Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
What is it ? : Okay, first of all . . . .
Honestly, I'm going to spoil the hell out of this movie, so . . . .
Okay, now you've decided to read this.
We pick up with the scroll which informs us the galaxy has received a message from Emperor Palpatine promising revenge, and both Leia and the Resistance are looking for him, as is Kylo Ren and the First Order.
We then reach the planet of Mustafar where Kylo Ren and First Order Stormtroopers are fighting in a forest, Kylo ends up being the only survivor, and retrieves a pyramidical device known as a Sith Wayfinder which he installs in his Tie Silencer and leads him to the Sith world of Exegol.
There he finds a large building upon entering it he encounters clones of Snoke, and hears Emperor Palpatine's voice, which he threatens that he killed Snoke and will kill Palpatine. Palpatine, who is attached to massive machines to keep him alive in his ruined and wrecked body, tells him he created Snoke, and will give Kylo the galaxy if he kills the scavenger, before revealing a massive fleet of Star Destroyers he has been hiding in the ice of Exegol.
Meanwhile, Poe Dameron, Finn and Chewbacca are heading in the Millenium Falcon to meet a Resistance informant, who gives them information on how to locate Exegol and Palpatine, information gained from someone within the First Order. But the Falcon is chased by First Order fighters, and Poe is forced to perform sequential hyperspace jumps between various locations to lose their pursuers before getting back to the Resistance camp in a heavily damaged Falcon.
Meanwhile Rey is training in the forest of Ajan Kloss, the world where the Resistance are hiding, under the tutelage of General Leia Organa. She performs well, but Kylo Ren who is meditating with the Helmet of Darth Vader manages to send her a vision which causes her to lash out, damaging BB-8.
When she gets back to the camp she berates Poe for damaging Han's ship, who in turn berates her for damaging BB-8, hearing the information about the Sith Wayfinder, she recognises it from Luke's writings that she has, and tells Leia that Luke once sought the Wayfinder on the world of Pasaana.
Leia gives Rey the Skywalker Lightsaber, and she leaves in the Falcon accompanied by Chewbacca, Poe, Finn, BB-8 and C-3PO.
Kylo Ren gets his helmet repaired and then attends a meeting of the Admirals of the First Order, revealing they have a spy in their midst, and that the First Order will soon become an Empire, but some of the Admirals question what the price the Sith ask for this will be.
On Pasaana the heroes find themselves in a large festival, but encounter First Order patrols, but are rescued by a masked figure who reveals himself to be Lando Calrissian. He was with Luke when he was searching for the Wayfinder, and points them towards the ship that they were searching for it, and they steal speeders to travel. Pursued by First Order Jet Troopers, and tracked bikes they battle their way through, but end up being swallowed by quicksand into the caves of a vexis snake. They find the pilot of the ship dead in the caves, and find a dagger which C-3PO tells them holds the location of the Wayfinder written in ancient Sith, a language he can translate but isn't allowed to due to restrictions built into him.
They face the vexis snake, but Rey sees it's wounded and heals it by transferring a little life into it, and it clears a path for them to leave. As Poe and Finn prepare the ship to take off, Rey senses Kylo Ren approaching and engages his Tie Fighter with her Lightsaber, destroying the ship. Meanwhile Stormtroopers capture Chewbacca and load him onto one of two ships they have, one of which takes off. Finn sees and tells Rey, who starts to pull the ship back down using the force, but Kylo interferes, causing her to lose control and force lightning the ship destroying it entirely.
They leave in the ship, believing that Chewbacca is dead, and head for the world of Kijimi, where Poe knows of someone who can hack C-3PO's brain to extract the translated data from the dagger. Meeting up with an old contact of Poe's who wants him dead, they convince her of the importance of their mission and she takes them to the droid programmer, Frik.
He can unlock the information in C-3PO's head, but it will be part of a complete reset, so C-3PO will lose all of his memory and will forget them all. 3PO realises that the mission is important, so looks at his friends for potentially the last time, and they discover that the Wayfinder is in the Emperors secure storage vault in the remains of the Second Death Star on Endor.
Rey however senses that Kylo has found them and has arrived above Kijimi, and senses Chewbacca aboard the ship, Poe's friend gives them a captain's medallion which will get them past First Order security, which allows them to land on the Star Destroyer, and they fight their way through to rescuing Chewbacca. Splitting up, Rey goes to get Chewbacca's equipment from Kylo's quarters, and ends up battling him psychically, while the orders end up being captured by the First Order and sentenced to death by the officer in charge, Allegiant General Enric Pryde, with General Hux overseeing the execution. However Hux guns down the Stormtroopers and reveals he is the Resistance agent, taking them to the Millenium Falcon which was loaded aboard at Pasaana, Finn asks Hux why he's helping, and he tells them he doesn't care if they win or lose, just that Kylo Ren loses.
