STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER *SPOILER REVIEW*

J.J. Abrams’ latest installment in his Star Wars trilogy hit the theaters over Christmas break and I was surprisingly pleased. Despite my misgivings about the previous episode “The Last Jedi,” I found myself anxiously waiting to see how Disney would be able to wrap up a story of this magnitude without doing a disservice to the fans or leaving out crucial details in the process.

These concerns of mine were quickly swept away as I heard Palpatine’s resurrected laugh and his sneer at Kylo Ren with a quick line of, “My boy, I made Snoke. I have been every voice, you have ever heard, inside your head.” This scene highlighted the Emperor’s power and the massive stakes of the film.

A powerful villain sets the stage for an even greater hero, so I was excited to see the Emperor prepared for a fight with a full fleet of Star Destroyers. Palpatine’s presence made the movie feel more official, and his evil intentions mixed with his dark history made him the perfect villain to tie this trilogy to George Lucas’ last two. 

The most surprising and entertaining part of the movie was finding out that Rey is the granddaughter of Palpatine, which left everyone gasping with emotion and shock as she blew up a First Order ship with her newfound force lightning abilities. Captivating scenes like this allowed me to enjoy the film without looking too deeply into it. I didn’t think the story had any big plot holes and didn’t walk away with any unanswered questions. 

I would rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars because I liked the action scenes and the focus on fan service; however, it still wasn’t a perfect movie in my eyes, so I just couldn’t give it the 5-star rating.

I decided to go around St. X in search of what true fans around campus thought, and in doing so I found four individuals who considered themselves to be true fans of the franchise. Each had his own opinion on the latest installment. The first person I talked with, a life-long Star Wars fan, started off our conversation by saying, “I was excited that Palpatine was coming back but I was disappointed in bringing him all the way back.

Coach Jefferson:

“I did not like the return of Emperor Palpatine as a live villain. I was very excited to know that Palpatine was coming back, in regards to you could hear his voice or even visually see him the wake Luke Skywalker used to see the visions of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the idea that Palpatine could come back in a way that they had to kill him again and that Palpatine was raising a ghost army was very far-fetched.”

I overall liked the nice happy ending where you saw some of the older people kind of come back, some of the old rebel fighters. I don’t know if some people saw that but some of those actual ones that were in the original Star Wars, I loved that, but bringing people back from the dead is just far fetched for me.

He also said that the scene of Rey resurrecting Kylo Ren by placing her hand over his wound, “really ruined things for me there.

He tried to have an open mind going into it, but he felt Disney needed to improve from “The Last Jedi”.

I felt the story of the Last Jedi was very poor; I did not like that they killed Snoke right away, and the scene where Princess Leia floats out in space really soured me on the entire thing. I know Star Wars is technically unrealistic, but even for science fiction, human beings cannot float in outer space.

My last question was his rating of the film out of 5 stars, and his review was mixed, saying, “Because I like Star Wars, the whole saga, I give it a 2.5 stars; I’d give it a 1.5 if we were talking about “The Last Jedi”, to me a 2 star is a poor movie, so I gave it an average score. I’d see it again.

I then had a conversation with another life-long fan from the Mathematics department who had an opposite reaction after viewing the latest release.

Mr. Smith:

I go into all the movies very open-minded, I went into ‘The Last Jedi’ very open-minded and I enjoyed ‘The Last Jedi’ and I enjoyed that it felt different. I know a lot of people did not like ‘The Last Jedi’. I won’t say it’s my favorite, but I thought it advanced the story. So I went into ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ thinking ‘how do you wrap up a story this monumental?’ So I was like ‘bring it, tell me what the story is. I’m not telling you what the story is’, so I looked forward to it.”

“I liked the idea that not only are we following the Skywalker hero story, but also that it is basically the same villain the entire time. That surprised me, I will say, but once again I kind of think the storytellers can do what they want — it’s their story to tell. I won’t say I was like ‘Oh yes! Bring him back!’ but I thought, how are they gonna make sense?, and I think J.J. Abrams and the screenwriter made sense to me. Nothing in the movie made me go, ‘Now holdup’. I was like, ‘Ok, I see what you’re doing there.’”

I then asked him what impressed him the most about the film and about how they would end the story of Carrie Fisher, who has played Princess Leia since 1977’s “A New Hope” and tragically passed away in December of 2016, during post production of “The Last Jedi”. 

One thing that really impressed and concerned me was how they were going to handle Carrie Fisher. Because they had to use stock footage and they said they were only going to use lines that were recorded from her and I’m like ‘okay, so is it gonna feel inorganic?’ You could tell it wasn’t quite as contextual, but I thought it fit.

I then asked him for his review of the film out of 5 stars from a fan’s perspective.

I would say a 4.5 stars as far as serving the story and serving the fans. It’s not perfect, but I left feeling good about the story. If I can leave the movie feeling satisfied with how the movie has ended then that’s good stuff.

In my next conversation I spoke with Senior Kyle Murphy, who also had plenty of things to say about what he liked and disliked about the film.

Murphy:

I thought it was cool that Rey and Kylo Ren had the ability to interact with each other, but the romance between them was definitely forced…

“I thought it was important to show the power that Rey had and that she could use the Sith power, but at the same time, you could do it a different way that doesn’t fake-kill-off Chewy.”

I then asked him what he hopes to see in the future from Disney’s future Star Wars films.

“I wanna see something with BB-W before the New Republic, so like a prequel to the prequel.”

“I think Rey should get the purple saber because she uses the forces and the Sith a little bit when you think about it.”

When it came to his rating, he said, “I thought it was a good movie, I thought it was the best of the trilogy and I’d probably give it a 4.3.”

My last conversation was with Senior Henry Putney, who has been a Star Wars fan his entire life and was very excited heading into the release. I asked him to share his experience in the theater and his opinion of Palpatine returning.

Putney:

“Palpatine was so creepy and his lines were so iconic it gave me goosebumps. He was exactly what this movie needed to recover from the last movie’s failures.”

“I liked the side characters like Poe and Finn, their scenes really made the movie for me.”

“I liked hearing the voices of all the past Jedi through Rey; it really showed her strength with the force and I thought that was important.”

Regarding his rating, he said, “I would give the movie a 5-star rating because it was the best of the trilogy and it was really enjoyable to watch.”