was a bland concluding scene, and a lot of unanswered questions.    

Finn had something he needed to say to Rey, when they were in a near death situation. For a little bit, the film makes a big deal about it, yet Finn does not tell Rey what he needed to tell her. In a Q&A with the director, J.J. Abrams, he revealed what Finn would have said to Rey, and it honestly seemed pointless. Either way, it still should’ve been in the movie, whether it was a fun end-credits scene or actually in the film.

Kellie Marie Tran in The Rise of Skywalker

Kelly Marie Tran, Billie Lourd, and Keri Russell were all severely underused! Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose, who was first introduced in The Last Jedi, as an awesome character, and a love interest for Finn. In Rise of the Skywalker, Rose was seemingly swept under the rug, so Finn could possibly end up with another character, but nothing was even done with that. It really seems like J.J. Abrams was jealous of The Last Jedi’s success, and did whatever he could to get rid of everything new Rian Johnson brought to the trilogy.

Billie Lourd has been on the rise in Hollywood in recent years, as characters like Gigi in Booksmart and Montana Duke in American Horror Story: 1984. She plays Lieutenant Connix, who was introduced in The Force Awakens, and only has a few lines. Throughout the trilogy, she is meant to be a minor character and have few lines, but I still think she should’ve been used more. Maybe instead of using archival footage of Carrie Fisher, Billie could’ve stepped into her place! Also, if more time was spent at the base where Connix and Rose were situated, they could’ve shined a bit more, instead of being used like extras.

 Keri Russell makes her Star Wars debut as the very rad Zorii Bliss, but her character was held down by the fact that she was just used as a love interest for Poe, and as a way to rush the plot. Zorii Bliss and the newly added Jannah were both added just to fill in some spots that the already existing characters could’ve filled. The Rise of Skywalker stuffs too many characters into one movie; so much so, that none of them develop enough to make a lasting impact.  

Babu Frik is the best new addition to the Star Wars franchise from Episode IX. He is energetic, delightful, and cute, just like BB-8 was in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Sadly, BB-8 is on the list of underused characters in the latest Star Wars film, as well as the new droid D-O; D-O is a cute playmate for BB-8, but he’s mostly just used to move along a chunk of plot.

I know I’m not being polite to The Rise of the Skywalker,  and believe me, I do not like doing so, but it’s very hard to ignore that it’s heavily flawed. Besides all the negatives, there are thankfully some positives.

Rey, Finn, and Poe are kept together basically the whole time, which naturally brought some lighthearted comedy to the film. At least it is understood that the ‘Luke’, ‘Leia’, and ‘Han’ of any film should be kept together most of the movie. It’s also great that everyone still finds C-3PO annoying, after forty-two years of Star Wars films! The positives are mostly from the great characters that were already in the franchise, not from the new characters (except Babu Frik) that were added to move along plot, replace existing characters, and fix existing errors of the film.

Even though I am disappointed with the latest addition to this Star Wars trilogy, I still had a great time with it (even watching it with a one hundred and three degree fever in an IMAX theater!). This trilogy is still amazing, and it revived a powerful franchise which left off on a sour note (*cough* the prequel trilogy *cough*).  Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is definitely not the worst Star Wars film, but it is certainly the worst of this sequel trilogy.

Rating 7.5/10