ATG Movie Review/Rant: Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

So I know things have been quiet around here, but my god has January been a hectic month for me and the family between doctors visits for everyone and people being sick to the ComicFest at the mall we just had this past saturday! So on Sunday, we finally went to finally see Star Wars Rise of Skywalker and so I am going to do a quick little review of the movie from a general view’s perspective. Then I am going to be doing a little bit of a rant about the things that as a mega Star Wars fan I was bothered by.

So, on to my review. I think this was a good movie. It had a lot of things I saw in it I really enjoyed. It could have been a great movie if it had any name other than Star Wars attached to it. As an actual Star Wars movie I think it was at the levels of the Prequels if not worse! I think this movie has shown that J.J. Abrahms doesn’t understand nor care about the lore of the Star Wars universe when it comes to force powers or technologies. J.J. showed this same lack of understanding in episode VII but has turned it up to 11 here in Episode IX, in my opinion. All in all though, it was a fun watch. It had some good bits of humor, some good aliens and as always some awesome visual effects. My biggest problem is the ignorance of Star Wars lore and the God-Modding of characters and tech that seems to be common place in J.J.’s various movies and shows.

So now onto my rant so if you haven’t seen the movie yet (if not what’s taking you so damned long it’s almost out of theatres already!) then you may wish to look away.

OK so now onto the rant. J.J has once again brought us a Star Wars that…well just falls short of the Star Wars bench mark and takes basically everything that was established in the original trilogy and either rehashes it for cheap fan pops or says “Ah who cares what they said back then I wanna do this!” and changes everything about it. As you may remember from my Episode VII blog, I had a lot of these same concerns from the first Star Wars movie he directed also and well things haven’t changed much here either. The biggest difference is in this one he didn’t do as much of the Fan Service as he did in his first one, this time it was more the throwing the established rules out the window. So let’s go through some of the things that I had some problems with and why it is I didn’t like them.

So, I think the first one that really struck me was Tie-Fighters with Hyperdrives. I mean we’ll get to the Falcon in this scene as well but let’s go with the Tie-Fighters first. Tie-Fighters have always been short range snub fighters that NEED Star Destroyers to get them from system to system. Now more modified versions of Tie’s like the Advanced and Interceptors and maybe even the bombers, though I’m not sure of them off hand, are the ones with Hyperdrives and Navicomps. The main Tie-Fighter which you see somehow jumping along behind the Falcon with no problem were never made to have the drives much less the Navicomps needed to do hyper jumps.

While we’re on the subject of Tie-Fighters with Hyper Drives, lets just ask the glaring question here which also leads me to my next problem with the same scene. Poe is jumping manually in and out of Hyperspace at random intervals so how is it the Tie-Fighters can stick right on his tail like that? It’s not like he was going through programmed courses with specific times and I wouldn’t think a Navicomp could predict when Poe was going to drop out of Hyperspace. Just seems like a cop out and a lazy way to deal with an escape by rewriting conventional norms for the hyperspace jumps. Even more annoying when you consider Star Wars’ fixation on continuity up until the Disney Takeover! 

This brings me to my next blatant disregard of how Tech works in Star Wars. Poe keeps hitting the Hyperdrive and skipping from place to place in the blink of an eye while being chased by Tie-Fighters. Well in our Episode VII blog we had mentioned how Navicomps need time to plot courses and that it’s just not safe to blindly jump as you can end up in suns and other dangerous obstacles can just make your day extremely bad in a deadly way. So I won’t go too much into that again but they do have that here again which doesn’t work… but they  have another problem with how their Hyperspace jumps are working. If there’s one thing that has bothered me with both of J.J.’s times at the helm of these movies is he treats Hyperdrive like it’s an instantaneous route from one spot in the galaxy to another but that’s not how it works. There are times that Chewie is playing the HoloChess with others during a Hyperjump. During the original Trilogy they call everyone into the cockpit to let them know that a jump is almost done. Yet in this scene we see them jump through like 3 or 4 different places including what looks like Bespin or at least some similar place. A couple second Hyperjump shouldn’t be able to do this sort of thing.

Now we come to another thing that kinda sucks is that in this movie J.J. has taken the weight away from all but one of the deaths that happened. I mean everyone gasps when we think Chewie dies but then within a matter of minutes before we can even process our grief for the loss of such a beloved character, suddenly he’s back. Yeah it was a total swerve so the impact gets killed before it can really register all that bad and then when they start mentioning about Chewie being dead later on there is no gravity to the scene. For us in the audience it doesn’t really give us the drama it does for the characters because, unlike them, we KNOW Chewie is still alive. Then we get to death of General Leia and before you say it, I know they had a limited ability in what they could do here since she was dead before the filming and they were using old footage to finish off her character arc but to be honest Leia’s death was SOOOOOOOOO Anti-climactic. I mean this badass woman, who survived being blasted out into space and was able to float herself back to her ship, went and killed herself by simply reaching out with the force to say her sons name to him at a pivotal moment. It just felt weak and pointless and almost like a waste of a great character arc. 

