OPINION: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Is The Perfect Film For The Casual ‘Star Wars’ Viewer
I’m not super into Star Wars. I saw A New Hope as a pre-teen on New Year’s Eve because it seemed like a film I should probably see. I have a C3P0 necklace that I bought to match the R2D2 necklace I gave to my Star Wars obsessed friend. A year or two after I got the necklaces for the two of us, In 2016, I watched The Empire Strikes Back at her house, not paying close attention. All I really remember is that one garbage shoot scene. A few days later we saw Rogue One in theaters, the prequel to A New Hope. I enjoyed the film, but can admit that it’s possibly the least significant film in the franchise as it doesn’t feature any main characters (unless you count Carrie Fisher’s brief CGI cameo) or have any bearing on the future of the franchise.
This is the extent of my participation in the Star Wars phenomenon. Still, I was willing to shell out the cost of a movie ticket in New York City to see The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. I went in with only my baseline knowledge on Stars Wars gathered from the films I had seen and from the general facts I’ve learned from being a Person In Touch With Pop Culture™. I knew Luke and Leia were twins but didn’t know and kissed that one time, that in current day Princess Leia and Han Solo have an evil son, Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, and am familiar with all that “I am your father” and “may the force be with you” stuff.
The latest film has been met with mixed reviews. Critics and fans alike complain that this final installment doesn’t have a satisfying ending and that the series didn’t have a strong overall trajectory. However, I felt no mixed emotions or disappointment over Rise of the Skywalker – I loved the film.
I didn’t go into the theater extremely invested in the series’s overall ending, and didn’t see the first two films in the new series to track a “trajectory,” so ended up enjoying the film much more than die-hard fans who know all the nuances of the series. The film is packed with action, intrigue, and romance that kept me hooked, while the film wasn’t overly complicated to follow as a sequel. It was pretty easy to gather that Kylo Ren and Daisy Ridley’s character Rey used to be together and that Rey is basically the new Luke. Though I’m sure the first two films flesh out backstories for characters like Rey, Kylo Ren and Finn (played by John Boyega), The Rise of the Skywalker still provided enough flashbacks and explanatory dialogue for me to get a solid grasp on their backgrounds. And I didn’t even know/remember who Palpatine was, but caught on that he was The Big Bad and realized the significance of the plot twist in the film that involves him. I rooted for our heroes, detested the villains, and gripped my seat during emotional and tense moments.
For me, everything that happens in the film made sense, because I saw it through a limited context, not through an extensive knowledge on Star Wars, or even from seeing The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. I wasn’t thinking about unanswered questions from previous films, or if something that happened in The Rise of Skywalker made sense in the overall series. I enjoyed the film more because of my ignorance, coming out of the theater completely happy with the film and its ending. If you’re a hard core Star Wars lover, you should consider taking your slightly-less-invested friend to this one. They’ll probably like it more than you.