He then gets Finn to shoot him so he is wounded and can claim to have been forced to help them, but when he returns and reports this to Allegiant General Enric Pryde, Pryde guns him down, declaring he has discovered the traitor.
Kylo realises that Rey is aboard his ship and returns, the two of them facing each other in a confrontation in the hangar, however the Falcon swoops next to the exit to the hangar, and Rey leaps aboard and they make the jump to Endor where they crash.
They locate the remains of the Death Star, and the dagger reveals the location of Palpatine's vault, but the seas surrounding the wreckage are too rough for them to travel they are told by a group they encounter which Finn discovered are ex First Order Stormtroopers like him, who rebelled against their orders. Rey steals a watercraft and crosses the rough seas, entering the Death Star and heading up to the Emperor's throne room where once Luke faced Vader and Palpatine. She locates the Wayfinder, but as she leaves she is confronted once again by Kylo Ren, who destroys the wayfinder and reveals her true origin, giving her access to her memories of her parents, Palpatine's son and wife, making her Rey Palpatine, the grand-daughter of Emperor Palpatine. They fight, and she recognises the anger and hatred within herself which led to her lashing out and damaging BB-8, and destroying the shuttle she thought Chewbacca was aboard.
Meanwhile back at the Resistance camp, General Organa realises it's time, and enters a trance calling out to her son, causing a distraction which allows Rey to stab him through the chest, but the connection kills Leia outright. Rey is devastated by this act of anger, and the effect it has had, and reaches out and transfers life to Kylo healing him.
She then flees, taking his Tie Fighter and returning to Ahch-To, planning to enter exile as Luke Skywalker once did.
Kylo is also devastated by the death of his mother, the connection between them leaving him shocked and stunned, when he hears a familiar voice, that of his father, Han Solo. Solo isn't a force ghost, just a memory from within Kylo, and responds when Kylo tells him his son Ben is dead, that no, Ben is alive, and Kylo Ren is dead. Ben tells him he knows what he must do, but he isn't sure he has the strength to do it, and Han tells him that he can do it, echoing their conversation at Starkiller base. Ben struggles to tell his father his feelings, but Han just touches his cheek and tells him "I know", and Ben hurls his lightsaber into the sea.
On Ahch-To, Rey sets fire to the Tie Fighter, and throws the Skywalker lightsaber into the flames, but it is caught by the force ghost of Luke Skywalker who tells her a Jedi looks after their weapon, and tells her that he and Leia always knew her parentage, and still saw the goodness within her, and she must face Palpatine. But she tells him that she failed her mission to obtain the wayfinder, but Luke shows her that Kylo's is within the wreckage of the Tie Fighter. He also reveals that Leia once trained as a Jedi with him, and she made a lightsaber, but gave it to him to keep for the future, and he shows Rey it's location before she leaves.
She then points out she has no ship, and Luke takes her to the submerged wreckage of his X-Wing, and uses the force to lift the ship from the sea, and she board the ship and heads for Exegol.
The Emperor orders one of his new Star Destroyers to destroy the world of Kijimi to demonstrate the power of his new fleet, and with a single shot it cracks the crust of the planet which explodes in something he calls the Final Order.
Arriving back at Ajan Kloss, Poe, Finn and Chewbacca discover that Leia has died, and has made Poe the leader of the Resistance, which he doesn't know how to do, but Lando arrives and tells him that none of the original heroes knew what to do either, but they did it together and that was what was important. A signal is received from Red-5, showing them the route to Exegol, and promoting Finn to General as well, Poe begins organising an attack. The weapons on the Star Destroyers are vulnerable, so their small fleet is ideal for taking out these massive vessels by targeting their super lasers. He orders Lando and Chewbacca to take the Falcon to the Core systems to get as much help as possible to destroy the fleet, as finally they have a hope of stopping Palpatine and the First Order. Meanwhile Poe will lead the available fighters against the Star Destroyers, and Finn will lead a ground assault to destroy the beacon which the Star Destroyers rely upon for navigation, and without which will remain trapped inside the atmosphere of Exegol where they cannot use their shields.
Meanwhile, the memory wiped C-3PO encounters R2-D2 which he doesn't recognise, and claims that he'd certainly know if he had a best friend, and R2-D2 restores his memories from a backup.
On Exegol, Rey arrives in the X-Wing and enters the Emperors palace, where she confronts Palpatine, just as the Resistance fleet emerges and begins engaging the Sith Star Destroyers, while Finns squad approaches the beacon, Allegiant General Enric Pryde realises the weakness, so orders transfer of the navigation beacon signal to his ship, forcing Finn to reroute and perform a group assault against the outside of this Star Destroyer, as he and the other ex Stormtroopers assault riding horse like creatures, which pass through the repulsorlift jamming fields the First Order puts in place.
