TL;dnr for those who don’t want massive spoilers: whether you did or didn’t like the first two of the new trilogy, this one probably won’t change your mind.
The following is based on a quick write-up I did for the people I saw Rise Of The Skywalker with (a few weeks ago, man I take ages to post these things), and a couple of others I knew had seen it. Expect a whole spoiler soup to follow.
When I went in, I’d heard Rise Of The Skywalker was a disjointed mess, so my expectations weren’t very high. It turns out it actually worked, and told a coherent story. I’d expected it to be a case of ‘nothing actually happens’ (as another, slightly more famous-than-me writer once put it ‘tales, told by an idiot, filled with sound and fury yet signifying nothing.), but stuff happened.
There were parts that were good, parts that were bad, and parts that were controversial; I’m going to go over a few of those.
Seeing thousands of Star Destroyers at once was awesome. And these can actually destroy stars! (Well, planets.)
The cavalry ride across a Star Destroyer was awesome. Rule of cool, man, rule of cool.
I did notice a couple of times that they went to a planet, and met up with a few locals, who said ‘you are not alone’, and they turned out to be The Mast—sorry, they joined the heroes. I started thinking that’d be a theme of the movie before the climax came, so I wasn’t as bugged by that as one of my fellow watchers was. (Which is not to say it couldn’t have been done better.) Also, what was the puppet show the little kids were watching? Could it have been Luke throwing Palpatine into the Death Star shaft? (I’m really asking; I don’t know.) If it is, it does set up that the legend is known and inspirational across the Galaxy.
I didn’t like the symbolism of the good guys winning by castrating the Star Destroyers (c’mon… that had to be deliberate!).
Not to mention that a single snub fighter can now take out a Star Destroyer.
Ren’s sudden ability to teleport thing across interstellar distances is a bit out-of-nowhere, and a game-changer. But it’s been pointed out there was a scene in The Last Jedi where they come away from one of their sessions and they’re both wet or something; or where he runs into her on Tatooine, and then Wayne Campbell wakes up and spills sand across his bed and says ‘cool’.
I didn’t like the smoke in the theatre, though it did enhance some of the battle scenes
Leia’s death was lame. Why should she be so wrapped up in her son (who, when was the last time she even saw him?) that she dies just because he dies. Lame.
I didn’t mind the revelation about Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter. It wrapped up her story except that it did mean Palpatine got laid after the melting scene in Revenge Of The Sith (it had to be after that, or the timing of ages doesn’t work, right?). Who wants to think about that? (If you know the answer, please, don’t tell me.)
There were a couple of things that I thought could’ve been solved better – 3PO can’t translate the Sith language; but he can remember what’s written on the dagger. So, get him to write it down in Sith (even if he’s just drawing characters that mean nothing to him), and find somebody else who can translate! Nobody has to have their mind wiped!
They’ve got, like, a backjillion flying ships. So why take a puny skiff across seas that make Portugal look placid? Really? (Also, I hadn’t realised Ren was actually on the moon with Rey during that battle; they’d had so many across-the-stars meetings that I assumed this has been one of them. Maybe I missed his ship landing?)
The lightsabres started to get confusing; which is which, how many are there? Which one’s the gold one? I’m confused!
I’m not sure what I thought of the spy being revealed then immediately, the Imperials figured it out. I did like his reasons (I want Ren to lose!), but I didn’t like the way he told us them (felt like he was answering a statement nobody had made).
Star Wars is famously about bringing Buddhism to the masses; therefore, none. Really, it (Since Lucas was willing and able to do that with Buddhism, he could’ve been able to bring Christian thought as well, so I won’t accept ‘it’s an alien culture’ as a cop-out here. Of course, there was no obligation or expectation that he would.)
I think Rise Of The Skywalker is a good movie; while it’s far from perfect, it ties up the Sequel Trilogy well, and overall does its job. It doesn’t live up to the Original Trilogy, but for my buck, no movie does – not even The Princess Bride. So, it’s decent and worth watching, and will finish the series for you.