I watched the most recent Star Wars last night. Spoiler-free review posted here.
Since this ended the sequel trilogy and the entire "Skywalker Saga", I thought it deserved a bit more spoilery discussion.
- I'm not sure we needed to introduce some brand new characters in the third movie that don't even get that much buildup because there were so many other things happening, unless they were seeded here for purposes of future Star Wars movie, which is just silly
- also, I didn't have much fondness for the guy, but Hux deserved better
- some great appearances here that I wasn't expecting:
- Lando showing up in the desert planet wearing the same outfit he used as a disguise in the first act of Return of the Jedi
- Han appearing as a hallucination
- Wedge Antilles is still alive! And comes back with Lando and Chewie to help out during the final space battle
- the parallels with Return of the Jedi are glaringly obvious, especially for the third act: Rey going alone to face off against the evil emperor while the rebellion pursues a last-chance and hopeless space battle outdoors? Check. Series protagonist face turn at the last minute? Check. Lando piloting the Falcon as a general in the final space battle? Check.
- the sequel trilogy really suffered from not having a single creative vision for all three movies. J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson obviously wanted to take the franchise in two different directions, with Abrams wanting to make an homage to the original trilogy with new characters, and Johnson wanting to explore what there is outside of the original trilogy.
- Instead, Abrams has to do a strong pull back from the second film, which meant he had a whole lot more setup to do, leading to ridiculous things like a huge plot point like Palpatine's return being introduced in the opening crawl and that messy frantic pace of a first act
- It's hard to imagine now where else the franchise could have gone, but I would have liked to see something like:
- Episode 7 as homage to original trilogy and passing of the torch to new characters
- Episode 8 as subverting expectations and striking in a different direction
- Episode 9 as defining a new kind of future for Star Wars, perhaps with more Force users, not necessarily Jedi or Sith
- instead what we get with Rise of Skywalker is basically the same ending as Return of the Jedi: The evil emperor is defeated (the same evil emperor at that!) and the rebellion is victorious and celebrating and now only one Jedi remains and balance exists in the force. I can understand wanting to do a modern re-telling for a new generation of fans, but we lived with that ending since 1983, it would have been nice to see something different this time. Such was not to be. (And I'm sure the mixed reaction to Last Jedi had a hand in Disney deciding to be more conservative with this one)
- it's really weird for me that the "Skywalker Saga" ends with a new Skywalker emerging
Final Skywalker saga rankings: 5-ESB > 4-ANH > 6-ROJ > 3.5-RO > 7-TFA > 8-TLJ == 3-RTS > 9-ROS > SOLO > 2-AOC > 1-TPM