See, this is why I write books.
I’m not really going to bother reviewing this movie, although I usually preface my reviews with some sort of disclaimer about how I’m not going to write a review and then I write a review, so whatever, let’s go. Spoilers from here on in. You will not be warned again.
The creators of Star Wars had an impossible task. They had a trilogy from the ’70s-’80s that had attained a Big Chair in the pop culture pantheon and a multi-generational fan base. Every attempt to do anything with that trilogy – any attempt, ever – resulted in paddlin’s. Special remastered versions? That’s a paddlin’. Prequels and spin-offs? That’s a paddlin’.
Sequel trilogy? You’d better believe that’s a paddlin’.
As far as I can tell, the only things ever to be positively received were TV shows. From the drug-fuelled hilarity of the Holiday Special to all the animated and live-action series (Rebels, The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian), they all seem to be generally … fine, I guess? I don’t know, maybe I just haven’t gone looking for the complainers. Because why in the name of all that’s fucking holy would I?
Oh, and there’s games, and toys. People complain about them but nobody actually cares. That’s an objective fact, not opinion. Literally, absolutely, nobody cares.
Anyway my point is, the creators of Star Wars had a big problem. No matter what they did to finish off the nine-movie epic that is the core of the Star Wars story, it wouldn’t be good enough. Decades of expectation and speculation, and years of increasingly bitter disagreement between nerd tribes on the Internet, made this a doomed venture.
 I don’t even know who they are. I think Kathleen Kennedy is involved? Disney? George Lucas is apparently still a thing but they don’t listen to him? Whatever. I’m all outta fucks.
Given that starting condition, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker was really pretty darn good. This project, that was absolutely certain to make a ton of money and absolutely certain to fail, definitely made a ton of money. They walked the line of expectations and fan demands, paying nostalgic dues, and all the rest of it. The result was a vast, resounding MEH in movie form. No, not even a MEH. MEH is too negative. It was an ENH.
The movie was fine. Anyone who can look objectively at the original trilogy (and I am the only person in the world who can), has to look at this final chapter and go “enh, it was a Star Wars movie.” There was a war, in the stars. There were droids. There was Force.
So … much … Force.
I don’t think the fanboys who were mad about Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (you know, murder-Rian-Johnson, rewrite-and-re-release-the-movie mad) will be mollified by this movie, because they’re fucking idiots. The people who were happy about Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will probably be disappointed at how much effort seemed to have been poured into mollifying the freaks. Oops, did I say freaks? That’s probably a paddlin’.
Some of it was great. I’m just enough of the above-mentioned freak-type to have been pleased to see a few more Force Ghosts show up and have something to do. It was nice to see Luke again, and to see that Leia had done a bit of Jedi stuff too. The idea of their twin lightsabres becoming the centrepiece of a new shrine on Tattooine for some future Jedi was really nice.
I liked the huge Sith fleet. Pity.
Speaking of Leia, people will complain about Carrie Fisher’s image being used, resurrecting her from cut scenes and CGI. But this is a reality of entertainment now and I suggest you all just get on board with it. Soon we won’t have any need for actors, just programmers capable of resurrecting the precise person needed for a role. Actor salaries will give way to the rental rights for a certain audio-visual property. I’m not even kidding. This is happening. No more tantrums, no more prima donnas, no more abusive rapists and drug addicts. Shit, we won’t even need to worry about whitewashing or other problematic casting issues. We will be able to create exactly the fictional characters we need, and as for historical characters – we’ll be able to use them as-is. After they’ve been dead 75 years they’re public domain. You watch. This is happening.
And happening, and happening.
I loved the part where Rey suddenly Sith-lightning’d, although part of me kind of wishes they’d had the scrotum to kill Chewie in the process. Also that we had some answer other than “according to plot demand” as to how powerful Sith lightning is.
The “it’s just … people” thing, and the mass arrival of good folk from across the galaxy, was cute too. I couldn’t help but see it as a political / ideological statement, but sure.
Richard E Grant was cool, but he wasn’t Grand Admiral Thrawn so fucking kill yourselves, everyone involved in making this movie, do the whole thing again and re-release it God damn you.
Threepio was a highlight, although they definitely could have done more with his memory wipe and change in circumstances. Linking it back to his memory wipe when he forgot Episodes I, II and III would have been nice. Remember how he forgot those? Lucky golden fucker he is.
There were also some bits where I had to squint. “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” are kind of stretch names, seeing as how nobody was a last goddamn anything in Episode VIII and there were no rising Skywalkers (was Ben meant to be one? Was Luke one as a ghost? Was Rey one because she pretended to be one at the end?) in Episode IX. But whatever. This all sort of makes sense if you think that Leia was meant to be the focus, but Fisher died and they weren’t quite ready to do this level of resurrection with her. It’s not like the movie titles haven’t been on the nose since the original trilogy ended anyway.
Han did not need to be in this. They were already adding some bizarre (but really quite excellent) Force talents like the healing and the teleportation of objects via Force-links, and since Han was never remotely Jedi they had to make it into a weird psycho vision of Ben’s instead. They didn’t need to do that. They could have used Leia – Ghost Leia! – or gone all the way with the psycho vision and put Ben back onto the gantry on Starkiller Base and replayed the scene to show his healing process. Pretty easy really.
How did Lando get that many ships to join him in the amount of time it took to fight half a space battle? Under normal circumstances that would be enough to travel to one system and secure one ally. That was … very cool, but unsupported.
Was Hux really meant to be a spy the whole time? Or did he become one between Episode VIII and Episode IX? I’ve got to say I don’t think it’s supported by earlier movies but they did kind of lampshade that stupidity so okay. It was interesting, and I can believe he turned after Episode VIII. Just don’t expect us to accept it as a clever plot twist. It was totally fucking random and you know it.
How easy was it to destroy those OP’d Star Destroyers? A couple of shots to the cannon and they were history. A couple of ships in orbit around each planet and presto, you’re safe from the Sith fleet. It would have been easy enough to give them some dependency on Palpatine, because he was paranoid, and then Rey could have passed that on to the Resistance or used it herself to destroy everything, echoing Luke’s win in Episode IV and Anakin’s in Episode I, crippling the fleet or driving it into the storms since they had no navigation or whatever.
See, this is why I write books. So they’ll go the way I want them to, and when they fail I can blame myself, and when I complain about stories not being told right and someone says “so do your own” I can say “I have.”
See? I brought it back to finish where I started. It’s like poetry, it rhymes.
I give Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker an enh out of a possible ehh. Or a what-they-were-forced-to-make and half a what-they-were-too-cowardly-to-make out of a possible what-I-could-have-made-god-damnit.