There’s no sugarcoating the fact that “The Rise of Skywalker” (ROSW) is a surprisingly sloppy send off for the new Star Wars trilogy. With two decent preceding entries and intense expectations built for the saga since its inception, the final entry was likely to conclude divisively. But given the legacy stakes of the series and the cash to be had in perpetuity for anything labeled Star Wars, ROSW is below the par cinematic quality for a studio and brand with endless resources.
Primarily the film suffers from a whiplash speed that dilutes its effectiveness from start to finish. Roughly five movies worth of material is jammed into two and a half hours, complete with an equal amount of intended shock and awe twists that on their own make conceptually interesting climaxes, but because they are all compressed into a single film, their potency is muted and the stakes almost feel non-existent.
Another glaring issue rests in the story as a whole. This film is incredibly campy, loaded with eye-roll inducing dialogue whenever it has the chance. The first half is distilled into a deeply cheesy plot akin to Treasure Island in space, and beneath the benchmarks of a serious script. The result feels aggressively pandering and cooked up by some super fans on a message board. Perhaps it is the split development between two directors and a vast production team wanting to have their hand at sculpting the franchise canon, but ROSW calls into question the connected relevance of the prior two films, and the longer term justification for the trilogy.
One cannot shake the feeling that the lack of originality permeating this trilogy was willed into existence by a general philosophy of recreating the original trilogy but bigger and flashier, with as much nostalgia pumped into the audience as possible. “You thought that guy was bad? Well imagine him WORSE and he’s going to blow up the ENTIRE GALAXY for realz this time.” For its cool settings, characters, and great action, these films lack those certain elements which even parts of the much lambasted prequel trilogy delivered better in lore and story.
Despite its glaring issues of construction, there is fun to be had in ROSW. Its ideas warranted more care than the sudden regurgitation with which they were delivered, but taken as it is, ROSW is an entertaining capstone to the new trilogy and enjoyable, even if as a piece of film and writing, it leaves much to be desired.