Monday, 6 January 2020

The Rise of Skywalker

SPOILERS. There are SPOILERS in this post, you have been warned.

For those who love the originals, for those who actually the prequels and for those who adore the latest films, this isn’t made for you. To those who don’t really watch Star Wars or were at the cinema and didn’t know what to watch, this film was made for you, so, you’re welcome. Collectively Kathleen Kennedy, Disney, JJ Abrams and that guy Chris who really has no idea what he’s doing, decided it was a fantastic idea to completely change the film, with reshoots, rewrites and cutting 30% of the film as late as October 2019. What I’d give to see the rumoured multiple endings and the original direction and ending of the film. There wouldn’t be THIS much outrage across the fandom or the tepid mediocre ‘I guess it was ok’ reactions from those who, to be honest, aren’t as big a fans as Star Wars fans. Yes, I’m saying this, because in my opinion I believe it. Let’s get started, shall we?
As a film, it offers amazing scenery, visual and practical effects galore, a few nostalgia trips that are appreciated and that’s it. The story is confusing, backtracks quite a few things from the previous films in the trilogy, adds in characters we haven’t seen in decades that were thought to be dead, cuts down characters roles to near nothing, shatters fans hopes for certain characters including the actor who plays him, cobbles together an ending that seriously flawed, denies us a scene that would have greatly improved the film, kills off a fan favourite without justification, shatters another fan base while thinking they did what they wanted, ends appallingly overall and doesn’t give us hope for the future of Star Wars.

The film jumps right into the action after a very quick intro in the opening scroll, with Kylo Ren finding and fighting his way to Exogol, the Sith home world or something near to that. There he meets Emperor Palpatine who is somehow alive and tells him to kill Rey and he’ll give him power and his Final Order, a massive fleet of star destroyer ships. Rey meanwhile is training with Leia’s guidance but as she is now struggling with the light and dark, she keeps failing. Poe, Finn, Chewie and C3PO pick up a message from a spy in the First Order about Palpatine and about the impending doom that will occur. The gang and Rey go on a mission to find a way finder that should lead to Exogol so that Rey can confront and kill the emperor once and for all.

To avoid giving a beat by beat critique that will just feel like a story explanation, similar to what I’ve seen Youtubers do, I’ll dive straight in. Having seen the film twice, I gained clarity on most of the story and characters. Meaning that the first time I just felt outraged and was over heated and immensely annoyed at the death of Ben Solo. The second time around, I could almost enjoy the mediocre tone of the film. No character was given a good send off, but on a whole the film was enjoyable IF you over looked everything that was built up in the previous films in the so-called trilogy. But my enjoyment was stunted by the incredible bad ending, not just Ben Solo dying but the fact we were all denied an actual fight between Palpatine, Rey and Ben. As well as dialogue between Rey and Ben at the end, but I’ll get into that later. We were also given a real slap in the face rip of ending that had been taken from Return of the Jedi with the Resistance or Rebels or whatever they were calling themselves by the end. The film was a mixed bag that consisted of plot and style elements stolen from other Star Wars films, note stolen, not homaged, terrible plotlines for all the rebel characters, a complete change in direction for the entire saga and a dissatisfying end for Rey and Ben.

With the reshoots in mind and the last minute changes, I’d really like to see what the original plan was and I’d also like to see the original cut of one of the final scenes which quite a few people have fixed for fans out there, yes, especially for Reylo fans, but in all fairness, it’s not only Reylo fans who are calling for justice over Ben Solo. Kylo Ren was a huge fan favourite across the ages of fans, seeing this happen with such a, let’s face it, utter shit inconclusive ending, its fair for the outrage. Having Adam Driver missing from nearly all press events was a huge tell-tale sign too. This could be explained as that he was busy promoting Marriage Story, even though that came out a month earlier, but it’s still something not to be ignored. JJ Abrams and the writer of such fan favourites as Superman vs Batman and Justice League Chris Terrio have been next to no help with trying quash outraged fans and disappointed audiences, they’ve continued to try and justify their pathetic attempt to end an epic story.

The major ridiculous plot twist that wasn’t a twist as it was basically blurted out in the first 5 minutes, making Rey Palpatine’s granddaughter was a weak attempt to try and justify Rey’s position in the Star Wars story. Making her ‘someone’ negates the whole point of what the trilogy was meant to be about. You don’t have to be famous to be someone great. But to JJ and that t**t Terrio apparently you are only worth something if you’re famous. Really shoddy character development boys. Rey’s story was set up as different and more interesting than the people of note. Believing that anyone could be a Jedi was the hope we needed and made for a great story, but JJ and Chris just burnt that-wait did the Torries write this? Rey’s story on her own was ruined but her continuing bond with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo was becoming more interesting. Confirming that they are a Dyad, the literal embodiment of the light and dark sides of the force was meant to be a bigger deal but despite being the best parts of the whole film, Rey and Ben didn’t get their epic battle with Palpatine, they didn’t even get to be happy together. Hollywood just didn’t want to give us the happy ending to the saga. This time, a happy ending would have made sense and no one would have complained.

After delivering such a brilliant cinematic masterpiece, Rian Johnson’s excellent story telling was ignored, negated and just plain disrespected by JJ. Johnson gave us a Rose Tico. JJ just cut her out of the story, even getting her to actively say she’ll miss out on the adventure to do some paper work or study something. Appalling. Finn, who was and is force sensitive was reduced to just screaming everyone’s names, mostly Rey’s. Finn and Rose were great characters, but clearly all JJ and Chris cared about was….was….actually no idea. Did they even care at all? They cared enough to put out rumours of Poe Dameron being gay. They definitely spent time on that. Even adding in a whole new female character from his past to flirt with a bit. Pointless. Oscar Isaacs has said that Poe was gay so I’ll take the actor who advocated for FinnPoe or StormPilot to be cannon. We were robbed of a genuine pairing here. These were just the tip of the iceberg. With plot holes and pointless detours galore such as why bother making Hux a spy just to kill him seconds later? How the hell did Palpatine survive the Death Star, really, how? Cryptic warbling doesn’t cut it. Where is Ben? He wasn’t a force ghost at the end so where is he? Why was Rey more emotional when she healed Ben than when he died? Actually, I can answer that, he wasn’t meant to die. Who the hell had sex with Palpatine? How the hell did Rey’s parents manage to be anonymous for so long? What was the point of death teasing C3PO and Chewie, seriously what was the point?? Also why the hell did Disney and LucasFilm think this terrible mess of a film would satisfy fans and non-fans alike? Its not even a case of all those who liked TLJ hate TROS, it’s a mix of hate and ‘meh, it was ok’. They wanted to avoid further discourse but instead shot themselves in the head with this mess. They could have just given what we all wanted, they would have made money either way.