Uncover an unpopular discussion on the rollercoaster that is Star Wars
Spoilers are introduced within this article.
Disclaimer: I would like to start off this article by stating that I love Star Wars. I have grown up watching these movies and thoroughly enjoy viewing them nowadays. I am a proud Star Wars shrill and will love these movies until the day George Lucas reintroduces Jar Jar Binks back into the franchise. Having said that, let’s tear these movies apart.
I don’t believe there is a more iconic and well-known franchise than Star Wars. Spanning over movies, books, television shows and video games, Star Wars has been a staple in modern media since its initial debut in 1977. I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say that Star Wars is the most popular franchise in the whole world. Although it is loved by many, Star Wars is not a perfect franchise by far and has many problems regarding its plot, characters and overarching themes.
Now, there are a lot of problems with the Star Wars franchise, but I believe that the best movie that highlights these problems would be the newest one, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” so the majority of this article is going to focus on said movie.
Irrelevant plot lines
“The Rise of Skywalker” starts off with the worst Star Wars title crawl yet. The point of a Star Wars title crawl is to set up what the movie has in store and not tell us all of the cool parts that we’ve missed. As this was the last movie in the new trilogy, there shouldn’t have been as much information thrown at us to process. Palpatine comes back to life, off-screen. We never learn how and why he came back to life, which is a significant point because the last time we saw him, he had exploded in “Return of the Jedi.” Also, while we’re on this topic, Palpatine’s plan makes no sense. First he wants Kylo Ren to kill Rey, then he wants Rey to kill him so he can possess his body, then he decides to try and suck her soul out like a dementor from Harry Potter. The plot is inconsistent and very sporadic. This point right here highlights one of the main problems with Star Wars: the plots can be all over the place. This is a very apparent problem in the prequel movies. In every Star Wars movie, at least one of the plot points doesn’t serve its purpose to progress the story: In “The Phantom Menace,” it was the pod-racing subplot, in “Attack of the Clones,” it was the factory scene with Anakin and Padme and in “Revenge of the Sith,” it was the strange lizard/robot-bike chase scene with Obi-Wan and General Grievous.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performances by all of the actors within this movie, but the script within the movie itself left much to be desired. The entire first third of this movie is all exposition, where the characters talk about the events that led up to the movie. Like I stated above, the opening title crawl introduced a ton of new information for us to process, and as this was the last movie in the saga, it should’ve tied the ribbon on Star Wars, not introduced new themes. There were also a total of four fake out death scenes within the movie. Chewbacca, C-3PO, Kylo Ren and Rey all received their own version of a death scene within the movie, while Kylo Ren and Rey were brought back the same way, using the force. This brings to light another problem with Star Wars: the Force can fix anything. One of the main complaints that I have about the newer Star Wars movies is the concept of the Force is demystified. Why worry about anything when the Force can just bring people back to life? I wouldn’t have had a problem with this if there had been some reference of this beforehand or if it hadn’t been used so frequently through the movie, but there was no allusion to this in any of the other movies. I like Rey in this movie, all things considered, but I’m not a fan of her just knowing how to just raise the dead
In “The Rise of Skywalker,” if a character is not a Jedi or a Sith, they have no reason for being in this movie. Within the movie, the four main characters are Rey, Kylo Ren, Palpatine and Leia to some extent, which is disrespectful in the case of Finn’s character. Finn is supposed to be our other main character, and he is so undervalued in this movie. His character arc in “The Force Awakens” is amazing, but they casted him to the side in this movie. In every movie, they give Finn a new love interest, so nothing is consistent for the audience to value. In “The Force Awakens,” they alluded to him and Rey being together. In “The Last Jedi,” he and Rose have a dynamic romantic subplot. In “The Rise of Skywalker,” they introduce Jannah, another runaway First Order trooper. It is implied that Finn is Force-sensitive, which producers don’t even utilize in the story. There are so many opportunities to bolster Finn within these movies, but after “The Force Awakens,” producers would cast him aside and never give him a chance. To the writers’ credit, I did appreciate how in “The Rise of Skywalker,” we see more interactions between Rey, Poe and Finn, but their interactions seem shallow and unprovoking. The producers were trying to give us some of the “band of misfits aboard the Millennium Falcon” vibe from the original trilogy, but the character interactions don’t come to fruition at all. There’s a point in the movie where Finn and Poe get into an argument over the mission’s priorities, but it’s brushed off almost immediately and everything’s neutral again between them. Rose is another great example of an undervalued character. Rose is one of the main characters in “The Last Jedi,” but everyone hated her role in that movie. Instead of fixing her character and showing any character development, producers shoved her to the back of the bus and didn’t allow her to do anything essential in this last movie. There are so many undervalued characters within the Star Wars movies and it really frustrates me with all of the wasted potential.
“The Rise of Skywalker” feels like it was written for sheer fan-service. Every problem that people had with “The Last Jedi” was revamped in “The Rise of Skywalker.” The entire reason for this movie seems to be to undo what “The Last Jedi” set up. People hated the character Rose considering she wasn’t created to be valuable to the story, so they sent her to the back burner. People hated how Rey’s parents were nobody’s, so they made her the granddaughter of Palpatine. It’s as if this movie was completely devoted to fan service in attempts to correct the mixed reactions that “The Last Jedi” set up. Because of that, there was a significant part of this movie that was devoted to cleaning up that mess, which took away from the story of the actual movie. It feels as if this movie was written by 300 different people, and as a result, feels overwhelming from the information we learn and the information we have to process in it.
I feel as if I’m in this abusive relationship with the Star Wars franchise. Going through the different plot points for this article made me realize that I don’t even like all the Star Wars movies. Yes, I feel like I was brainwashed into liking these movies when I was younger. I mean the entire concept of Star Wars is strange to begin with. Space wizards fighting each other with light swords over who gets to rule the galaxy is just weird to begin with. I view Star Wars movies like family members: you don’t have to like every single one, but you have to acknowledge their existence. But, that doesn’t stop me from loving the movies that I do love to watch. These problems can’t ruin how I feel about these movies because when I watch them, it takes me back to when I was younger and how much I admired these movies. I still love the final battle in “The Phantom Menace,” I still believe that Greedo didn’t shoot first and I can still watch “Rogue One” while making fun of it. Star Wars is dumb, but they’re dumb and fun all the same. As long as someone is making these movies, you can bet that you’ll see me in the theaters watching them, and whether or not the movies are good, you can bet that I’ll still find a way to enjoy them. At the end of the day, that’s the point of a movie, to take us away from this world we live in and to give us new experiences, but this is all one writer’s humble opinion.
If you feel like anything that I’ve said is completely unjustified, or if you feel like “The Rise of Skywalker” is a masterpiece and I’m just an idiot, please feel free to email me and let me know. I love discussing movies on a friendly basis.
~Barrett Goode, Staff Writer~