The battle goes on, and help doesn't arrive, allowing Palpatine to show Rey her friends are about to be eliminated, telling her that he doesn't want to kill her, he wants to transfer his memories and those of all the Sith into her, making her the new Sith Emperor, and allowing her to place the order to save her friends. She hears the voices and senses the spirits of numerous former Sith Lords watching from the shadows.
Ben Solo arrives on Exogol in a Tie Fighter, and has to fight his way through the Knights of Ren, but is unarmed and has difficulty, so Rey reaches out through their link and passes him her lightsaber, allowing him victory over the knights. She turns down the Emperors offer, as hundreds of Starships emerge over Exogol with Lando and join the battle.
Confronted by Ben and Rey, the Emperor reveals he has a backup plan, which was to drain the life from Rey and return his youth and energy, but the link between Ben and her will give him twice the energy and he drains the two, unleashing a massive force storm of lightning which cripples all of the Resistance ships which begin to drop from the sky above. The energy also rejuvenates the Emperor, and his ruined skin grows back and frees him of the devices that have been keeping him alive.
Ben tries to summon enough energy to attack, but Palpatine tells him how once he was cast down into a pit by his grandfather, now he casts him down, and with a force push sends him plummeting down a chasm.
But Rey hears the voices of the past Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Aayla Secura, Mace Windu, Yoda and many others urge her on. Palpatine tells her that all the Sith live through him and sends a wave of Force Lightning at her, but she responds that the Jedi all live through her, and blocks it with Leia's lightsaber.
With Palpatine distracted, the fleet rallies, and Finn destroys the beacon, trapping them within Exogol's atmosphere, then turning the ships weapons against the bridge, killing, Allegiant General Enric Pryde and causing the ship to plummet towards the ground. Poe swoops in, trying to rescue Finn before it impacts the ground, but Lando tells him his ship is faster and the Falcon reaches them letting them leap free to safety on it's hull.
Rey pulls the Skywalker lightsaber she gave to Ben from the floor where he dropped it, and using the two sabers turns the Force Lightning against Palpatine which destroys the Sith lord, as above the Resistance fleet destroy the Star Destroyers which fall one after one to the ground below.
Rey collapses and dies from the exertion, but Ben climbs out of the chasm he was thrust into, and transfers life into her, bringing her back to life, at the expense of his own and the two kiss he dies and his body fades away, as does Leia's back on Ajan Kloss as Maz Kanata watches.
They all return to Ajan Kloss, and celebrate the victory of the Resistance over Palpatine and the First Order, Poe, Finn and Rey embrace, and Maz Kanata gives Chewbacca a medal of Bravery from Leia, the same as Luke and Han were given at the end of A New Hope.
Rey visits the Lars homestead on Tatooine, where she buries Luke and Leia's lightsabers in the sand, having now built her ownรขโฌโ a black-handled lightsaber with a yellow blade. A local asks her name and, seeing spirits of Luke and Leia look on, Rey gives her name as "Rey Skywalker". Rey and BB-8 then head off into the distance as the twin suns of Tatooine set.
High Points : Okay, I really liked this movie, it made up for so many of the flaws that I saw in The Last Jedi, and was a truly enjoyable watch.
I have to actually vote C-3PO as most valuable player, as he gets one of the best emotional lines in the movie along with some of the best comedy moments (most of which are often just heard in the background of other scenes). The action is astounding, and while it carries it's flaws, some of which I'll detail below, it feels like Star Wars to me, and fixes a lot of problems with the previous two movies (although perhaps spends too much time fixing errors which didn't need fixed).
Chewbacca is handled especially well, and Lando's return is amazingly good, Billy Dee Williams may not get a lot of screen time, but is absolutely essential to the plot.
The return of Han Solo took me completely by surprise, and I'd felt that the "I love you", "I know", should have been done between him and his son during The Force Awakens, so I totally loved that it gets an appearance in this one.
And while Palpatine's appearance does feel a little crowbarred in to make up for the loss of Snoke, he made a brilliant enemy, and Rey's familial connection to him made the series of movies make a lot more sense.
Luke gets a brilliant Obi Wan moment, instructing Rey as a Force Ghost, and the fact that it's Red 5 that he levitates out of the water just feels right, although I have to say that apparently the built quality of X-Wings is astounding as it just spent about a decade underwater and still flies perfectly. I also appreciated the call back and slap in the face to Rian Johnson, as Rey throws the lightsaber away, and Luke tells her that a Jedi looks after their weapon. Which seemed to me to be a direct metacommentary on Luke's actions in the Last Jedi.
And finally, while it is a little obvious how Leia's lines were pasted in from cut footage (it feels a little like those comedy sketches where someone famous is put into an interview with inappropriate questions, as her responses don't quite match what is said to her), the movie made her passing make sense, and I shed a few more tears for the loss of our beloved princess.