Now we also see a lot of other bad uses of the force in this movie too. For example, lets touch upon the subject of Rey. I know this is a bit controversial because as soon as I say something bad about Rey, everyones going to jump on me and say I’m just a sexist hater. But let’s be honest… a lot of the complaints about Rey, especially when it comes to her and the force, are entirely true. I mean in the first movie she was in with no training whatsoever, and we see her pulling off feats that Luke couldn’t even do until he had been with Yoda for a while. I mean let’s be honest, most of Luke’s force powers in the first movie were just him concentrating to fire the shots that killed the death star and block a few drone blaster bolts while being trained. Yet here we are in the third movie and we see Rey just spontaneously learning Force Healing. Until now, we had only seen Force Healing in The Mandalorian Disney+ show. As far as we know Luke didn’t know Force Healing or teach her Force Healing. In this galaxy, there is no Cilghal to teach Luke that we know of. So the question is how did Rey learn such a hard force power? When did she Learn this? Why does this not put huge strain on her? We see her heal a huge snake thing and it doesn’t seem to take much out of her even though she is using the Force to push some of her own life energy into it to heal it rapidly. For those that had read the Legend books of Star Wars, you know Force Healing wasn’t an instantaneous thing, it was more of a bandaid to help with regular healing. In Mando we see Baby Yoda do it and instantly pass out. But Rey does it twice, once to the Snake thing but then again to heal Kylo from where she skewered him with a lightsaber…what seemed like it would be a deadly wound otherwise. When she does this it doesn’t seem to really affect her all that much. I mean I know baby yoda is a baby and all but he is also 50 years old in a race that as far as we know is extremely force sensitive if Yoda and Yaddle are representative of the race. Let’s also mention that somehow Ben learns force heal after having it used on him once and knows it good enough to basically sacrifice his own life to bring Rey back from death.

So let’s move on from the healing but keep with the whole god modding on the force powers. Force Teleport? So I had to look this up because as well read I am in Star Wars I did not really remember this as something that had been a thing. It turns out that it was in books that are now part of the Star Wars Legends. So while looking it up it seems that while a rare ability many characters have been known to teleport, themselves, not objects. Though this brings up the question with seeing Force Slow in Jedi Fallen Order did these people actually teleport since it was never too terribly far or did they just use a huge burst of Force Slow to move somewhere else faster than the eye could see. Considering Disney and LucasFilm don’t seem keen on exploring the new powers except to just have them happen I doubt that we’ll get an answer here. This however, was teleporting themselves and not objects so I looked deeper and a google search did bring up even rarer circumstances of this power called Fold Space which was taught to Luke Skywalker and Ben Skywalker in the Legends books. We have to remember though that in the new continuity Luke didn’t have those adventures with Ben, he was hidden and a hermit for a long time so I highly doubt he found the race known as the Aing-Tii to learn this from. So where did Jacen learn this? Did he even learn it or do they just say connecting to each other with visions is enough to do this now? This is a very cheap workaround to something that could have been done without breaking the already established Force rules that were still cannon after the Legends books were made non-cannon. I mean in Empire Strikes Back, Luke called for Leia after his hand was chopped off and Leia led the Falcon right to him, why can’t this be how Kylo knew she was at the festival and how he knew she was in his room. It makes a lot more sense and can be explained away better than the whole “Oh hey this fell through the Force to me physically.” Yes I know this means they would have had to rewrite the end fight scene to do something else and you know what I would be perfectly fine with that. Kylo having an actual fight with the Knights where he disarms one and uses his weapon against them all would have made much more sense to me than the whole teleport thing and I think would be a bit more satisfying. To me this was just lazy writing.

Now we move on to another force power oddity in the movie. Palpatine and Force Lightning. We see Palpatine back and very Zombie-looking. I was kinda disappointed about him being back but only because in episodes VII and VIII they never made any real connection to him or him surviving the fall in the Death Star so for him to just appear out of nowhere in Episode IX to me is just a huge plot hole but this is one I can kinda forgive whereas his Force Lightning powers bug me quite a bit. I get the whole Force Lightning thing it makes sense but in this movie they both God-Mode it and then Nerf it back to normal all within the space of minutes. I mean what’s the limits of this power here really? At one moment you have Palpatine firing the Force Lightning into the sky to bring down the electronics of the entire rebel fleet, like literally hundreds of starships miles up are being shut down. Then next thing we see is him turn Force Lightning on Rey and it can’t even break through a block by two crossed lightsabers. There is absolutely no consistency here. I mean if something can do what it did to the ships then it should have no problem with a couple of crossed lightsabers right? And if you imply it is because Rey is so strong in the force that just goes to prove my point about her being god modded!

