2 min read

The Rise of Skywalker (Spoilers)

I played with a lot of action figures growing up. It was fun to toss my favourite characters around, throw them into new scenarios, up the stakes, generate wild conflicts, into stories that would span years and years. Of course, I was only playing for myself, so I didn’t have to bother with reason or motivation or logical coherence.

The Rise of Skywalker plays out like watching someone play with action figures, with all the bad that entails. I could go into why The Rise of Skywalker is bad by just listing all the things that make The Last Jedi great. I won’t do that, because even on its own merit, The Rise of Skywalker is a deeply flawed and uninspired movie that fails to stand on its own feet for even a single moment.

Any character arc in this movie is undermined by its own action. Rey’s attempts to build her own identity is warped into defying her ancestry, by merely claiming someone else’s. Poe becomes a good leader by doing the same thing he’s done before, but now he’s got a very vague (very straight) love interest. Finn learns how to quip more while also learning nothing else. C-3P0 finally gets the closure the character deserves, only for it to be undone after a few gags. Kylo Ren’s arc is possibly the only compelling and coherent arc on paper, until one single moment cements this movie as studio-endorsed fan-fiction. Oh, and Chewbacca’s arc is that he dies. But not really.

Almost all of The Rise of Skywalker is exposition. Fair enough, we need exposition to get a movie going. But the exposition here does not come through character. Instead it is merely a funnel for the audience to ingest information while the movie moves forward at breakneck speeds towards absolutely nothing. There are clear gestures to moments that should have some emotional impact but instead are completely hollow. A last-minute save, a sacrifice, a kiss. These moments don’t stem from the movie’s themes or action; they merely occur because the two toys were next to each other, and something needed to happen.

Things don’t happen in The Rise of Skywalker because they’re resonant, or important, or stemming from character-based conflict. Things happen because they need to. But the truth is? The Rise of Skywalker didn’t need to happen. It’s an unnecessary addendum to a franchise that’s long overdue. And it’s time to pack the Luke Skywalker figures and the Darth Vader Legos into a box, close it and move on.