Review: The Rise Of Skywalker

I’ve been waiting for May The fourth to arrive since I discovered The Rise Of Skywalker would be released on Disney+. Just a little bit of a warning, this review will contain a lot of spoilers!!!  If you still have not yet sent seen the last movie of this EPIC SAGA — I recommend that you go watch it first, unless of course you relish spoilers. I house the type of personality, that does not relish surprises as much as the next human.  When it comes to story-lines, plots, characters, and costumes I definitely want to know.  The minute The Rise Of Skywalker was released in the theatres, I devoured all the press with regards to spoilers, and final outcome as, I was not able to watch it until it the DVD was released. This review will be a bit like a roller coaster – kind of all over the place as there’s so much I have to say. 

Ok let’s start.  I should be honest; I was kind of annoyed with the whole Palpatine plot line.  How he tries to rise out of the ashes like Phoenix out for blood — with the desire for revenge, to kill every single last Jedi regardless. I did read an article a while ago, that did state there was no clear story plot from the beginning of Star Wars to the end.  It was kind of being made up as creators went along, I mean in hindsight it could potentially look like it was planned from beginning to end, to make all the puzzle pieces fit — I was just tired of seeing Palpatine. As writers some of our best work is uncharted, it’s part of the journey that allows us to fit all those disjointed pieces together. Mind, you, I’m totally making up this review as I go along (with The Rise Of Skywalker playing in the background) as it keeps the ideas fresh and going. No judgement here with regards to process – creatives have their own way of doing things and in the end – we pretty much “Make the plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan.” As quoted by Captain Cold in The Flash, this is pretty much our process. 

At the start of the movie Kylo Ren fights his way through rebels to find a Sith wayfinder, that leads him to Exegol where Palpatine had been in a hiding, plotting his return to rule the Sith. When Kylo Ren goes to kill Palpatine he learns of Rey’s lineage — which prompts another plan. While, that drama unfolds on Exegol, the Rebellion travels to Sinta Glacier Colony to obtain a message from a First Order spy. I relish how the characters of the rebellion consistently desire to push boundaries and pretty much go bonkers while they’re doing that. For example in the first 15-20 minutes after the spy’s message is transferred to R2D2, Poe decides to abuse the Millennium Falcon by lightspeed skipping through the: Megafauna Chasm of the Typhonic Nebula, the Mirror-Spires of Ivexia, and the Crystal Chaos of Cardovyte before  their final destination to the Rebel Base. In the meantime, Rey continues her Jedi studies with General Organa looking on while Rey levitates rocks as they encircle her as though she is Saturn. Constantly repeating the words “be with me, be with me, be with me.” expecting to connect to the Jedi of the past. I felt Rey’s disappointment, when she was met with silence and says “they’re not with me. Ugh.” and basically elegantly somersaults in the air — landing on the ground in such a delicate fashion. An attempt of the Jedi obstacle course found Rey struggling in the middle — as there is a disruption made by Kylo Ren. The obstacle course was not completed as Rey stopped because, as Kylo Ren triggered memories of her parents and how they left her. With Luke’s lightsaber in hand Rey gives in to Leia and says “I will earn your brother\’s saber – one day” it was touching to see Rey’s devotion to educating herself in the ways of the force. Before Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, C-3PO, and BB8 travel to pick up Luke’s search for the Sith wayfinder, Leia hugged Rey and said, “don’t be afraid of who you are” and handed over Luke’s saber.  This is classic Star Wars especially since the main themes are intertwined simultaneously with fear and hope. 

