*This review is going to contain a lot of spoilers – if you’re trying to avoid them, please stop reading now*
Just one more general warning before the review proper begins – as I should have guessed from it being directed by JJ Abrams, the Rise of Skywalker was *very* strobey and flashy – if you have epilepsy or any other condition that can be triggered by flashing lights, please be aware of this!
So, there were some parts I really loved, some parts I didn’t and others I haven’t yet made up my mind about – I’ll just have to see it again to be sure! So that’s a good sign – I definitely want to see it again, probably more than once.
So spoiler time!
The Good –
I loved the return of old characters, especially Lando and Force-Ghost Han. For me, it didn’t feel shoehorned in at all, and it seemed to fit with the rest of the story and with the Star Wars saga in general. Even the ones who only appeared in snippets and didn’t actually have any real influence on the story – Wicket, I’m looking at you – filled me with joy.
I liked the writing and the characters, for the most part. I especially loved Poe Dameron – it’s hard not to love Oscar Isaac, but he managed to develop into something really interesting.
I am very glad that C3P0 was okay in the end, even if the ‘I want to take one last look at my friends’ line was utterly heartbreaking. C3P0 has been one of my favourite characters for a long time (cue lots of comments on the perceived similarities between us) and his sort-of-but-not-really death scene was pretty emotional.
Whatever it was that Finn wanted to tell Rey, I’m actually glad he didn’t. Whether he decided it was a bad idea, or just forgot, I’m not sure, but not every end has to be tied up neatly!
The Bad –
While I’m glad Chewbacca didn’t die, him being alive would have had more impact if there had been longer between the transporter exploding and him appearing on the other ship.
It did retcon a lot of the Last Jedi, the best film of the trilogy. Most notably for me, it returned to the issue of Rey’s parentage (although I did love the ending, where she uses the surname Skywalker despite not being a Skywalker-by-birth) and it did a complete disservice to Rose, my favourite new character from the Force Awakens.
I wasn’t a fan of how new characters, particularly women, were introduced only to be portrayed as ex-girlfriends or potential love interests – Rey is a brilliant character, as is Leia, and the recent trilogy has definitely got much better at representation than the originals, and the less said about the prequels the better, but this one felt a little more like tokenism than representation.
I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether I want Rey to be Palpatine’s granddaughter or not – it felt a little bit out of the blue (although maybe I need to rewatch The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to see if I missed the hints), and to make things a little bit less incesty (not that Star Wars has really had an issue with that before…).
So, although these aren’t all of my thoughts, I’ll leave off now. Mostly I did really enjoy the film, but I had very high expectations or hopes for it. I think it was better than The Force Awakens (which I loved at the time and still really like, and I still remember how refreshing it was to see a good Star Wars movie in the cinema) but not as good as the Last Jedi, which I think is my joint favourite Star Wars film.