Star Wars Episode IV came out the year before I was born. That awful, infamous holiday special was released four days after I was born. Return of the Jedi was one of the first movies I was old enough to see in a theater. I still remember the day I discovered my mom sold my still-in-the-shrink wrap Millenium Falcon at a rummage sale.
All of this is to say, I’ve never lived in a non Star Wars world.
So…the Saga came to an end this weekend, with the release of Episode IX. And yeah, I went opening night for the 3D showing.
I am careful not to read reviews of movies before seeing them. I want to form my own opinion. I will read them after, but generally try to decide for myself whether I like something or not. This was no exception. It helped seeing it opening night as well.
So I walked out of Rise having thoroughly enjoyed myself, satisfied with the final effort from Rina Johnson. I’ve enjoyed the sequel trilogy way more than the prequel trilogy. I thought it was a much better effort than The Last Jedi. But I’m also not one to overthink a series about space travel, evil empires and the need to resist. I don’t even try to look for the metaphors to real life too much. These movies require a suspension of disbelief. We all mostly managed to do that. But many still look for the meaning. I think that is where I divege.
Rise had its plot holes. It had its unexplained. I get it. But I didn’t care. So, I was surprised when I got out of the show and started looking for others reactions, and it was fairly widely panned. By some I generally agree with on other artforms.
Head over to Rotten Tomatoes and Rise of Skywalker is getting only a 57 percent. That is Phantom Menace level. For comparison sake:
Rotten Tomatoes Rankings
|V–Empire Strikes Back||94|
|IV–A New Hope||93|
|VII–The Force Awakens||93|
|VIII–The Last Jedi||91|
|VI–Return of the Jedi||82|
|III–Revenge of the Sith||80|
|II–Attack of the Clones||65|
|IX–Rise of Skywalker||57|
I admit I’ve enjoyed the Rey/Kylo storyline, more so than the Anakin storyline from Episode’s I-III. The intrigue on their origins, the performances of Daisy Ridley and Adam Drive in the lead roles and John Boyega and Oscar Isaac in support. The special effects have obviously come a long way, which helps as well, but I also give them credit for not making that a crutch. I’ll take Daisy as Rey over Mark as Luke in the middle three any day, performance wise. Maybe it is just me and my relating to overcoming anger issues.
As for Rey and the mystery around her, you knew her parents were not just junk traders. And I was actually rooting for the Palpatine angle, so maybe that is part of me seemingly liking it more than most. Also, I’m just glad they did not go with the “time travel Rey is actually Schmi” fan theory floating around the interwebs.
They did as well as they could have with the death of Carrie Fisher, and Chewie had two of the more emotional scenes, with the medal and the faux death lasting just long enough to make you wonder if they actually went through with it. In retrospect, I kind of wish they had.
The Rey/Kyle juxtaposition was enjoyable as well. It was a subtle twist that could have been cheesy, but I still enjoyed the direction they went. Although I think it bothered people that the love interests or possible love interests throughout the final three mostly fell flat. I get that. But hey, at least no one kissed their sister.
Plenty of laughs, plenty of emotion, and they mostly stuck the landing, even if the Falcon is on fire from lightspeed skipping.
My rating: 87.
I’ll take it over any of the first three, and probably even over VI. My one disappointment was no Darth Binks cameo.