My thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker are here! It took me a while to write this post. I started it and erased it a couple of times. At the end of the day, this is the last movie of the saga. A saga that has taken us to worlds beyond our imagination. A saga that brought us characters that we will never forget. A saga that made us see the light and dark side through lenses that surpass the norms of “good or evil.”
If I could describe the movie in one sentence, I would say it’s a “roller coaster filled with action, nostalgia and easter eggs.” In the intro scroll you already know Emperor Palpatine is alive. The movie starts with an action-packed moment as you right away see Kylo Ren fighting in Mustafar. It immediately had a different vibe than “The Last Jedi” and you could tell there was no time to pause and breathe, it needed to get to the plot right away.
You know the movie is all about Kylo and Rey. Their story, their past, their connection and their individual identities. Rey is being trained by no other than General Leia herself. (The movie did a great job using past shoots of Leia and adding them so perfectly that they did not feel out of place or just CGI.) You can already see she is stronger than a lot of Jedi we see in the past. We can see the determination she has in her eyes, her abilities have improved and she is looking for a deeper connection with the force as she attempts to connect with other Jedi.
While Rey is training, we see Finn, Poe and Chewbacca on a mission aboard the Millennium Falcon. The bromance between Poe and Finn throughout the movie is just perfection! Meanwhile, Kylo is trying to find Palpatine and is determined to be the Supreme Leader no matter the cost.
The plot then starts moving quickly and if you blink you might just miss something. Everyone realizes Palpatine is alive, but there is a way to find him. This is another moment where the movie connects to The Last Jedi, Rey knows how to find Palpatine using the books Luke almost burned.
Seeing Kylo and Rey fight throughout the movie was definitely a highlight for me. Not only did they fight one on one, they fought through their force calls. The new trilogy masterfully used the newest technology in movie making to exquisitely portray fight scenes in ways we’ve never experienced before. To top it off, the amount of physicality and emotion both Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) incorporated in their scenes took this trilogy to the next level.
Kylo tells Rey she is Palpatine’s daughter. A moment that not only makes your jaw drop, but confuses you as you start thinking about Rey’s parents. Rey is concerned about who she really is and what her future looks like. The movie even gave us beautiful scenes where she is fighting her dark side self. Kylo is conflicted and keeps wanting for Rey to join him in destroying Palpatine. When they are fighting in planet Exogol, Rey stabs Kylo. A moment where we see Kylo Ren die and Ben Solo return. A moment followed by a beautiful vision of Han Solo speaking to his child, while Leia understands it was time to fulfill her destiny.
The movie continues with Rey scared of who she is as she runs away just like Luke did in the past. She goes back to Ahch-To where she faces Force Ghost Luke. He tells her Leia knew about her past and still believed in her, which seemed to be the last bit of push Rey needed to let go of her past and realize that no matter where you come from, it’s how you move forward that matters. Luke also tells Rey about Leia’s training and they show us a beautiful flashback of Leia not only kicking Luke’s butt, but also the moment she realized why she needed to step down from becoming a Jedi and how she knew her lightsaber was going to be picked up again.
While the movie had what people called “fan service moments”, I call them nostalgia and easter eggs. For me, seeing Leia hold a lightsaber was everything. She is and will continue to be one of my favorite characters in the saga, and they did justice to her character. We knew how powerful, smart and strong she was with the force, and it was a beautiful ending to her story. The movie also brought back Lando, Wedge, the Ghost ship, Ewoks, Chewbacca receiving the medal he deserved a while back and more.
The ending was unexpected but beautiful! Ben destroys the Knights of Ren with the help of the force call lightsaber transport. Ben and Rey face Palpatine who is becoming more powerful thanks to them. He is giving power to his army while destroying what’s left of the Rebellion. We see Ben and Rey struggle to defeat him and Ben being thrown out to a hole with Rey is laying down on the floor trying to connect to the Jedi. This is the moment where all the force voices appear. Even though, I wished they would have been actual force ghosts, this scene was one of my favorites. We hear voices as familiar as Yoda to voices that not everyone would recognize such as Ahsoka and Kanan. Thank you Star Wars! Moments like these make a huge fangirl like me so happy!
The voices of the Jedi give Rey strength and she is able to defeat Palpatine. She then dies but is brought back to life by Ben Solo who after they kiss dies. And yes, we all would have wished that Ben had survived, but I could not see how he would come back after all he did being Kylo Ren. I do not think he would have been accepted by the Resistance and the likes of Finn, Poe or even Rose Tico, even with Rey by his side.
Rey then goes back to Tatooine, where she finished this chapter. She completes the saga as she buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers, and pronounces her name to be Skywalker as homage to the Jedi before her and what they fought for. That last scene of Rey looking at the twin suns sunset was the perfect ending to a wonderful saga!
There is so much more to talk about this movie, and I will discuss various characters in the upcoming months. What you could not deny is that this was an emotional ride that from beginning to end was so J.J Abrams. It was emotional filled with action and humor. I loved it and hope we get to see more of these characters in the future.
Thank you Film Foodie Ozzy for the advance screening opportunity. Check his website at https://filmfoodieozzy.wordpress.com for the latest movie reviews and screening opportunities in Miami FL.