What The Hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Way back in 2017 I wrote about The Ballad of Luke Skywalker. This was shortly before The Last Jedi was released, and I offered up some theories, and questions. The movie did answer the most important questions I had. Another of the questions was partially addressed by The Mandalorian when Luke sought out Grogu to train him. I certainly would like to see some more of that.

Luke did, essentially, get the big send off that I wanted to see in The Last Jedi. It wasn’t the way I’d imagined it, but it still worked for me. All-in-all I liked the Last Jedi quite a lot. It was a well-made movie that served up some interesting ideas to be explored in the final part of the trilogy.

Then Rise Of Skywalker happened. I’m not going to do a deep dive, because I’m a little late to the party, and pretty much every angle has already been covered 100 times. But I also wanted to wrap up my previous blog post from before my hiatus.

Rise Of Skywalker was terrible. Very likely the worst Star Wars movie I’ve ever seen. Attack Of The Clones had a strong claim to the throne for a while, but that was just the middle part of a prequel trilogy. Rise Of Skywalker was not only the final chapter of the long-awaited sequel trilogy, but also the final chapter in an extraordinarily beloved movie series that stems back more than 40 years.

Among the interesting ideas posed by The Last Jedi was that Rey was just an ordinary person who happened to be strong with The Force. Sure, I was rooting for her to be Luke’s kid, but I was fine with the fact that she wasn’t. In fact, that message was sort of inspiring in that it told us that anyone can be special.

Rise Of Skywalker decided that Rey was Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter. Or, like, the daughter of a Palpatine clone who didn’t have any powers. Or some such nonsense that was never really explained in the movie, but was discussed in subsequent interviews. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

On the same note, Broom Boy’s whimsically casual use of The Force at the end of The Last Jedi offered up another fun option. Maybe Rey would travel the galaxy to find these Force-Sensitive people, and enlist them in the final battle to defeat the First Order. Something like that could have been displayed similarly to the epic portals scene of Avengers: Endgame. Only, instead of superheroes and wizards, it would have been common people standing together and using what power they had to defeat the evil empire.

Rise Of Skywalker made no mention of Broom Boy, or anyone else like him at all. Sure, they alluded to Finn all of a sudden being Force-Sensitive, but then did absolutely nothing with him besides yelling “REY!” over and over again. Speaking of Finn, he also had a big secret that he wanted to tell Rey. He never told her, and therefore the audience never found out.
But we were again told after-the-fact that he wanted to tell her he was Force-Sensitive. This revelation also would have made no difference to the events of the film regardless, so who really cares. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Kylo Ren was made into a really interesting shades-of-gray character by The Last Jedi, before decided to stick to the Dark Side and slice his way to Supreme Leader status. The clear conflict within him sizzled up ever scene he was in, especially his scenes with Rey.

In Rise Of Skywalker, he falls immediately back in-line under Palpatine like Darth Vader 2.0, even though he had made a big deal of becoming the true big boss man of the First Order in the previous movie. So, he’s just bad again until he talks to a hallucination of his dead father, Han Solo, and is suddenly not bad anymore. Han was not a Force Ghost, not really a memory, and also not explained at all by the movie. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Honestly, I could go on and on about this stuff, so here’s a few more quick takes.

Palpatine is just back, which is super lame, and you would have only seen it coming if you played Fortnite. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Rose Tico just doesn’t matter anymore, even though she spent the entirety of The Last Jedi building a pretty fun relationship with Finn. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Poe and Rey have one scene of a kinda flirty Han-and-Leia interaction, and then it’s never mentioned again. But Poe’s ex-girlfriend shows up for a few scenes to waste time on a subplot that could have been wrapped up in one or two scenes. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

Chewbacca and C-3PO die, or are erased, in service of the greater good. Until they’re back, and right as rain 10 minutes later. Even dramatic sacrifices are brushed aside, and immediately retconned (like J.J Abrams tried to do with the entirety of The Last Jedi). What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

When Ben Solo finally completes his slapdash redemption arc, and somehow manages to make a couple of cool moments happen, he’s immediately blasted down a bottomless pit before he can even take a swing at Palpatine. He could have, at least, battled Palpatine’s army of faceless fans(?) in the stands while Rey took on Palpy himself. But, nah. What the hell, Rise Of Skywalker?

And many, many more issues that became even more prevalent when I finally decided to give Rise Of Skywalker a second chance after almost a full year.

At any rate, I wanted to put a bow on my 2017 blog about Luke Skywalker, and I have. I’ve very happy that the Star Wars universe is expanding, and I freakin’ love The Mandalorian. I’m also very much looking forward to some of the other announced projects coming, especially the Ashoka Tano, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Boba Fett shows.

The only issue is that all those projects take place in the past, meaning that for the foreseeable future, Rise Of Skywalker is the end of the Star Wars Saga. I really hope that’s not the case for long.

They’ve finally got the right people in-place to shepherd Star Wars back to greener pastures (yes, another shot at J.J) with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s Mando staff. I’m also happy to hear that Rian Johnson is still set to make more Star Wars movies as well. If they’d given him Rise Of Skywalker it probably would have been more “Hell Yeah!” than “What The Hell?”

So, I will hold out hope that Star Wars Episode X, or whatever they end up calling it, can turn Star Wars back into the Crown Jewel that Disney envisioned when they bought the rights from Lucasfilms. Hope, after all, is where this whole thing started in that long time ago galaxy of 1977.

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