TROS Review (Spoilers)

Coleman Brummel, Sports Editor

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) premiered on December 20th in the United States to very mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a professional movie reviewing company, gave TROS a 58%. This is the second-worst review that a movie in the Skywalker saga has gotten. The Phantom Menace, often regarded as the worst movie in the nine movie saga, got 53%. However, fan rating for TROS was very contradictory to what Rotten Tomatoes had originally given the movie. The audience gave the movie an 86%, making it one of the most “fan approved” stories in the franchise.

My opinion of TROS is very similar to the fan score. I think that JJ Abrams, the director of the movie, did a great job wrapping up the Skywalker saga with what he was dealt with. Many people, including myself, thought that The Last Jedi (TLJ) was very lackluster and ruined a nostalgic character like Luke Skywalker. Luke’s treatment of his old Jedi lightsaber was completely out of his character and should have been treated completely different. The Last Jedi not only treated fan favorites like garbage at first, but established a useless character in Rose. The end of The Last Jedi led the beginning of TROS to be very rushed. If this transition between episode eight and nine was more streamlined, it would have gotten even better reviews from fans. Another main problem with TROS that I had was Anakin Skywalker not making an appearance. The chosen one was one of the most anticipated things in TROS, but he never showed up in person in the two and a half hour movie. Not only did we not see Anakin, but the only two force ghosts we got to see were Luke and Leia. This was not only a disappointment but was a key flaw of the movie for me. The addition of force ghosts for notable characters like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Yoda, Kanan Jarrus, Asoka Tano, and others would have set off an explosion of nostalgia for life long fans. Overall these are the only major problems I had with TROS and I think that if JJ wasn’t dealt a horrible hand he would have blown this one out of the park.

 

Although I have a lot of problems with TROS, the positives completely outweigh the negatives. The addition of Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine) was an amazing part of TROS for me. Not only is Palpatine my favorite villain in Star Wars, but he was the perfect antagonist for the ending of the Skywalker Saga. Star Wars has never been predictable, and when I saw the trailer, I was absolutely shocked that Palpatine was making a return. However, I wish that the return of Palpatine was revealed at the end of The Last Jedi because again, the beginning of TROS wouldn’t have been as rushed. The introduction of the Sith planet of Exogal was a great addition that was amazingly creepy, which is just how Palpatine’s secret hideout should be. Kylo Ren repairing his helmet and becoming “Palpatine’s apprentice” brought eerie memories of Vader. I’m also very surprised that Vader/Anakin didn’t play a huge part in this movie. As for Snoke, he seemed like he died way too easy in TLJ and so when we found out that he was a clone I wasn’t very shocked. It seemed like Snoke was a throw away character and a puppet for someone (Palpatine) to manipulate from the beginning of the throne room scene in TLJ. Another key highlight of the movie for me was finding out Rey was a Palpatine. This was a theory I had from the beginning because they move in a similar way and I didn’t believe that she was a nobody. As soon as she shot the lightning out of her hand and “killed” Chewbacca I had a strong feeling that she was a Palpatine. When Rey made her way to the throne room of the Death Star, she faced not only the dark side of herself but Kylo Ren. This was one of my favorite scenes in the movie because it gave a massive flashback to The Empire Strikes Back where Luke saw himself as Darth Vader if he embraced the dark side. The following scene where Kylo Ren and Rey fight was a bit lackluster when compared to other major lightsaber fights, but the twist where Leia whispers to Kylo Ren at the end made it great.

Two other great scenes in the movie were the Ben Solo/Han Solo and the Rey/Luke conversations. Ben Solo turning back to the light was not a surprise to me at all, but I found that it was amazing that his father helped him turn back to the light after Kylo Ren killed him in episode 7. As Ben Solo threw his red lightsaber into the ocean, it was clear that Kylo Ren was gone and Ben Solo was back. On Ahch-To, Rey burns Kylo Ren’s tie fighter and sends a message that she wants to go into exile just like Luke did. When Luke appears, catches, and saves his lightsaber from being burned, I was amazed. This was one of the most powerful moments in the movie because Luke didn’t seem to care at all about the same lightsaber in episode 8. Luke lifting his original X-Wing out of the water just as Yoda did during his training was another powerful scene that brought back good memories to viewers. As Rey reads the resistance to Exogal, Ben Solo feels the need to go as well to help Rey defeat Palpatine. The Rey and Kylo fight versus Palpatine really demonstrated the full power of Palpatine. Sucking the energy out of Ben Solo and Rey made this scene incredible. When he is finally finished depleting all of their energy, we see a newly reborn Palpatine with blood-red sleeves. Outside of his Sith palace, the resistance is losing the battle. Lando’s voice coming over the intercom on Poe’s X-Wing was awesome. Seeing the entire galaxy come to fight the empire was a beautiful way end to the movie. As soon as Rey looked into the sky and asks all the dead Jedi for help, I knew this was going to be a special scene. Hearing all the Jedi voices of the past was by far the best scene in the movie.

The finale of the movie gave people very mixed emotions as Rey buries Anakin and Leia’s lightsabers in SAND and then proclaims that she is a Skywalker. For me, I like the fact that she calls herself a Skywalker because they were the only family that she ever really had. Rey also ignites a new yellow lightsaber made from the ends of her staff to show that she is truly a Jedi.

 

I really liked TROS. I found that it left me on the edge of my seat the entire movie and was a great way to end the final story in the Skywalker saga. Other than a few nitpicky problems, I enjoyed the movie and would call it one of my favorites in the saga.