It was impossible to get to the theater before every person I knew began talking about this movie. Some people had negative opinions, other people enjoyed it. But, I reserved judgment until I watched it for myself.
The truth is Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker started okay, but for some reason, it felt off. A lot of the beginning of the movie felt rushed and didn’t allow me (I’ll speak for myself) to understand exactly what was going on and why I should care about it.
For instance, the biggest snafu for me was the double agent. We knew there was a spy inside the first/final order, but we didn’t know who. Once we found out who, it was a mini shock. But, then he gave a reason for betraying his group that didn’t hold up, and he died instantly so I couldn’t care much about that.
Also finding out Rey is a Palpatine was thrown in there too. It seemed like it was said in passing and then we were automatically supposed to assume Rey is struggling with right and wrong. In my opinion, Rey has always been inherently good, so I never once thought she would turn to the dark side. But I see what they were going for there.
Plus, I feel like Kylo never made a good reason for her to join him. If I’m Rey and Kylo said, “You’re a Palpatine”. I’d be like, “Okay, but I’ve been with the Resistance and the Skywalkers for the last 5 years soooooo…” Sure Kylo plants a seed but you never believe she’s gonna turn.
The movie really gets good about the halfway point though. And this is when I started to get involved and enjoying the story. There is one part of the movie that they let the plot breathe. It’s when Kylo and Rey fight. The fight was engaging and you truly have time to watch Rey and Kylo work through everything. From their words to their choreography, the story told itself.
Everything from that point on was captivating and exciting. The final battle, Rey’s confrontation with Palpatine, Ben Solo finally emerges and Rey and Ben finally get together to defeat Emperor Palpatine.
Maybe Emperor Palpatine would have had more weight on the story if Rey was cloned from him or something like that. But as I mentioned earlier, she has never waivered during this triology, so it was never a question of if she would turn. It was more of a question of how she would defeat him.
By the way, I cried when Ben Solo disappeared. They should have spent more time on that. But I guess that’s how most redemption stories end. They didn’t harp on Ben too long before everyone flew back to the Resistance base and started celebrating. I didn’t really like that, but what can you do.
There were also some charming moments like Bobufrik’s introduction in the film and his interaction with C3PO during the memory wipe. Plus, nice surprise scenes with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Overall, by the end of the film, you will feel like it belongs in the Star Wars universe, though it has its troubles. By the middle of the film, you get past most of those issues begin to follow the story.