Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker came out on December 21. Despite the hype for the final movie in the series, many fans, unfortunately, found it disappointing. (Photo is public domain)
The excitement of this holiday season was accompanied by the hype for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the last movie in the newest Star Wars trilogy. My dad raised me on Star Wars movies, so I actually really wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, it was such a disappointment I just couldn’t.
Be aware that this contains major spoilers for the movie.
The movie is basically one big fetch quest where they have to go to three or four different planets, so they can get a map to go to where they actually want to go. The whole convoluted mess of going to one planet to search for the map, then going to another planet to decipher a map to the map that they actually need, then going to another planet to get the map, and all of that was pointless because Kylo Ren ruins Rey’s map and then gives her his, so basically it’s a waste of time and none of it mattered.
I’m trying not to be too hard on the movie, but thinking about how ridiculous some of it is exasperates me beyond belief.
My biggest problem with the plot is the part when Rey seemingly blows up the ship Chewie is on. I don’t understand how something so, so, so stupid can happen. Out of all the weird stuff with this movie, this is by far the most baffling question I have. How did Finn look away from this ship for 30 seconds and not notice that it’s a different ship? How does this happen? What’s the point?
Rey doesn’t even face any consequences from her friends for seemingly blowing up Chewie; after Rey ostensibly kills him, the gang is sad for a bit and then… nothing. A scene later they’re already saying crap like “if we don’t succeed, Chewie would have died in vain.” To be honest, it was so unmistakably stupid that it felt like JJ Abrams was playing a prank on the audience. I have no other explanation for how something like this happened other than that someone jokingly wrote it and forget to take it out later.
I was also peeved at how lazy they were about concluding character arcs in any meaningful way. Eventually, my overwhelming disappointment and frustration morphed into apathy and defeated acceptance of the mess happening.
Most of all I’m severely disappointed with Finn’s character arc. Pretty much all he did in this movie is yell Rey’s name constantly. It would have been really cool to have some closure to his backstory as an ex-stormtrooper but instead, we get nothing. The closest we come to that is when he blows up some First Order ships at the end but literally everyone around him is doing the exact same thing so that doesn’t count in my eyes.
The most frustrating thing is that it would have been so easy to bring closure to his tragic backstory. In one scene, the gang talks about how the First Order has already taken all the children from that planet to be soldiers. I was hoping that would be meaningful, and we might have a scene of Finn and his friends stumbling across a bunch of captured children on the ship they sneak onto and freeing them. However, we don’t get anything close to that.
What we end up getting is the whole “I’m the spy” revelation. To be honest, it was probably my favorite scene in the whole movie not because it was good or clever but because it was so incredibly stupid. Putting aside the fact that it doesn’t make sense for him to do that, this scene is kind of pointless when he dies the very next scene. As the audience, it was a turning point for me no longer caring about anything happening on screen.
In addition to Finn, they also did Rey super dirty. One of my biggest problems with the movie is the line “they sold you to protect you.” Even with context, it’s a big yikes of a statement to make. In general, I have multiple issues with how they explained Rey’s backstory. I could stomach her being a Palpatine, but the whole explanation of why her parents did what they did is moronic.
Unrelated to the plot, I also have an issue with the representation in this film. If you don’t know, at the end of the movie there was a same-sex kiss in the background between two unnamed background characters. I was confused when looking into it because I’ve seen a lot of articles refer to it as “groundbreaking” or a “historic moment.” and I don’t know how it got those labels.
The reason I’m annoyed is that JJ Abrams said in an interview with Variety that “in the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film.” And then the movie comes out and this representation he’s saying is so important for him to include is two seconds of some random lesbians kissing in the background.
This statement of support for queer representation comes in the same interview where he refutes any theories that Poe and Finn are together because god forbid anyone thinks that any of the main characters could be gay.
According to Abrams, he sees Finn and Poe’s relationship as “a far deeper one than a romantic one… it is a deep bond that these two have, not just because of the trial by fire in which they met, but also because of their willingness to be as intimate as they are, as afraid as they, as unsure as they are, and still be bold, and still be daring and brave.”
I don’t know if Abrams meant for it to come across this way, but saying that their relationship seems “far deeper” than a romantic one insinuates that same-sex relationships aren’t as deep as straight ones. When paired with how seemingly “important” it was to him to represent the LGBTQ community, it comes across as incredibly insulting.
It’s not that the movie was all bad, but the things that were bad definitely outweighed the good stuff. There a lot of big issues and smaller issues I have with the movie, but after a while, it gets exhausting to point out all the things that are dumb or nonsensical because it’s so tedious.
As a fan of Star Wars, I don’t want to hate the movie, but I just can’t help it. It’s so easy to criticize it’s honestly tiring. Thinking about this movie for long periods of time makes me inexplicably sad but maybe that’s my fault for expecting it to be good.