The Rise of Skywalker failed to gain audiences’ approval

The Rise of Skywalker, directed by J.J. Abrams, is the last movie in the Skywalker saga. After the incredibly divisive effect that Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi had on Star Wars fans, the ninth and final film succeeds in reuniting it – by being universally acknowledged as disappointing. The plot was a mess, the characters were uninteresting and the constant unraveling of the previous movies made it hard to accept this one as part of the same universe.

Palpatine is back. He survived being thrown down a shaft and blown up, and now he has a fleet of mini death stars. This is the way The Rise of Skywalker begins, setting a precedent for the bizarre story choices that are revealed as the plot progresses. The adventure kicks off when Poe Dameron announces to the Resistance that “somehow, Palpatine returned” (actual quote). Everyone puts on their best shocked face, and Rey leaves to find a thing, which leads to another thing, which leads to a map that leads her to Palpatine. Along the way, they discover many new places and people, none of which have any relevance to the overall story. The finale is so similar to Avengers: Endgame that it’s almost pathetic, and it’s much less satisfying or fun.

 As someone who strongly disliked The Last Jedi, I did find the way The Rise of Skywalker continuously threw shade at the eighth movie’s decisions to be pretty entertaining. From Luke’s attitude toward his lightsaber, to the “Holdo Maneuver” being a one in a million chance, to the full truth of Rey’s lineage, it was obvious that there was no real plan for the sequel trilogy, or communication between directors, from the beginning. The not-so-subtle tug of war over Star Wars between Abrams and Johnson within Episode 9 is really funny to watch. However, the retconning of the original films was less humorous and more painful. Palpatine’s return undermines the entire ending of the original trilogy, and the new force heal raises many questions about its lack of use before this film. Almost every beloved character from the originals is dead, replaced by less interesting copies.

There were a few things I genuinely enjoyed in the movie. Palpatine’s introduction was suitably creepy and in-character. I actually thought the force link between Rey and Kylo was really interesting and well-done. I could accept it as an extremely rare occurrence, and the fight between the two of them, where they constantly switched surroundings, was my favorite scene of the sequels. However, the bad in The Rise of Skywalker vastly outweighs the good. As the finale of one of the most loved and famous movie series of all time, it should have been made with much more care and effort than it was. I would give it two out of five stars.