As I alluded to in the last paragraph, I can live with Palpatine being back but I do think that if this was the plan all along that they should have somehow referenced him in the prior two movies a little to kinda pave the way for the reveal. This is one of those cases of this reveal being like an RKO from Randy Orton in the case that it comes from “Out of Nowhere!” and another thing that came from out of nowhere was Rey’s Parentage. Sure there were fan theories that Palpatine and Rey were somehow related but there were also theories that she was somehow a Skywalker or Solo or even a Kenobi. The problem is there were literally no real clues to her true parentage in the previous movies. There are also no clues anywhere in any of the movies that Palpatine had ever procreated so until this movie there is literally no link to even bring this to mind in any way. I mean thanks to some of the Star Wars cartoons there is at least a connection that could explain her being a Kenobi and if they did anything from the books they could have also found a way to make her an actual Skywalker or Solo…in fact the whole her and Kylo being a duality in the force would have made a LOT more sense if they had gone the Jacen and Jaina route from the Legends books instead of tossing it all away for what they did use. To me a good rule of thumb when working on a trilogy or even a big saga would be when you get to the end make sure things connect back to the previous movies, books whatever medium you’re telling the story in. However for the most part this final movie in the Skywalker Saga just went and decided to add a bunch of new things in that don’t tie to anything that was told before.

Now here’s another little problem I have with the movie and this is for all the LGBT people out there as well as all the Finn fans out there. What the hell is their problem with giving Finn some sort of love interest? There was a huge cry from the LGBT community for Finn and Poe to be an official couple and honestly, I could easily see that, to me it worked. Another that could have worked was Finn and Rose together considering their story in Episode VIII. Yet in Episode IX we see Finn alone and pining for Rey. What’s worse is we don’t even get this romance to have any closure. Poor Finn is most likely going to go to his grave alone, unless he hooks up with that new ex-stormtrooper girl that they found. However with how things have gone so far, I doubt he’ll even be that lucky. So they pass over Finn and Poe which could have been a major on screen pairing for the LGBT community that a lot of fans would have been behind and instead they decide to give the LGBT community a half second glimpse of two women kissing at the end while everyone celebrates. Yup that shows how progressive Star Wars has become, it’s kinda sad that the books have done what the movies couldn’t, but then again books have always been a bit more progressive than movies. J.J. also just seems to have it out for the main three in this story when it comes to Romance which is a shame. I mean No Finn and Poe, no Poe and Bliss, Finn tries to tell Rey he loves her and then never does, and last but not least Ben dies after he kisses Rey. No romance for this group and I guess no way to continue their story for the next generation of Star Wars fans if they don’t have a next generation of their own. I guess this kinda forces them to go into a new direction if they want to keep in this part and timeline but not have the Skywalkers as the main protagonists anymore. While we’re on the subject of romance though deng was the ending a kick in the balls for Ben wasn’t it. Rey says she would have liked to take his hand as Ben not as Kylo, she kisses him and then he dies. Then when all is said and done and she goes to Luke’s old home to take over I guess instead of telling the woman she was a Solo which would have made sense with her seemingly being in love with Ben somehow instead she says she is a Skywalker, which is like the one name of three she had the absolute least ties to claim in my opinion.

The last thing I’ll comment on as it’s taking me way too long to finish this blog and I want to get it up and it’s been a few weeks now since I saw the movie…. This goes back to the not understanding how the tech works. This is all about the lightsabers and how sometimes they seem to cut everything and sometimes they just kinda don’t. Now I’ll admit I may have miss seen some of these but the biggest glaring one was in the beginning of the movie when Kylo is attacking people looking for the map to the planet where he finds Palpatine. In this scene he appears to use his lightsaber to basically give someone a Rock Bottom (if you don’t know what that is give it a look in you tube) now he doesn’t go across the guys shoulder but does a lightsaber across the gut. It looks like the lightsaber blade is buried across the body and Kylo picks the guy up and slams him to the ground. Problem is if he was using the lightsaber it should have just cleaved the guy in two. Later in the movie you see Kylo do a backhand grip on his lightsaber so the blade goes up the back of his arm. If you look at it as it lights it looks like the weird cross-hilt of his should have impaled his arm but somehow he pulled it off which honestly I think is a failure of the graphics and stunt department. They should have had him working it without the cross-hilts turned on.

Anyway that’s enough ranting for now I think. I’ll probably do some more once I buy it on Blu-Ray. Yeah I’ll be buying it so I have the entire collection of movies on disc I enjoyed it enough to keep collecting but not enough to not complain. So did you guys have these same problems? Different problems? Think I’m overreacting on these? Let me hear from you below as we love to hear your thoughts!

1 thought on “ATG Movie Review/Rant: Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

  1. I stiiiiill haven’t seen Episode IX. I read the first paragraph of this review and stopped there. I’l come back to it after I do eventually sit through the flick.

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