‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Review

Star Wars has defined nearly a half century for its fans and pop culture in general. Recently, all that could be seen on the internet with Star Wars memes for Baby Yoda. So, the movie series is still thriving as it did in the late seventies. However, the new Star Wars, “The Rise of Skywalker,” does not play it safe. Be aware, there will be spoilers in this review. 

Overall, I think “The Rise of Skywalker,” or Episode 9, was a great movie. I really enjoyed the plot, as some found it scattered. I could understand that point, but the journey involved was to make up time from the poorly planned Episode 8, “The Last Jedi.” Basically, Episode 9 was set up for failure from major critics in the movie industry as a ripple effect. Star Wars had to close the entire Skywalker saga, so every Star Wars movie in existence basically, in one movie. It showed that this was the case, and you could tell that the return of Emperor Palpatine was not planned at the beginning of this trilogy. If it was planned before “The Force Awakens,” then it was poorly executed. Star Wars has had very important characters appear in the original trilogy starting at one of the last two episodes, like Yoda and the Emperor. They weren’t planned, but they worked out. I feel that the Emperor returning was not well explained, being the main problem I had with him just showing up in the trailers. I am sure that this will be explained in a Disney Plus show or the comics in the near future, but this is something that creates gigantic plot holes. 

Plot holes weren’t the only thing that made me question the writers’ decisions. I was confused by the idea of healing with the force demonstrated by Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. It was a good concept, but the lack of time and crazy step in force ability made it seem too far-fetched. The writers tried to ease in the idea after Rey healing a creature in the cave system they were trapped in, so the concept seemed okay. This was until the Kylo and Rey fight scene. It was a great fight and showed the struggle between Rey and Kylo as they displayed their raw power with the force. However, it showed Kylo Ren as more dominant than Rey. This fits canon as the dark side users are typically stronger. Then, Leia died disrupting Kylo, which led Rey to stab him with her lightsaber. I was shocked, and it showed Rey taking a step too far into the dark side. I was impressed by the boldness of the writers to incorporate this much hatred in a protagonist. However, when Rey healed Kylo from an obviously fatal injury, it showed how mistakes do not matter anymore. Other than a negative theme to be taken, this betrayed the Star Wars canon and entire universe. Anakin contributed to killing Mace Windu, and he turned completely to the dark side after. This is one of the weaknesses of having a company known for its fairy tales take over, since they are completely afraid of not having a fairy tale ending. Personally, I believe they should have left this out or made the Emperor come and heal Kylo instead. We do know that the Sith can save those from death, but that takes the knowledge to be taught by someone who has learned from Darth Plagueis. Anakin so much desired this in “Revenge of the Sith” to save Padme. If the strongest force user ever cannot grasp this ability, then how can Rey and Kylo both just magically learn how to revive people with the force? 

The raw power of both Rey and Kylo was an interesting approach in my opinion. It strayed away from previous Star Wars ideals, but I felt it worked. The only problem I had was the origins of these powers. I can’t figure out why a well-trained Kylo Ren wasn’t always demonstrating the power he showed in the fight scene with Rey. That is my only complaint, but it was interesting to see Rey exhibit Sith practices like lightning and anger while fighting. The mental struggle of Rey was interesting as she found out she was a Palpatine and how she was even picturing herself as a Sith in a vision. This helped make the ending more complete and it all was tied up well with her conversion to the light side officially at the end. 

The Emperor fight is intriguing at the end of Episode 9. The fight was perfect between Rey and Emperor Palpatine, so I have no complaints on that aspect. The voices coming to Rey’s head from all the fallen Jedi was one of the most touching moments I have ever experienced from a movie, as Star Wars has been a large part of my childhood. It brought the closing of an era, and in my opinion it was well executed. When Rey died, it all made sense as the balance to the force was achieved. There were no Sith and no Jedi. The Prophecy was complete, but then we see Kylo use his magically acquired healing powers to save Rey. This is where these powers allowed for emotion as everyone was sad when Rey died, but then Kylo somehow dies. He either died from the injuries given by the Emperor or using the energy to bring Rey back to life. No matter what happened, these powers partially ruined the story line and created a game changing, made-up loophole to death. For instance, why couldn’t Rey just bring Kylo back to life? It makes no sense when broken down, breaking the storyline in many ways. 

Other than a few issues however, I thought “The Rise of Skywalker” was actually a great movie. I would give it a 9.3/10 due to the plot holes, but it was still an excellent movie with an excellent story. The ending brought a smile to all Star Wars fans’ faces with the recreation of the iconic photo of Luke with the twin suns pictured. This scene ended the Skywalker saga with the Skywalkers origins and Rey going back to Anakin and Luke’s past. Even though Rey isn’t related to the Skywalkers, she said she was at the end because of countless reasons that could be used logically. My theory is that this was because she was so close to Leia, Luke, and Ben (Kylo Ren) that she felt as a part of the family. It could have also been because she brought balance to the force and finished the saga for the Skywalkers as a Palpatine. The reasons could go on forever, but the main point is the nostalgia. Star Wars reflected well on the past and helped clean up the disaster of “The Last Jedi” that came before it.