Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Wick's Review

Created Dec 29, 2019 09:14AM PST • Edited Jan 19, 2020 06:02PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Good 3.0

    The Rise of Skywalker echoes past Star Wars, weakly if assiduously. It’s more a forced march through a hero’s journey than a rollicking adventure. Even its surprises don’t much surprise, being echoes of great surprises from previous episodes. Worse, the echoes also extend to the characters populating the drama.

    To wit, a cast full of weak links echoes the cast and characters from the original trilogy. Even more, this finale of the third trilogy of the Star Wars saga doubles down on the core faults of Episodes VII & VIII.

    • Darth Vader’s weak echo: Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren doesn’t deserve to wear the cape of the greatest villain in movie history. To be cape worthy, he’s gotta keep the helmet on, as noted after his first appearance. His darthness disappears when it’s off. Sadly, he barely wears the helmet at all in Episode IX. By comparison, Darth Vader only appeared without his helmet once, because he’d famously die without it. Well, Kylo Ren also dies without his helmet, dramatically speaking.
    • Less Leia, please: Carrie Fisher was wooden when alive. Undeterred, Star Wars IX uses pre-mortem footage of her, which is kinda weird. Plus, she has more lines in IX than in the trilogy that made her legend. More lines for Carrie Fisher is not a good thing. Act, she cannot. There is no try.
    • Daisy doesn’t dazzle: Rey Skywalker gets more screen time in Episode IX than Luke Skywalker got in Episodes IV, V, VI, VII, VIII or IX, or so it seems. She’s a more interesting character than he was, especially as played by Daisy Ridley, who is much more charismatic than Mark Hamill. But Harrison Ford she’s not. Let’s put it this way, Hamill never did much other than Star Wars, whereas Ridley will, but she’s unlikely to carry other major movies. IOW, Harrison Ford she’s not.

    Now that the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies is done, four decades after it began in an era far, far away from 2019, it’s clear that the premier trilogy from the Seventies and Eighties was by far the best, followed by this now concluded third trilogy, with the opening trilogy lagging far, far behind. Looking ahead, Star Wars offshoots still hold promise, hit or miss propositions though they’ve been. As for the original, the rise of The Force is done and its echos are weakening. Like an old soldier, it’s fading away before our very eyes.

  3. OK 2.5

    Daisy Ridley emerges from the final Star Wars trilogy elevated to movie stardom, pretty much the only major cast member who came out better than they went in. Her Rey Skywalker is the best Jedi knight ever.

    Oscar Isaac emerges none the worse for wear. His swashbuckling Poe Dameron is Han Solo worthy.

    • Carrie Fisher reanimates as Princess Leia. Well, kinda reanimates. Details in the Summary above.
    • Mark Hamill cameos as a doleful Luke Skywalker.
    • Adam Driver gets major screentime as Kylo Ren / Ben Solo, unfortunately. Details above.
    • John Boyega continues his welcome presence as Finn, if not the bright star that Daisy Ridley is.
    • Anthony Daniels’ C3PO remains one of cinema’s most beloved characters.
    • Domhnall Gleeson & Richard E. Grant acquit themselves well as evil generals.
    • Lupita Nyong’o lends her modified voice to an animated character. Nice work if you can get it.
    • Keri Russell is in there somewhere.
    • Joonas Suotamo took over the Chewbacca costume.
    • Kelly Marie disappoints as Tran, after a charming debut in Episode VIII.
    • Ian McDiarmid returns as Emperor Palpatine, one the great villains in movie history.
      The old man’s still got it.
    • Billy Dee Williams mugs his way through a few scenes.
    • Harrison Ford can let Han Solo go now.
  4. Male Stars OK 2.5

    Oscar Isaac – very good
    John Boyega – good
    Adam Driver – bad

  5. Female Stars OK 2.5

    Daisy Ridley – great
    Carrie Fisher – pretty bad

  6. Female Costars OK 2.5
  7. Male Costars OK 2.5
  8. Good 3.0
  9. Direction OK 2.5
  10. Play OK 2.5
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.8
  15. Sex Innocent 1.4
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.4
  18. Fantasy 4.6
  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 3.9
  20. Biological Fantasy 5.0
  21. Physical Fantasy 5.0

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