Low Points : As I mentioned above, Palpatine's appearance in the movie feels forced, as there's not clues of his existence in the earlier two movies, and it just feels like he was brought back since Snoke had been killed off. But he brings the trilogy together well, and it really hooks this trilogy with the last one.
But even if it's done for good reason, we get no explanation of how he's survived? Is it to do with the Clones of Snoke we see? Is this Palpatine a Clone? Is his ruined body, and need for life support systems due to his ruined body being retrieved from the wreckage of the Death Star? (if so we really need to see how any of the body survived the explosion).
I also have to make comment on a couple of the fake out death moments in the movie, with Chewbacca being thought dead (although I spotted the two shuttles, and easily guessed that Chewbacca was on the other when he supposedly died off screen (which I thought unlikely for such a major character)), along with C-3PO's memory wipe, which is undone later. Given we already have Leia's death to contend with, I felt that these two extra "deaths" just led to overload, rather than increasing the emotional stakes of the movie, they reduced it.
The entire plot with C-3PO not being allowed to translate something seems pointless, and even the dagger itself feels like a total macguffin to force them to go on a quest to translate it.
While there's a lot of fleshing out of Poe and Finn in this movie, Poe's feels like it's forcing him to be a new Han Solo, with them revealing he used to smuggle spice before he joined the Resistance, but some of his old life wants him dead. While Finns is just glossed over, feeling like it needs another movie to explain, as he and the other ex Stormtroopers discuss how the force made them rebel against the First Order, but it's never really detailed.
There's also Lando talking with the ex Stormtrooper, about where she's from, and offering to help her find her family, which left me with the feeling that she is perhaps his lost daughter, although it just makes me wonder who he had a daughter to, and what happened to her, something the movie doesn't help with at all.
I also feel that perhaps we need a little more background on what happened with Palpatine's family? When did he have a son? Why did the son go on the run? There's an entire plotline that feels missing.
Exogol is apparently the hidden world of the Sith! Is it different to Korriban/Moraband (in the Clone Wars series), and Ziost? Is it a different world? I'd kind of like to know.
While I can accept that in the 30+ years, Palpatine has built a lot of Star Destroyers, and has equipped them with superlasers. But where's he got all the crew for these ships? There's a mention he's been building up in the unknown regions, but that's where the First Order were building up as well. How depopulated are the unknown regions with two galactic empires plundering them for their youth?
When the Emperor orders the destruction of a world, one that means something to the heroes, they choose Kijimi, a planet we just saw for 5 minutes earlier in the film, and one where everyone we met on that world is shown to have survived the destruction fine. Now personally I thought that the Emperor was perhaps speaking of the audience as much as the heroes when he says that the target is meant to mean something to them, so my first thought was Tatooine. And the movie would have had one hell of an impact at that moment if they'd blown up Tatooine. But that world doesn't mean anything to the heroes, so I then thought they were going to destroy Jakku, which would also have had a pretty massive impact.
However, instead they destroyed Kijimi, a world that we as an audience really didn't care about. It's an impact which means far less to us than the destruction of Alderaan in A New Hope (which when it's destroyed we know is the homeworld of Leia, and is where Ben (Kenobi), Luke and Han are going to at that moment, so is a pretty important target storywise). But Kijimi means nothing to us storywise, as the heroes have now left it, and even the characters from that world were planning to leave and not return. Storywise, maybe Coruscant might have been a better target, as a Trillion deaths would definitely have reminded us of how evil Palpatine really is.
Finally, there's a lot of change of the backstory going to go on now, with Palpatine now being the carrier of all the past Sith Dark Lords memories, which we were led to believe he didn't before, and actually had very little to do with the past Sith. There's going to be a massive shake up of continuity due to this movie, and it's going to be pretty interesting watching the Star Wars universe change once again, and as everyone has to jump to keep up.
So what do you really think ? : I really liked this one, and it's definitely my favourite among the Sequel trilogy, although I'm not ready to place where it falls among all the movies yet (not based on a single viewing).
I adored all the cameos, absolutely overjoyed by Wedge Antilles showing his face, and smiling at Wicket the Ewok making an appearance along with his son (portrayed by Warwick Davis and his son Harrison Davis).
There was emotion here, there was some great action, and there's a whole load more to catch on further viewings. The redemption of Kylo Ren felt a lot more earned than that of Darth Vader, and I really liked the reveal that Hux was the traitor in The First Order and his reasons for it, and I thought his fate was perfectly done.
Final Words : This is of course just a review based on a single watch of the movie, and there's a lot I've probably missed, or that is still to sink in, for example, while writing this I realised that Ahsoka's voice appears among those of the Jedi who have passed on. Which means that Ahsoka has become a Jedi once again, and that by the time of this movie, she has died, which has more of an impact on me that an animated character probably should.
Score : 9/10
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