Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ bends the rules of the saga

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Courtesy of Disney
TRL’s Benjamin Nopper said the Star Wars saga’s newest edition “helped [him] forget for just a moment about the travesties that destroyed [his] two heroes in the previous two movies.”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars fans enjoyed the victory celebration of the Rebel Alliance at the end of Return of the Jedi, marking a satisfying end (at the time) to the saga’s chronological storyline. That was back in 1983, or if you are a Star Wars nerd like me, four years before the Battle of Yavin (4 BBY).

Fast forward to 2012 when Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced its plans to produce the sequel trilogy. The Star Wars universe changed dramatically. Quite frankly, the new trilogy’s first two films, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, made me feel like I was in an inescapable chokehold from Darth Vader. It was because of these disastrous films that I was reluctant to even go to the theaters to see the newest movie,The Rise of Skywalker, when it hit theaters on Dec. 20.

My main complaint about The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is that they essentially took the characters I grew up loving and completely ruined them by turning Han Solo into an uninvolved father who failed his son and turning Luke into a grumpy old man who whines like a baby and walks away from the Jedi Order. In return, we were given Rey, Finn and Poe, who were boring protagonists with no backstories.

Consequently, The Rise of Skywalker is specifically designed to make up for the complete injustices the previous two films did to my childhood heroes. And believe it or not, J.J. Abrams actually did an outstanding job redeeming himself (and Rian Johnson) for his previous mistakes.

The film expands on the only good component of the previous two films, which is the Force connection between Rey and Kylo Ren. This connection works and only becomes more compelling throughout the course of the movie.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, my favorite parts of the film were homages to the prequels and the original trilogy. While I understand that Disney is probably trying to invigorate a new generation of fans, you cannot have Star Wars without the original heroes and villains we have grown attached to since A New Hope. Even though Emperor Palpatine most definitely died at the end of Return of the Jedi, the return of his villainous presence was amazing and added some much-desired context to Rey’s character arc. The return of the Force ghosts of Luke and Han Solo (albeit this was cheating because Han Solo was never a Force user) helped me forget for just a moment about the travesties that destroyed my two heroes in the previous two movies.

The ending of the movie was absolutely outstanding–particularly the voiceovers of Jedi from generations before. The movie featured numerous plot twists between Rey and Ren, but for the sake of not spoiling the movie too much, I’ll let you watch it for yourself.

In summary, this movie comes close to negating all the damage that the entire sequel trilogy did to Star Wars as we knew it, even though it requires extreme creativity and even a little bit of bending the rules. I know the critics have it out for this movie, but in the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, I’ll give a “good job” to Disney.

Rating: B+