Thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker (Spoilers)

For those of you who haven’t seen The Rise of Skywalker yet, I’ll just say that I didn’t love it or hate it; it was a pretty mixed bag of good and bad.  For those of you who have seen it, keep reading for my reflections.

ROS thin

As I was leaving the theater, one question kept knocking around in my head:

Was this how fans felt upon seeing Return of the Jedi in theaters?

I was not yet born when ROTJ came out; I didn’t see it until the 90s when I was about 9 years old, and it quickly became my favorite Star Wars movie.  I guess it is still my favorite!  It has so much going for it visually with its settings, dramatically with its characters, and thematically with its message of redemption through love.

But how must people have felt their first time seeing it, after years of build up, anticipating an end to a groundbreaking trilogy?

Perhaps they were expecting a badass bounty hunter in Boba Fett, and they got…a guy who fell in the Sarlaac.  Perhaps they were expecting an epic battle between the Empire and Rebels, and they got…Ewoks.  Perhaps they were expecting a crafty, visionary villain, and they got the Emperor…who made another Death Star?  Plus there is a detour back to Tatooine, a sibling relationship that comes nearly out of nowhere, and let’s not even mention the terrible dialogue.  We made fun of Leia’s “Hold me” line mercilessly even when we were kids.

I had the benefit of taking all of these plot points for granted when I saw the movie.  I had no expectations otherwise.  Luke and Leia had been established siblings for a decade by the time I saw ROTJ.  I just loved the Ewoks, and the stunning locations, and the excellent pacing of the third act battle.

But now I am understanding better how the original viewers of ROTJ may have seen it; maybe it was similar to the way I experienced ROS this weekend.

There were some very good things about the movie.  I really appreciated the cinematography, John Williams’ excellent score, the interactions of our main trio of Poe, Finn, and Rey, and especially Adam Driver’s acting performance.  Right from the start there were a lot of moments when I was excited about the movie and thought “This is really great.”  I especially enjoyed the climatic scene where Rey channels all the Jedi that have come before; it was impressive both visually and thematically.  (And it reminded me a bit of Avatar and Legend of Korra.)

Image result for rey lightsaber episode 9
Rey’s character arc had a strong finish.

However, this was conterbalanced by many points where I was sitting there thinking, “This is really dumb.”  Almost nothing about the plot made sense.  The Emperor never died! We need to find a clue, that leads to a thing, that leads to a place!  All the ships are now like Death Stars!  Not to mention that the main revelation hinges on the idea that someone actually had sex with Palpatine.

BEFORE he got all wrinkly, my husband said.

It doesn’t matter, I said.

So, in short, I had a hard time getting over the stupid premise to appreciate the good things about the movie. Maybe in future years, after more viewings, I will be able to let go of my expectations and come to feel fondly about it in the same way I feel about ROTJ.  I hope so.  I am still a Star Wars fan, but perhaps that means something a little different as I get older.

Did you guys also have mixed feelings about the movie?  Feel free to give your opinions in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker (Spoilers)

  1. Overly Devoted Archivist December 23, 2019 / 4:08 pm

    I’m sort of leaning towards the idea that maaaaaybe no-one actually, uh, had to get busy with Palpatine. Maybe it was some sort of midicholarian-related Force nonsense that created the kid that eventually created Rey, similar to how Anakin was conceived. But oh man I wish they’d gone into it even a little, I’m baffled as to why they didn’t. “Oh yeah the Emperor had at least one son” is a HUGE revelation to drop last-minute with no build-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei December 23, 2019 / 9:25 pm

      Yeahhh, let’s go with your theory! It is implied that he had a hand in creating Anakin throught the Force, so maybe he did that again. Plus they definitely seem technologically advanced enough to have IVF or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. starwarsanon December 23, 2019 / 8:13 pm

    Oh thank you so much for bringing up those ROTJ thoughts. Because I was thinking the same thing but it’s so hard for me to separate it out since, like you, I saw it when everything was already established. But you’re right… The sibling relationship did come out of nowhere. And the death star was recreated. And ewoks are not very climatic. Maybe this will help me in the second viewing… But yeah I do think I’ll have trouble with the emperor being alive with no other hint of him in the first 2 movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei December 23, 2019 / 9:37 pm

      My husband was more positive about it because he was able to overlook the stupidity of the premise. Or rather, he saw “B movie” aspect as being actually rather Star Wars-y. I’m not quite there yet haha.


      • starwarsanon December 23, 2019 / 9:45 pm

        Oh I’m definitely not there yet! I’ll have to watch it some more. I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of TFA after my first viewing. I was very skeptical. But then I grew to love it and overlooked its flaws. So we’ll see

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bekah Irwin December 31, 2019 / 11:06 am

    I always try to watch each new movie with no expectations at all. I try to put myself in the same mindset I was in when I watched the first Star Wars movie for the first time. It is my honest belief that Star Wars is not for adults and never has been. It’s for the kid in all of us and as long as I watch the movies with the eyes and heart of a child, I will always enjoy them, no matter what.

    On a more analytical note, the fact that Palpatine didn’t die doesn’t shock me entirely considering he made a whole speech about discovering the way to cheat death in RotS. And from a logical standpoint in view of Palpatine’s pride, it makes sense that he would keep trying the “planet killer” idea until it finally worked. Honestly, knowing that Palpatine was behind Starkiller Base made me more forgiving/understanding of the “repeat” of a planet killer as a weapon. I mean, if I had a brilliant idea that kept getting thwarted, I would keep trying it and improving on it until it worked! Edison only developed the lightbulb after failing hundreds of times. Perhaps the repetition is less appealing in a narrative, but it is very realistic and logical.

    All that to say, though, I never expect the best of film to come out of Star Wars. I expect to be whisked away to other planets, to meet new friends, to be amazed and inspired, and to come out of the theater wishing I could be a Jedi and fight for the rebellion. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei January 1, 2020 / 11:12 pm

      Wow, good thoughts all. I also try to go into movies without expectations, but somehow this time I just couldn’t. I’m guessing because I experienced Endgame since TFA and TLJ, I was subconsciously expecting that same kind of payoff here. But the series build up just wasn’t there like in the MCU. So instead, we just got a decent movie.

      Liked by 1 person

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