The reactions to Disney’s new Star Wars trilogy have been… interesting to say the least.
It constantly feels like the extreme fans are at one another’s throats with each subsequent movie.
Personally, I enjoyed the first two films in this new trilogy.
I still love The Force Awakens, with it being my third favourite movie in the saga, next to A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
As for The Last Jedi, I thought it was a great film when I first watched it but, upon multiple rewatches, it became clear that it did have a lot of issues.
Even so, I enjoy the film but, sadly, the same cannot be said for The Rise of Skywalker, once again directed by J.J Abrams.
The funny thing is that this review was initially supposed to be positive but I quickly realised that I was writing down more negatives than positives about the film so it did not constitute being called a good film.
I would say that The Rise of Skywalker is the most flawed installment in this new trilogy.
Right from the start, I knew we were in trouble because the opening crawl details things that we should have been shown rather than told.
Following this, the first act is a complete mess that feels completely lacking in soul.
I found it incredibly difficult to care as the central characters of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) jumped from planet to planet, searching for a MacGuffin.
Even worse, when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is sent by a somehow alive Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to kill Rey it causes the movie to deliver a whole bunch of retcons to try and undo all of the twists in The Last Jedi that many vocal fans had issue with.
The most evident of these is Palpatine himself.
With Snoke gone, they just shoehorned in Palpatine with absolutely no setup.
And that is my big problem with this new trilogy.
Disney clearly had absolutely no plan when making these films and it creates a story that just doesn’t connect into a cohesive whole.
Look at the prequels.
Those films may be worse than these ones but George Lucas did have a plan on where the story would go.
Granted, he did not do a good job at adapting this plan but he still had one.
However, I will not say that The Rise of Skywalker is awful.
What saves the film from that is that it does get better after the first act and this is in no small part to the connection between Rey and Kylo Ren.
Kylo Ren is the best character in this trilogy and Adam Driver does an amazing job as him.
Although, I personally did not care for where their connection went at the end because it seemed kind of pointless.
Another positive is Princess Leia, with this film serving as a fitting goodbye to Carrie Fisher who tragically passed away.
She is put into the film using archived footage and it feels very respectful.
What does not feel respectful is the treatment of characters like Finn and Rose.
Finn got dealt a bad hand after The Force Awakens where his arc was repeated in The Last Jedi and is virtually nonexistent here but it is Rose’s actor Kelly Marie Tran who I feel the most sorry for.
She got a big role in the The Last Jedi but was not well received and got so much hate, some of it racially motivated, that it forced her off social media, and now she is pushed into a role as a side character in this film.
You could remove Rose from The Rise of Skywalker entirely and nothing would change.
Another jarring thing is the spy subplot in this film, which was completely pointless and felt like it was created to adapt to changes made in The Last Jedi, just like everything else.
Aside from Kylo Ren, his connection with Rey and the treatment of Leia, there are only a few other things I can say I liked about this movie.
One is the action, which is fun as always but with no standout moment, and some of the jokes that did land.
Other than this, though, The Rise of Skywalker is a mess that does not flow well with the other two films in this trilogy.
If only those running the whole thing like Kathleen Kennedy had put their foot down and tried to put together a plan for creating a cohesive story.
At the very least this should have been done after The Force Awakens.
In conclusion, I will say I consider The Force Awakens to be a great film, The Last Jedi to be a good film with a lot of problems, and The Rise of Skywalker to be a mess with only a few redeeming qualities, all coming together to create a story that just does not flow.
On the bright side, at least this new trilogy is not as bad as the prequels.