Star Wars: The rise of mediocrity

JJ Abrams helms the finale of the Skywalker saga with love… and technical difficulties

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a messy movie, but it’s a movie with heart. It’s almost impressive how it balances being nearly incomprehensible and yet a satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.

The elements of The Rise of Skywalker that didn’t sit well were technical, which is surprising considering Star Wars is a multibillion-dollar franchise, giving it the ability to hire the best in the industry to improve every aspect of the film. The editing was choppy to a point where it ruined the emotional value of its scenes. The pacing was too fast, with each scene jumping to the next leaving the audience without time to breathe. I didn’t feel as though I was even spending time with the characters, which is a large part of why most people are there. However, the screenplay is where everything went wrong from the start.

Much of the dialogue was so overly-expository to a point where I kind of feel bad for the cast. But these talented actors were forced to say these simplistic, explanatory lines because of the greatest flaw of the film: it was not related to its previous two films enough that anything in the film felt warranted. Its major plot points and McGuffins (physical objects used as plot devices) seemed like they were made up on the spot with no connection to the rest of the trilogy. It made the film feel poorly thought out and lazy.

There was a surplus of “crisis” moments where it seemed like all was lost for a character, then whatever went wrong was almost immediately corrected a few minutes later, taking away from any genuine drama or investment. In simple terms, it felt cheap. Star Wars is all about the characters, their journey and their struggle with the light and dark forces of life. It’s hard to do that when you fill the movie with unnecessary action, unrealistic dialogue, poor writing and an editor who cuts every scene like it’s a Transformers movie.

That said, the film managed to find ways to save itself. Rey has excellent character development as she struggles with her past and her relationship with the force. The emotion that her character brought to the film felt deserved since it was properly established in earlier films. Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron and Finn had fairly good development as well and brought tension, charm, humour and spirit to the story. They’re interesting enough to keep you invested, and the relationships between each character redeem the film for me. On an emotional level, it’s like the fundamental ideas were there, but were assembled together so poorly at every stage of production.

At heart, The Rise of Skywalker is an emotional movie for die-hard Star Wars fans. A fan’s love for and devotion to Star Wars and its characters save the film, but it’s a film that would not work if it didn’t have “Star Wars” in the title. Its flaws are really integrated into the film and the trilogy, but the characters were well-developed and fun to be around.

Watch it if you’re a Star Wars fan, or even if you just like the new trilogy, but if Star Wars isn’t your thing, then don’t bother. Its appeal comes from its fan service.

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