Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker brings the long-running saga to a definitive end, but is the fandom happy about it?
The film opens with its now-legendary crawl giving us the usual exposition on what has happened since the Last Jedi. Emperor Palpatine has returned and vowed vengeance. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), now titling himself Supreme Leader, ventures in search of Palpatine determined to obliterate any challenge to his sovereignty. However, Palpatine makes him an offer – kill Rey (Daisy Ridley) in exchange for an armada of Star Destroyers and the power to rule the galaxy.
In the meanwhile, Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) together with Chewbacca obtain information via a mole in the First Order confirming Palpatine’s return. Rey discovers that Luke’s notes contain writings on how to find their way to Exegol via a Wayfinder and the gang departs to the planet Pasaana where they encounter an old Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) who comes to their aid. Kylo Ren, through the Force bond the links him and Rey, discovers their whereabouts and comes to Pasaana. A Force tug-of-war between him and Rey ensues over a carrier that has Chewie in custody and Rey conjures lightning from her hands which seemingly kill the Wookie.
The guilt-ridden Rey thereafter tries to embark on a journey of her own to destroy Palpatine and uncover her true identity but what destiny has in store for her is something far beyond her expectations.
Going into the theatre to see TROS, I had made my mind up to view it for what it was, a space opera film that was meant to entertain. The previous two times I visited the theatre to watch the Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the former exceeded expectations while the latter did not quite meet the bar set by a 40-year franchise that had seven films and a larger mythos backing it. After all, when you have four decades worth of serious fandom behind a saga that has spaceships shooting at each other (while making SOUND in SPACE!) – one has to empathize with the fantasy that has entertained nearly two generations. Thereby, satisfying every fan is a task no one in their right mind would attempt. J.J. Abrams himself stated this recently in response to the mixed receptions the film has received since its release.
The Force Awakens was touted as a film where the baton would be passed onto a younger generation who I imagined would carry the films for a while but with the saga ending, it feels as if the younger cast barely had their time to shine.
I have to say that I enjoyed the film from an audience standpoint, it had everything I could ask for. While the film did so much to retcon The Last Jedi, it had its moment where the film shined, and Abrams did a good job tying up most of the loose ends and providing us with a conclusion to this saga. I enjoyed the cameos which you’d notice if you are a Star Wars fan and it does take a good ear and a pair of eyes since these are mostly fleeting. If you’re someone who grew up watching this space epic, The Rise of Skywalker is a must-watch in a cinema – after all, it’s Star Wars. Gotta be thankful to this franchise no matter what due to the massive technical and cultural contributions it has made throughout the years. And if you are feeling the lack of Star Wars in your life – be sure to check out The Mandalorian on Disney+, which strangely feels more Star Wars than any of the films in the sequel trilogy.
Courtesy of Akash SK