Once the rebels arrive to the Forbidden City Of Pasana, they are met with The Festival of the Ancestors which occurs every 42 years. C-3PO’s reaction to the festival was genuinely comical, he was excited to see the events unfold as the others just wanted to complete their mission. Star Wars droids at times house more human traits than — some humans I know.  I found it funny because, it’s classic C-3PO. Created By Anakin, C-3PO has such a rich history when you look at his character progression throughout all 9 films.  I found it especially sweet when C-3PO said to R2D2 before he left with the others to the Forbidden City Of Pasana: “In the event I do not return, I want you to know you have been a real friend, R2. My best one, in fact.” I totally cried; it was a touching just in case goodbye. While in Pasana, Rey just finished speaking to a young native girl who bestowed upon her a gift of a necklace, when she felt the presence of Kylo Ren.  Ren basically told Rey that Palpatine wants her dead and proceeded to rip the necklace from her neck while they are in a force mind meld (I know, wrong space franchise but it was the best way I could explain it).  After a micro battle with the Storm Troopers in Pasana, the Rebel crew attempt to escape but end up appearing as though they are drowning into the Sinking Fields. Once through to the cavern below the comedic timing was perfect, Rey activated her extremely long lightsaber while, Poe took out a twelve-inch flashlight. In the cavern Ochi’s clue to the Sith wayfinder had been found, however a giant injured serpent stood in their way – Rey noticed the wound and slowly transferred life force to heal the serpent. With the serpent’s departure a hole had been knocked out — exposing their exit. Before the rebels departure from Pasana, there was yet another confrontation in the dessert.  Kylo Ren pushes Rey to show her the strength in her power, in turn Rey blew up a transport that they thought Chewie had boarded, leaving them all to believe Chewbacca was dead but — I knew better.  After 8 prior movies, to have potentially furnished Chewie with such a cheap death would have enraged me, as I feel it would have been done in vain.  And not given this beloved character a noble death. (I knew it was a trick, it did not sit right with me.)

With the dagger clue in hand, in the language of the Sith, C-3PO is able understand the language but is unable to translate as that dialect was not permitted by the Rebellion.  Basically, 3PO had to undergo a memory wipe in Kijimi, in order to access the content of the clue to the Sith wayfinder.  Irony and life paths once again make themselves present.  Once the Rebels arrived to Kijimi, they were met with Storm Troopers asking everyone for id. Zorii, who had been an ally of Poe in the past, was resentful of his actions and called him a Spice Runner which brought forth this dialogue: 

“Zorii Bliss: Your friend’s old job was running spice.
Finn: You were a spice runner?
Poe Dameron: You were a Stormtrooper?
Rey: Were you a spice runner?
Poe Dameron: Were you a scavenger? I mean we can do this all night.”

I adore the last section of dialogue as it shows, regardless of where you come or what your lineage is the final choice on how to proceed in life resides in us.  A fact, that Star Wars has illustrated since day one, in addition to understanding the journey.  Once 3PO’s head is cracked open, Rey could sense Chewie’s presence on the ship above them. As in Star Wars fashion they went to rescue him and the clue.  It was serendipitous that Zorii gave Poe a Captain\’s ID – which easily granted them access to where Chewie was being held prisoner. Once again, another confrontation between Rey & Kylo Ren ensued while he was on the ground and Rey in his quarters.  Once Ren saw Vader’s helmet come crashing to the ground, he knew exactly where she was and proceeded to go to her location in his quarters. When he arrives, he tells Rey everything, that Palpatine is her grandfather and literally begged Rey to join him in overtaking the throne – for he and Rey to rule together. His eyes when he said please, I felt the ache. Kylo Ren may have been dark sensitive but he has just as much light,  I believe he was still scared because of what happened with Luke in the previous films of this specific trilogy.  Ren also informs Rey that they are a Dyad in the force “two, that are one”.  

