It is safe to say that 2019 is not just the end of the decade but also the ending of massive movie franchises. April marked the ending of Marvel’s Infinity Saga with the massive Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Beside Marvel, Star Wars also joins with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that symbolizes the ending of the long-going Skywalker Saga. Fortunately, I had the chance to watch the movie two days before the worldwide release since the movie aired on December 18th here in Indonesia and let me tell you, I have lots of things to say. But before we start, I want to give a major spoiler warning! If you haven’t watched the movie yet, please go ahead and watch it first because really, you don’t want to be spoiled.
This massive finale opens with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) fighting lots of natives of Mustafar in order to get an unknown prism-shaped device that seems like a tracker. It was indeed a tracker because Kylo ends up in an eerie never seen before planet. As he travels deeper underground, he finds the menacing Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The two converse as Palpatine asks Kylo to bring Rey to him but he also promises Kylo a brand new and better empire if he joins forces with him. Then the scene shifts to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) playing chess in the Millenium Falcon as they travel to a planet that seems to be one of the hideouts for the Resistance and they get a message that there is a First Order spy. Not long after, Tie-Fighters appear and they have a massive battle in order for Poe, Finn and Chewie to get back to Ajan Kloss where the Resistance base is. Next, we find Rey (Daisy Ridley) who seems to be struggling to call the Jedi before her as a part of her training with Leia (Carrie Fisher).
As Poe, Finn and Chewie return, Leia calls for a meeting and they also discover what Kylo has been searching for a device called the Sith Wayfinder and a broadcast that declares that Emperor Palpatine has returned and he and his followers have been preparing for a war in order for the Sith to rise again. Rey then takes one of Luke Skywalker’s books, that she took from Ahch-To in the previous movie, and discovers that Luke also has been searching for the Sith Wayfinder because two were made. She also finds out that Luke’s voyage stopped at a desert planet called Pasaana.
The trio and Chewie, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and BB-8 go to Pasaana and are stuck in a local festival. They think the festival is the best hiding place but later on, Kylo makes a Force connection with Rey. He finds where Rey is, alerts the Stormtroopers in Pasaana and he goes there with Knights of Ren. Rey quickly alerts the others and a masked man comes to the rescue. That man is later revealed as no other than Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and he tells the gang of a person called Ochi, the person Luke was searching for. The gang then goes to that place but First Order Stormtroopers are close to their tail. When the gang loses them, they find the ship and Rey says that she has seen the ship before. The gang is thrown into quicksand when they lost the Stormtroopers but they find a blade with Sith language written in it as they journey deeper underground. C-3PO manages to translate it but his program stops him from telling the gang what it means so Poe gives the idea to go to a planet called Kijimi where there’s someone that can help them get the translation out.
Unfortunately, as the gang’s about to get out of the planet with Ochi’s ship, Rey senses Kylo’s presence and decides to wait for him. Poe sends Chewie to call for Rey but he got taken away by the Stormtroopers. Rey waits for Kylo and the epic scene we saw in the teaser trailer where Rey backflips to Kylo’s Tie-Silencer plays out. Rey sees Chewie being taken away and she stops the ship with the Force and Kylo also tries to stop her with the Force too. Rey’s power overloaded and unexpectedly and also surprisingly to the fans, lightning blasts from her fingers and blows the ship into pieces, killing Chewie in the process. She then returns to Ochi’s ship, heartbroken and guilty, and the gang flies to Kijimi.
When the gang arrives at Kijimi, they met with a newly introduced character, Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell), a spice smuggler who seems to have a history with Poe since she’s really mad when she sees him. Later on, they went to a little creature called Babu Frik that can help them get the translation of the dagger from C-3PO. Unfortunately, the process wipes all memory that C-3PO has and when they get the translation out, C-3PO doesn’t remember who they are. When the gang’s about to leave, Kylo’s Star Destroyer already hovers above Kijimi City and Rey senses that Chewie is actually alive and aboard the ship so they decide to sneak into the ship. The droids stay behind and Finn and Poe search for Chewie while Rey goes looking for the dagger. When she finds the dagger, Kylo made another Force connection with her and he taunts her and he says that he knows who Rey really is. Rey refuses to know but out of nowhere, Kylo reveals that Rey is a Palpatine. In the midst of anger and shock, Rey fights Kylo through a now hyperrealistic Force connection. During the fight, they knock Darth Vader’s helmet, revealing where she is. Poe, Finn and Chewie are caught by Stormtroopers and General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), a new bad guy in this movie, orders for execution. General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) decides to execute them himself but he kills the Stormtroopers and, another plot twist of this movie, reveals that he’s the spy. He frees Poe, Finn and Chewie to go to Rey but later on, General Pryde kills him.
