I want to start this off by saying I don't hate this movie! I get it, "The Rise Of Skywalker" brings the Skywalker story to a close. And I understand that it's hard to bring this saga to an end in a way that satisfies us all. Abrams nailed fan service, nostalgia, and action. However, you can feel the influence of Disney with this final installment and it just feels dirty. Like there was a moment in the movie that happens toward the end that the moment it happened the theatre collectively threw up in their mouths. It was something that didn't make sense for a Star Wars movie, but had Disney written all over it. All and all this movie was a rushed mess. A fun, mostly enjoyable rushed mess. However, if you're one of those people who didn't like The Last Jedi, then for you, this ain't it chief.
"The Rise of Skywalker" is as visually appealing as you would expect from a Star Wars movie. I mean come on! It's Star Wars for crying out loud. Even The Mandalorian gets that right. Locations are on point, backgrounds are beautiful, and the universe is more vibrant and inviting than ever. In this respect Abrams nails it. Truly capturing the magic of the Star Wars universe. And the first time we Lando Calrissian (Billy D Williams) was a great moment. Because you know he's gonna be in the movie going into it, but it's still a pleasant surprise.
And speaking of surprises, we finally get a solid backstory for Rey, and it would make sense given the power that she has displayed, but it was revealed and explained so sloppy that it was really hard to let sink in. And pacing is the worst enemy of this movie. Things that should carry weight seem to have no effect at all due to the speed at which the story just rushes us through them. And it's ashamed because I would have loved to see some of these revelations expanded on.
Then you have the dialogue. It's fun. Again, more Disney influenced than I'd like but it's a good time. The moments between Poe, Fin, and Rey are fun. And while we're on the subject of Rey (Daisy Ridley), can we all just agree she gave us a stellar performance. The way she showcased emotion throughout all this was just brilliant. You definitely got this sense that left it all on camera. To really give the fans something they could get behind. Less captivating was Fin (John Boyega). And I thought he was great in the first two. Especially "The Force Awakens". But something just felt off about him in this movie. I know he's on record as not being a fan of the direction this trilogy was going, so maybe this was him just not giving a care, but he lacked energy.
That said the issue with this movie happens right out the gate. Taking notes from "The Dark Knight" and
"Spiderman 3". "The Rise of Skywalker" sets up too many plot points that it then has to deliver on. Rey's Jedi training. Kylo's journey. The resistance's mission. And so much more. It truly was clear that Abrams was trying to undo all of the perceived damage of "The Last Jedi". A movie which I personally didn't have a problem with. However, that's where this one start to decline, trying to solve the issues of another movie. Because Abrams put himself in a corner where he now had to tie up all these little ends and plug all these little holes. And they were tied and plugged poorly. At one point a reveal was outta left field that Poe and Fin's reaction to it was the exact sentiment in the theatre. And to Abrams credit, I think he did that on purpose. I think deep down inside he knew this movie would be received as a dumpster fire, and he just wanted to keep up warm.
And to be clear, I don't think think the movie was bad. I'm just telling you what the streets are calling it. That said, I really did have fun watching “The Rise of Skywalker.” Even if I don't understand or generally like the direction the powers that be took it on it's final run. Like I don't think it's okay that the 144 minutes of this movie spends most of its time trying to "fix" what I genuinely didn't think was broken in the first place. The reveals were done poorly, the ending felt rushed, and this movie is said to have done some major damage to the original 6 movies with the addition of Palpatine.
When it comes to the action in this movie it is done RIGHT. Every time we get Rey v Kylo there is a raw emotion behind it that just feels right. Watching them duel it out with light sabers is like watching a ballet with swords. A ballet that feels like they are getting out their frustrations, motivations, and feelings. Some real "we talk with our fist" stuff you only get to see in Anime. Then you have the other battles that feel just as good. X-Wings v Tie Fighters. Storm Troopers v Resistance. Big Ships v tiny ones. The action was done just right, in just the right amounts.
All that said though, "The Rise Of Skywalker" takes us on a lightspeed journey through the past, present, and future of the saga. This movie is filled with "power. UNLIMITED POWER!" And if you haven't noticed how much I've used the word fun yet, here it is again. It’s such a fun movie. The type of fun you expect from a now Disney franchise. For some "The Rise of Skywalker" will be just that. Fun. For more it will never capture the magic "A New Hope" brought to our hearts the first time we saw it. For me, it was silly, fun, with just enough action. I cried when Chewy cried and smiled when Kylo smiled. The emotional payoff was there for me and though it was all a little too sketchy. I can still see the picture and I guess that'll have to be good enough.