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Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

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I have seen Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker and in addition to covering the film, I'll give my thoughts on the Sequel Trilogy as a whole in a separate post, so things don't get too long. (I recommend reading both just so you're able to get a full sense of where I'm coming from.)

First, Episode 9: In the following weeks since its release, I'd been hearing a wide variety of opinions about the film: some liked it, some hated it, and some were indifferent. so I knew it was going to be an interesting experience either way.

What did I think?: I actually...kind of liked it and had fun, leaving the theater with a big dumb grin on my face. HOWEVER, I do acknowledge that there are also a lot of problems with it.

Does the Emperor feel needlessly wedged in? Yep.

Are cameos from the Original Trilogy here just for the sake of nostalgia and catering to fans? Yep.

Are characters and plot elements introduced just to muddy the waters of how things turn out in the end and in some cases, just left hanging? Pretty much.

Was it inconsistent in certain cases with the other films? Definitely yes.

 J.J. Abrams is usually known for his "mystery box" method of storytelling, sometimes not even giving answers to things he's set up, so I went into the screening curious to see what he was going answer, if anything,  how he was going to answer them, and if they were going to be any good. Indeed, when two twists were revealed back to back, I instantly feared the movie was going off the rails. But, as I thought about it, I realized that they made sense and did tie in pretty well to the previous two films, with certain hints being given. One of which even added more depth and tension to a main character's arc, which I found satisfying (I will admit though that I found the execution of that other twist still pretty stupid). On that level, I was able to accept most of the twists and revelations in the story and just go along with it, but I can see how others may not care for it.

Some other positives: The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and it is awesome to see a number of new species and planets introduced, especially with puppets. A lot of the action scenes are pretty fun, it was nice to see some of the cameos from the Original Trilogy like Lando and Wedge, it was neat to see Luke as a wise and more upbeat master, and in particular, Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa received a touching and emotionally satisfying send-off.

Overall, The Rise of Skywalker has a number of solid positives that should be seen, but it also has a number of problems as well. Ultimately, I'd consider it a middle of the road Star Wars film.

Will I ever watch The Rise of Skywalker again? Maybe, if it's on TV again or a friend wants to watch it. Will my opinion change if I watch it again? Most likely.

As a big Star Wars fan, why am I giving this a pass and yet was so conflicted about The Last Jedi, you may ask? I'll get into more detail about it in the Sequel Trilogy post, but will hint that it involves the words "fandom" and "corporation". Also, another thing J.J. Abrams is known for is making simple escapist entertainment and, as I was having a bit of a bad day mixed with the issues hinted at above, viewing it just as a random big action-packed space opera adventure and not as a Star Wars film was just what I need to feel better, so I may be a bit bias in that regard. (If that reasoning is a bit confusing, don't worry, it'll make sense in the next post).

A lot of people maybe/probably are heavily disappointed by the film, but if you watch it with a more casual mindset, its a pretty fun time.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5