After they regroup, they follow the dagger and it leads them to Kef Bir, an ocean moon orbiting Endor, where the ruins of Death Star II is located. The gang meets with another new character: Janaah (Naomi Ackie) who says that she can take them to the ruins but they have to wait for the waves to calm down. But Rey, realizing they have no time left, decides to sneak away and goes to the ruins by herself. She travels deeper to the ruins and she discovers Palpatine’s throne room. In the throne room, she’s lured into a new place where she finally finds the Wayfinder and there she faces the vision of the dark version of herself that we saw in the first teaser trailer. During her fight with the vision, the Wayfinder flies out of her grasp and turns out, Kylo’s already waiting. He catches the Wayfinder and destroys it. The two have another epic fight on the ruins above the ocean. The fight heats up but it stops when Leia interrupts as she calls out to Kylo, calling him Ben. Unfortunately, Rey who doesn’t hear Leia, manages to hurt Kylo and at the same time, Leia dies.
Other than Kylo, Rey feels that Leia dies too and she heals Kylo, takes his Tie-Silencer and escapes to Ahch-To where she burns his Tie-Silencer and meets with Force Ghost Luke (Mark Hamill) when she’s about to throw Anakin’s lightsaber into the fire. Then she has a heart-to-heart moment with him and we are shown with a never seen before scene where young Luke is training young Leia, both yielding lightsabers. Luke assures Rey to keep going and so she listens. She goes back to the remains of Kylo’s Tie-Silencer and finds Kylo’s Sith Wayfinder from the beginning of the movie. Luke gives Rey Leia’s lightsaber that he has kept hidden and his X-Wing that was underwater to follow Kylo’s Sith Wayfinder to Exegol, a hidden Sith planet. Meanwhile, Kylo hasn’t left the ruins of the Death Star and that time, he sees his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), as a memory. This time, rather than fighting him, Kylo listens to him and actually calls him dad. Han manages to reassure Kylo that he already knows what he must do and he does have the strength to do it and he also manages to make Kylo throw away his lightsaber and follows Rey to Exegol. During that scene, it is safe to say, that Kylo has finally returned the light side and returning back to Ben Solo.
This movie ends with a massive fight between the Resistance and the First Order that has massive back-up from Palpatine’s army. The Resistance’s so outnumbered but later on, Lando joins the fight with lots of help from people that are loyal to the Resistance. It also ends with Rey and Ben fighting together against Palpatine but he manages to knock them out. Rey fights back as she manages to call for the Jedi before her. This is a very emotional scene since the fans can clearly hear the voices of the Jedi before her like, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker. Unfortunately, she dies right after she finally kills Palpatine. Ben, who we think already died, goes to Rey and he manages to revive her. The two share a sweet kiss before Ben dies and the Resistance wins the war. At the very end of the movie, Rey journeys to Tatooine and goes to Luke’s old home and she buries Anakin’s and Leia’s lightsabers. Then, surprisingly, she takes out a new lightsaber and it glows yellow. A traveler comes and she asks her who she is. Rey only answers her with her first name before the traveler asks her last name. She hesitates but then she sees the Force Ghost of Luke and Leia. Rey smiles and addresses herself as Rey Skywalker rather than her actual name: Rey Palpatine. Then the movie ends with the final shot of Rey looking towards the twin suns of Tatooine, mirroring what Luke once did in A New Hope.
The movie felt like a roller-coaster ride, I can tell you that. The movie was very fast-paced and to be honest, it’s not very much to my liking. This movie kept throwing you new things and it kind of feels like it’s all over the place, almost messy. To be honest, for the pacing of the plot, I like the previous sequel movies more. The Force Awakens had great pacing and it didn’t feel like it was hurried and same goes with The Last Jedi. Those two movies have steady pacing but also still can put you on the edge of your seats. The story for The Rise of Skywalker is great, don’t get me wrong, but like I said before, it feels so messy. There are also some things that were happening too fast. Like the beginning of the movie starts with Kylo already meeting Palpatine in his hideout. I just think that that scene might be showed too soon and I like it better if Palpatine was introduced later even though we already knew that he will appear in this one from the trailers. The plot holes are upsetting too. The one plot hole that I still think until now is where does Rey get her new lightsaber and what does the yellow Kyber crystal mean? For fans who aren’t deep into the lore, like myself, we have to look it up and I just feel like it’s a minus point f0r the movie.
