I have an odd relationship with Star Wars. I wouldn’t say that I am a huge fan, in the way that I don’t consider my religion a Jedi, nor do I have Star Wars memorabilia littered around my house, but I do know a lot about the films, and perhaps some of the finer details of the story lines that the average watcher may not. This is only contributed to having been in a relationship many moons ago with a complete Star Wars fanatic. The less said about that relationship the better probably, but it has meant that I kept up with the ongoing saga just through interest.
If you have read any of my other Star Wars reviews you may have noticed that it seems like I don’t like the films, and frankly, I think that the franchise started to go down hill with the introduction of Ja Ja Binks. If you are going to make one of the main characters hard to understand, don’t make them annoying with it… for those that thought the Ewoks were bad… Binks was a whole new level.
As ever there will be spoilers within this article, but I won’t be giving a plot breakdown, as it is very new out and you might feel like I am retelling a story you have already heard.
Where do I start? Well I guess the film is fairly pretty, there are some great scenery shots, and a whole sequence with crashing oceans, so visually J.J Abrams has done an ok job of at least giving you something nice to look at, but this is perhaps where the enjoyment of the film ends, as if you start to think about the film in any critical way, you realise that it doesn’t make much sense, and it also undoes all the work that “The Last Jedi” laid out.
So lets give some credit where it is due, it must have been really tough creating this without Carrie Fisher, and having to use archived footage of her to finish the triple trilogy, it is particularly sad that she never made it to see the final production of the entire story line, but the way in which the footage of her has been used has been very well done.
Onto the issues, firstly, throughout the last 3 films, there has been a distinct lack of characterisation, so I find it really hard to have any real emotional commitment in caring about what happened to any of them. Also while I am not one for chick flicks, there is a distinct lack of love story in this, so where Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) seem set to at least have some woman giving them a run for their money, there is only a couple of lack lustre scenes with an old flame which just leave anything in that arena falling flat. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) have some limp connection but this is realised too late for anyone to care that much about. In fact, the relationship with Kylo Ren and Rey is so flat, pancakes look like the Alps. Their “ability” to communicate and fight with each other no matter where they are, really is overdone and possibly should have stopped in the last film, but no, here we are again with some imaginary fight scenes and psychic communications.
What amazes me the most about this is that in “The Last Jedi” it was all laid out that good and evil isn’t so black and white as Jedi and Sith, there are many shades of grey which can cross over, which is supposed to be what Kylo Ren is all about, he isn’t all bad and he isn’t all good, which is why he can never quite get around to killing Rey, but then in the end of this film apparently there is only a choice to be good or evil… the build up to free will and going against fate is completely put to one side when Rey is left to make a decision that leaves you wondering… “Would that happen… really? REALLY??”
I am also sure that this isn’t too much of a spoiler if you have seen a poster for the film… but Palpatine isn’t dead, and he is Rey’s Grandad to boot. So, we have just wiped out the insipid story line of Rey being a nobody, so that she could be a final piece in a jigsaw that we didn’t know existed in the first place… and the answer to the question “well who was having it away with Palpatine??” is never answered, leaving you to assume that Palpatine must have had some how’s your father with someone in the Skywalker family tree as Rey takes on that family name at the end… although in the film she just sees the force spirits of Luke and Leia and declares herself a Skywalker… bold move there missy.
The rest of the storyline throughout this film is pretty much dedicated to tying up loose ends and making life really very easy for everyone… to the finding of the Sith way finder, to understanding that Poe is just the second coming of Han Solo. Kylo Ren realising his parents were right and a hoard of death stars going down easier than a lead weight in a still river. Conveniently C-3P0 can translate ancient Sith, but he is prohibited to speak it so we have to find a small cute creature to hack his robot brain (although Sith C-3P0 could have lasted longer in my books… he was much more entertaining that watching Rey disown her friends and do stuff on her own).
My favourite piece of this whole film… not because it is a great piece of cinematography, is when the spy is uncovered. You would think that most spies when they uncover themselves to the people that they are helping would want to keep it on the down low and not stand in the middle of the room and loudly announce “I’m the spy!”, but apparently Disney doesn’t do subtle.
There is something thrown in for the die hard fans of Star Wars with cameos from Harrison Ford (shame they killed him off earlier huh) and Billy Dee Williams as Han and Lando, so if you want some of the old cast reunited, here you go… but this does feel a bit like they are throwing in these characters to boost the film which they ultimately know has wiped out any kind of character or integrity that the first trilogy ever had.
Through the entirety of the film, there is a lingering query as early on Finn says “Rey… there is something I have never told you…” as they think they are about to die, but when they pull through he clams up… apparently it was so secret, it wasn’t necessary to share with the audience what it was… fairly annoying… I mean it could have been anything to is declaration of love, to that he is force sensitive to when he was younger he wanted to grow up and be an accountant.
This film feels as though it has collapsed under the weight of its own promise. With the poor reviews from many on “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”, this felt like everything was thrown at it to appease the heaving mass of the Star Wars fandom, which then left little room for any decent story line or plot as it scrapped around to try and answer everything you might have wanted to know except for the absolute obvious. It also feels that the Disney corporation has well and truly forced their way in with a robot that looks a bit like a lampshade which conveniently has all the Sith information imbedded into it, and obviously we had to have a mother die to make it true Disney.
The long and short of this is that this is a truly unmemorable film, which stumbles to its pinnacle moments only to then whimper off into a bizarre hole never to return to the glory that it wanted to be…but it’s ok as it does all end with a party on Endor with the Ewoks.
Have you seen “The Rise of Skywalker”? Why not tell me what you thought in the comments? Like this post? Why not share it?