The Rise of Skywalker is a case study in attempting to write the wrongs of a franchise gone awry but overcorrecting into utter nonsense.
Where The Last Jedi fell down, in being predominantly slow, dull and drab for much of proceedings, this one is all action, all the time — JJ Abrams apparently needing to work out all the Star Wars dreams from his system while he still had the chance.
And if that meant sidelining a ‘controversial’ character (read: racists had a problem with someone who isn’t white) for one of the director’s old pals (who just happens to be white…) then so be it.
The Last Jedi’s biggest strength, to use that term very loosely, was in setting up for a deeper narrative payoff in the finale — a plan squandered by Abrams’ appeal to whiny baby ‘fans’ and clichéd notions of destiny and specialness and all that hereditary bullshit.
How special are we talking about? Well, the first big moment where the protagonist might be complicated as not quite the paragon of virtue we thought they were is resolved almost immediately after it happens, lest anyone feel uncomfortable for more than a minute. Risk, loss — they’re hinted at occasionally, but palpable peril is not a thing here.
None of it stands up to much scrutiny, and that’s by design. Because when you do think more about certain aspects, like how the film erases a burgeoning interracial relationship and replaces it one deemed more appropriate for the character’s ‘kind’, it doesn’t look so good…
I’ll give it this, though: there’s more bang for your buck. It’s the most ‘theme park attraction’ instalment of the nonology, for better or worse. ★★½
Cross-posted from Letterboxd