Another thing that isn’t really my favorite is the visual for some scenes and the character arcs for some of the characters. Some of the scenes in this movie were too dark and has lots of flashes that are mainly for Palpatine’s scenes. There’s a scene where Rey is face to face with Palpatine and his followers are watching in the back and I didn’t even know it was his followers until they moved because I can barely see them. For the flashes, I don’t mind but the amount of it makes me slightly dizzy and it can be very hazardous for fans that have epilepsy, so please be careful! Because of those, visual-wise, I got to give The Last Jedi the win for the best visual of the sequel trilogy. Moving on to the characters, I really hate Hux’s arc in this movie. He appears so briefly but his appearance doesn’t feel important. It’s actually kind of upsetting that he decides to be a spy, betraying the First Order when in the previous movies he’s very loyal to it, just because he hates Kylo and he gets killed off not long after the reveal. The arcs for Zorii, Janaah and General Pryde aren’t very clear either but the characters alone still manage to be interesting, though.
Next, the plus point for this movie is that the nostalgia factor is amazing. J.J Abrams really did an amazing job of including some nod backs to the previous movies and a never seen before scene of young Luke and Leia. Yet what tops all the nostalgia factor is definitely the appearance of Lando. I really like the scene where he first appeared and I was so shocked that I shed a tear during that scene. This movie also felt a lot like Return of the Jedi, the plot, the character arc. For some fans, this might be a minus point but I, personally, really enjoyed the parallels this movie has with Return of the Jedi. Also the reveals in this movie were massive and epic. I was so shocked when Rey manages to shoot lightning like Palpatine and when she’s revealed to be a Palpatine. I wasn’t expecting any of that! This movie was also so tear-jerking. I cried so hard when Leia and Ben died.
Another great plus point for this movie is the character development for the main trio is just spot-on. I love how Poe starts with being only a flyer to becoming a General for the Resistance and nailing every command, Finn who starts not knowing anything about the Force to someone who believes it so much and Rey who starts with not knowing who she is and how to control her powers to somebody who ends the Sith for good and saves the whole galaxy. Yet, the character development that I love the most is definitely Kylo’s. I really love how he just develops in every single movie of this trilogy. In The Force Awakens, Kylo just feels like he’s Vader’s biggest fan and he was very temperamental in immature in that movie. Yet in The Last Jedi we can sense his troubled mind; he wanted to stay in the dark side but he’s also questioning himself. Then this movie is just the big finale for him. At the beginning of this movie he’s the big, bad and powerful Supreme Leader of the First Order but then when his mother died, his love for her won and he threw away his lightsaber and finally returned to being Ben Solo. Also, even though I am still very sad about his death, he did die the way Vader did; sacrificing himself for someone that he loves. That’s just a perfect way to end his story. With that, it’s definitely safe to say that Adam Driver has the best performance and, no doubt, the MVP of this movie.
Last but not least and what’s always the perfect thing in every Star Wars movie is the soundtrack. The soundtrack is perfectly made and John Williams nailed his last score for the saga. The ambiance of the soundtrack will send chills all over your body. Like the eerieness of the soundtrack every time Palpatine makes an appearance, or when all the Jedi before Rey calls her name and some of Williams’ best pieces play, or maybe just the fact that Vader’s theme song just constantly plays. It all just felt amazing and my favorite pieces in this movie are “Farewell” and “The Force is with You“.
All and all, this movie just feels so perfect to be a finale of such a big saga. Yes, there are some ups and downs but I, personally, dare to rate this movie an 8/10. I love how this movie makes us wanting more, wondering about our unanswered questions and I really love how when the movie ended, I didn’t want to leave because I really wanted more. I would definitely watch this movie all over again. Now, each person’s opinion of this movie will be different so please respect every opinion and whether you like this movie or not, please keep our fandom away from toxicity in order to keep this fandom the greatest one there is.
Featured image via IMDb.