Here we are, folks. The end of Star Wars…again...for the third time. But this is THE big finale! I know you're here for one thing: to know if it's good or not. Well, is it? No. No, it's not.
You’re still here and not angrily commenting about how much of a Trekkie I am? Cool. Let me explain why this is not a good film. Don't worry! There are no spoilers in this review.
I remember a very important lesson in college. I wrote a script with tons of world-building dialogue and epic battle scenes, and I thought it was the coolest story ever. My professor then handed me back my script after he reviewed it, and to my dismay, it was covered in red ink from his pen. "You have five stories going on at the same time," he said. "In doing so, you took away the quality of each story. Tell me one story, and tell it well." He was right. I had baked a delicious pie, but I had added too many, very different ingredients, that created a very odd and distorted concoction. What every writer needs to do is focus on one flavor of pie and hand it to the audience so they can experience all of the wonderful things inside of it. I wish my professor told the writers of this movie the same thing. This is one of the fastest movies I have ever seen. In almost two and half hours, the story retcons a lot of what The Last Jedi did by introducing a new talent for Finn, a backstory for Poe, new characters who share similar backstories that we don't see again, new powers for both Rey and Kylo, a new crisis for Rey, a rescue mission, a scavenger hunt, build up to emotional moments that never actually happen, oh yeah…and stopping the bad guy! Even with all of this, I felt like I missed some vital parts that would have made the story better. The plot got lost in the abundance of extra elements. This Star Wars pie had so many different flavors in it that I don't know what I tasted nor if I like it enough to want another slice.
This was extremely disappointing to me because J.J. Abrams is a good filmmaker. He made some of the best spy movies when he took over the Mission:Impossible franchise; he made Star Trek fun again, and made my favorite Godzilla-like movie, Cloverfield, as well as some extremely good TV shows. It makes me wonder what happened behind-the-scenes. I love his style of cinematography and camerawork, but for some reason, the direction of the movie felt sloppy. There are many instances where he makes you feel emotion, and then he reverses it and says, "Just kidding! Ok, back to explosions." After this happened twice, I didn't let myself feel emotion, turned my brain off, and just watched the splashes of color light up the screen for the rest of the way. While there are some visually stunning moments, when you do things like this in a movie, it naturally produces frustration and then emotional resistance from the audience, and they no longer care what's happening anymore. I expect lazy filmmaking like this from Michael Bay, but I expect much better from Abrams.
Is there anything redeemable from this movie? Yes, actually! The acting is quite good, and the actors make this as fun of a ride as possible. Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, who do their very best to make the story as emotional as possible, offer great performances despite the lackluster story. I will have to give a shout out to the actor who played Chewbacca. There was one part where Chewie's mannerisms actually got me choked up a little, and Anthony Daniels gives the best C-3PO performance of his career and fully realizes the character's comical potential. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac try to have as much fun as they possibly can with what they have to work with. All in all, the actors do their very best and seem to have a blast.
The original Star Wars trilogy inspired me to become a filmmaker. It's intricate levels of religion, mythology, morality, and heroism were rolled up into simple stories, easily understandable to everyone of all ages, and it's brilliant directing and writing helped make these films timeless and beloved for the past four decades. It's stories like these that are used as teaching tools for parents. It's stories like these that inspire people to be better and fight to make this world a better place. It's stories like these that ignite our imaginations and fuel our creativity. The Rise of Skywalker, sadly, is not one of those stories.