The Rise Of Skywalker — Trailer 

The Star Wars franchise has been playing on people‘s fears, to add extra darkness – once Rey decodes to clue on the moon of Endor, steals a skimmer and proceeds to entre the old Death Star wreckage to recover the wayfinder.  Rey is not only met with the wayfinder but, also a dark version of herself, that literally fights her.  In that tussle, the wayfinder tumbled to the floor to be met by the black gloved hand of Kylo Ren.  Rey asks for it but Kylo Ren crushed it in his hands and says, “the only way you are getting to Exegol is with me.” My heart broke when Kylo Ren shattered the Sith wayfinder, the look of anger in Rey’s eyes really says it all.  And, you know what that means, right another light saber battle – this time one large cluster f*ck. Leia needed to reach her son using the force during those seconds, Ren was distracted, in that moment Rey plunged his Saber into him.  Once, she realised what she had done, that Leia was dead and Kylo Ren on his way to being dead – she healed him and said “I did want to take your hand, Ben’s hand.” and ran into The Silencer. This is the moment, where Kylo Ren dies and Rey leaves Ben alone to contemplate his past actions. 

I can understand, the desire of tossing a saber into the fire, there have been many times where I’ve ripped my books of poetry to shreds– VIOLENTLY. Now, I say this because Rey flew to Ahch-to and thought she would follow in Luke’s path and stay there until the day she died.  But, like a good Jedi Master, Luke had something to say about it – I believe his exact words were “I was wrong.” I can not understand how Rey was going to take Luke’s sabre — from a Jedi past and toss it into the fire along with The Silencer. I mean what the hell? But then again, I can not fault Rey for wanting to eradicate all the pain from her life. It’s what makes Ben & Rey relatable characters, the push and pull they have not only with each other but, also with their own personal demons. When Luke comes out from the flames as a force ghost and says, “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.” Once again Rey didn’t know what to do and one of the twins came to the rescue. With these recurring words I relish so much “we/you have what we/you need” uttered by both Luke & Leia.  Because when you look at the darkness, at times there reaches a point where the hope is nonexistent, you-can-try-and-try-and-try-to-feel but, it feels nonexistent — even though everything you need has always been inside of you.  Self-empowerment and doubt have been equally consistent themes. I appreciate how that is reinforced.  Especially when there are children watching these movies, they learn how to slowly believe in themselves.  An important lesson, even for most adults.  

When the first order fleet rises, I had so many images in my mind that range from; the beginning to Green Day’s Holiday, to The Who’s Tommy, and especially Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The dark imagery of the ships and the profound power you see that they carry when they’re all gathered together — the power of numbers, I guess.  The BEST SCENE ever aside from all the Rey and Ben scenes was when Poe had nearly given up and said, “My friends, sorry I felt we had a shot, there’s just too many of them.” Right after, a very confident sounding Lando Calrissian replies with “But there are more of us Poe. There are more of us.”  I am even crying now, by that movement of solidarity – Poe’s reaction when he flew to see the actual numbers was truly perfectly timed.  It’s a wonderful thing, when you know people have your back no matter what.  

I don’t want to give away too much of the ending because, I think that it honestly is a kick ass finale not only to this final trilogy but also the EPIC Saga that is Star Wars. Let’s leave it at Rey is no longer alone with a thousand Jedi Knights living in her. Given our world history 1000\’s of generations live in all of us. During the last of the saga the annihilation and devastation of the first order fleet housed a MAGNIFICENT battle. All the people puzzle pieces and plot lines fit over time, obviously there are a couple of loopholes but, you know what it’s fine. Not everyone is always going to be happy but, for me the way The Rise Of Skywalker ended leaves me with a feeling of peace.

Lineage truly has nothing to do with you who is good or, who is evil that is very apparent when Leia trains Rey with the knowledge that she was Palpatine’s granddaughter.  The apple doesn’t fall from the far for the tree mentality doesn’t suit me at all, I loved that twist.  To be born one way and end up another just because you’re the descendant of dark, doesn’t mean that the light inside of you doesn’t exist. I am must admit I am a hard-core romantic, I did want Rey and Ben to get together there’s just something sweet about this dyad as they house ancestors who were both riddled with light and dark.  

If you’ve never seen this series, I suggest you watch them in the order of their appearance to the world. I will forever be in love with all these characters, as I grew up with them.  To say goodbye, with this final movie is indeed bittersweet. 

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