Fan Driven Narrative Lets the Franchise Down
Cartoonish and absurd, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is the film that fans demanded but not the one the franchise deserves.
After the fanboy backlash associated with director Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi,” J. J. Abrams stepped in to helm the final installment in the new trilogy. Also known as “Episode IX,” “The Rise of Skywalker” picks up right after the epic defeat of the First Order. The Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher, using unreleased footage from “The Force Awakens”), is continuing their fight. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the Supreme Leader of the First Order, is searching for a magical way-finder device to lead him to the mysterious Sith headquarters.
Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley), the last Jedi, trains under the tutelage of Leia. Rey and Ren continue to engage in their mind-link love affair, as Ren’s murderous rampage leaves stacks of bodies in its wake. Naturally, Rey decides to search for the way-finder, as well, and with her is crack pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), and series regular Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).
The race to locate the way-finder is on. In addition to combating the Empire, the goal of the Resistance is to prevent the rise of a Sith new wave, suitably dubbed “The Final Order.” And the Sith leader, a resurgent Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), has secret plans for Rey and Ren.
An unapologetic space opera, “The Rise of Skywalker” introduces an extensive collection of characters and plot elements, many of which are just plain silly. One thread concerns Finn, and a relationship with another orphan turned former stormtrooper, marooned on a planet covered mostly with water. This “Lord of the Flies” grouping has the inhabitants riding alien horses that ridiculously factor in later.
Read Jonathan’s full review online and in print in the Times-Herald: https://times-herald.com/news/2019/12/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker