My Final Verdict: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
Uggh! I almost don’t want to write this but I am cathartically forcing myself to because it needs to happen. Star Wars was a huge part of my life for 20 years or so. I built it up in my own mind, played out storylines in various games I played, and dreamed up many more I never got a chance to play. I read the books, comics and watched fan films when they became a thing. I was invested. I was a Star Wars game master for several campaigns. Why? Because the original trilogy fascinated me, even with the Ewoks. We all saw the potential for more story. We all imagined them, and when the Expanded Universe came out, we dove into it, loving every book and comic that came out. Some were bad, but most were really good!
The prequels were an extreme disappointment. WIth the focus on trying to bring in new fans through the kids of the original fans, Lucas took what could have been a highly political, intrigue-based plot and made it so first graders would not be too confused. So much potential wasted. But now, after the newest trilogy, hindsight shows us at least some things. Number one – the story was consistent. It might have been poorly told and the acting was poorly done, but at least it was consistent. Secondly, he realized there was more story. He tried to fill in the gaps later with the cartoons – Clone Wars – which I found insulting but at least he recognized there was much left untold. The story he was trying to portray was way to complex for the trilogy he gave us and it was quite obvious more needed to be filled in. I just wish he had not done it with a cartoon.
Handling it over the Disney was a huge mistake. DIsney was up and coming after the Marvel success but instead of approaching Star Wars with a similar respect, they just handed it over to a SJW with an agenda – KK – to push and no clue how to produce a trilogy. They hired a guy – Jar Jar – that had already destroyed another franchise single-handedly (Star Trek) and he proceeded to do the same thing to Star Wars. While doing many details right, his overall storytelling and grasp of the universe was simply off. His last name may be a tank. He knows how to tank a franchise, that’s for sure.
One of the major mistakes of many was not only hiring Jar Jar Tank, but also not keeping one director through out. He didn’t want to do all three. That should have been Disney’s first clue that this was going to be a disaster but again, they did not take it as seriously as Marvel. Grant it, Marvel had a handful of different directors but they have material to go off of. Of according to KK, she had nothing like that. (yet another terrible mistake – ignoring the Expanded Universe).
Another good point in that respect was the relegating of the EU to something called Legends. I supposed Disney wanted nothing to do with the fine authors and creators of the EU and owing to them. Lucas had no problem bringing Zahn’s big bad in – Thrawn. But apparently, Mara Jade is a character that is rather hated by Lucas Film. So it’s a mixed bag from that perspective. But Disney wanted nothing to do with that. I suppose with the deal with Marvel, all intellectual property moved over but with the Lucas deal, only specific property moved over because the EU Was licensed? Who knows. Either way, after the crap that we got from Jar Jar Tank, I think it’s time to re-address their stance on the EU.
I have been very vocal about how I hated The Force Awakens and for way more than it was just a rehash. The Last Jedi, although bad from a story point of view, was a breath of fresh air because it stomped all over TFA. Unfortunately it added nothing to the trilogy other than killing Luke. This can be attributed to the lack of consistency between directors and a total lack of planning for the overall final trilogy.
Rise was two things. For one, it was quite obviously a scramble to get things back on track and tell the story that Jar Jar Tank intended. Secondly, it was a safe story that doubled-down on the Mary-sue character Rey and basically erased everything about TLJ that was told. You really do not even need to see TLJ now, and just know that Rey got some training, some old books, and Luke died. That’s it. Nothing else.
There was a lot wrong with this movie and very few things right. Most of what was wrong with it goes back to what is wrong with the whole trilogy. I could not care about the new characters at all. Rey was a Mary-Sue, I do not care what the SJWs say. Kylo/Ben was a emo with daddy issues and nothing more. His transition from Kylo to Ben was too sudden and poorly told. And Po… was … well … Po. He almost became interesting in the end. Oh yea, don’t forget Fin….who was…. umm just Fin. ~yawn~
And Hyperspace Skipping? Why? Stupid!!
If certain things had to happen – Rey was a Force Uber Mary Sue; Kylo was going Dark but changed; Po was Po – then they could have done it better throughout the story. First and foremost, a Star Wars bible needed to be made and stuck to. Keep the world consistent. Allow it to make sense. Then plan out each character over the trilogy, not with “mystery boxes” but with solid plot points that make sense!
Rey needed to struggle and she rarely did. If she was going to be this Uber force thing, then relate it back to the balance of the force thing from the original trilogy somehow, give it meaning and background and a reason why she had all this power. But also make it raw and hard to control. Fail at some point and have that fail have meaning! Don’t just make her think she killed Chewie with her uber powers – kill some one accidently that mean something.
Kylo was an big emo Darth fan-boy that had little power to begin with and a stupid looking lightsaber. His transition was stilted at best. This whole Force Dyad between them – if we had to have something like that – needed to be established in some way and then given some weight. Make that connection mean more than just Force Skype. Maybe,w hen Rey does something uber powerful, Kylo is exhausted. Or vice-versa. Or they both can sense when the other does something. Add some stakes.
Fin needed more and there was a potential for more. HIs breaking of the First Order’s conditioning needed to have consequences. His mind was manipulated to serve the Order – how? Have him struggle with flashbacks to the conditioning, struggle with fighting his stormtrooper “brethren” and assign someone – like chrome-dome trooper – as the person that conditioned him. Add some depth to that relationship.
It’s unfortunate that these movies have been relegated to “just movies” now but that’s what the regular fan says when they don’t want to think too hard about the story. They are happy with their flashy flashy ray guns, spaceships and space sorcery and do not care about the story. Unfortunately, I spent too many years thinking about this universe, imaging the story to relegate it down to “just a movie.” But that’s what it is now. Just another movie.
This was not the ending to the grand trilogy of trilogies that I wanted. It was just a movie with so little to it that I walked out wondering what I just watched. I wanted a refund on my time and money but I will never get that back. Thanks Disney.