I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This …

Prahalad Chari, Broadcast Manager

Star Wars. This name strikes joy into the hearts of most people. With its dazzling lightsabers, futuristic technology, a mysterious Force, and quirky characters with unique designs, what’s not to love? Well, Disney has just the thing. The latest Star Wars movie, Rise of Skywalker, was one of the worst ones in the franchise and was not worth watching at all.

Most good Star Wars movies have one thing in common: they are extremely powerful and impart the viewers with many meaningful themes and the scenes imprint themselves into the audience’s minds. In “The Empire Strikes Back”, when Han Solo was frozen, many viewers were left distraught and had to come to terms with the fact that heroes CAN die. This strong shift in the viewer’s mindset is what sets this movie far apart from others. However, in this movie, powerful moments and themes were just washed over and undone, ruining the significance of the movie. Starting with one of the most shocking moments in the film – Chewbacca’s “death”. If the Wookie had indeed been killed by Rey’s Force Lightning, it would have deepened her conflict between the Light and the Dark side, leading to an actually complex main character (something the latest films have been lacking). This would have served to not only humanize Rey by taking her down from her pedestal of perfection but would have also pushed the plot in a new and promising direction because nobody is purely light or dark. Naturally, this move could have upset fans of Chewbacca, however, one needs to realize that heroes can’t stay alive forever, and that applies to Chewie too. Also, the payoff of changing up the norm would far outweigh the loss of a supporting character. Speaking of, supporting characters’ losses, C3PO’s memory loss was also an extremely powerful moment that was played off as a joke. C3PO has been present for the whole series and has memories dating back to even the Clone Wars. In a way, C3PO is the walking archive of the entire franchise, and when he says “I’m taking a last look at my friends,” it is an extremely powerful and heart wrenching moment. Then all the others shrug over this comment and make a joke before wiping his memory without hesitation. If this powerful moment wasn’t just glossed over, then the movie would have meaning. What’s worse is that C3PO didn’t even actually lose his memory as R2-D2 backed it up almost instantaneously. So all of this dramatic build up was for nothing. And while we’re on the topic of buildup, the whole theme of The Last Jedi was that anyone could use the Force and that its powers aren’t tied to a specific bloodline. To prove this point, they had a boy use the force to pick up a broom and they had Rey’s parents be nobodies. The message of an egalitarian Force is a very beautiful one and it was thoroughly squelched in The Rise of Skywalker by having Rey’s parents actually be Palpatines, and completely ignoring the young boy. In the movie, the only people who wield the force are now just the Skywalkers and Palpatines which sends the message that the force is only for a select elite.

The only thing worse than the weak messages put forth by the movie is the way it ended the trilogy. Looking at the ending of the movie, one cant help but feel a sense of deja vu. That’s because the ending was literally a copy of the ending in Avengers Endgame. When all hope seemed lost for the few protagonists all their allies from all over the universe used some sort of teleportation mechanism (be it Dr. Strange’s gates or a hyperspace jump) to magically arrive at the same place and pull off a miracle; they somehow defeat the seemingly overpowered evil forces and save the day. But what really sealed the deal on making this a ripoff was Rey’s quote “I am all the Jedi” which was eerily similar to when Thanos said “I am inevitable”. Both of these nearly identical quotes were said right before they defeated the main villain, so they were also said at nearly the identical moments. By having the same ending as Endgame, Rise of Skywalker played into something that most people have seen before and thus made the ending extremely boring. A boring ending is not the way to end a trilogy and considering that this movie signified an end of the old generation of force users, the ending should have been a lot more innovative, or at least just not a blatant ripoff. Playing deeper into cliches, this movie also attempted to have a romantic ending where Rey and Kylo Ren kiss at the end of the movie. This kiss had no buildup whatsoever and it was just weird. Who in their right mind would kiss someone when that person was trying to kill them just a few days ago? Luckily the poor cinematography at the end made it hard to see any of this nonsense. The ending scenes had so many quick cuts and bright flashes that it made the scenes hard to follow, and it even warranted an epilepsy warning. If a movie has to put in an epilepsy warning, you know that there is too much flashiness. 

This movie tries to be brave but falls back on old villains, tropes from other movies, and it is too afraid to kill wookies and reboot robots. Ultimately, for a movie franchise about facing fear, it fails the test.