The Rise of Skywalker: A Thought-Provoking End to One of the Most Impactful Movie Franchises of All Time

By Brandon Barrett.

WARNING: Article contains spoilers. 

A nearby ship has exploded, lighting up the otherwise darkened sky around you.  You duck to the left in an attempt to avoid the falling debris. As you swerve, a large thud occurs, and your entire ship shakes. Suddenly, the droid behind you pipes up. You hear its clicks and beeps and immediately realize: you’ve been hit!  Panicking, you begin to look for a safe spot to land where you can make some quick repairs. It is at this point that you reach around as if searching to engage your landing gear.  However, in reality, you’re searching for popcorn to munch on. You are also not a pilot. Instead, you are sitting in the theater with your family, enjoying the last installment in a forty-two-year-long saga: The Rise of Skywalker.

The plot of the movie picks up after the events of The Last Jedi.  Kylo Ren, using a new device called a Sith Wayfinder, which shows a user the location of the Sith planet of Exegol, has tracked down the evil Emperor Palpatine. On the mysterious planet, Palpatine promises Ren an empire of his own if he brings Rey to him. Ren agrees to this deal. Meanwhile, Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca are picking up a message that reveals the potential existence of a spy within the First Order. However, they are caught by TIE fighters, which chase them throughout the galaxy. On a jungle planet where the Resistance is hiding out, Rey and Leia are training in the ways of the Jedi while the rebels try to understand a mysterious message created by the presumed-late Palpatine when Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca return and reveal the dismal news: Palpatine has definitely returned.This sets up the rest of the plot, where audiences were taken on one, last epic journey through the galaxy.

Although the film was an overall success, there were some plot elements that could have been handled far better. First off, the beginning part ran on for far too long.  It should have been cut down significantly, or at the very least have had a bit more significance. Second, the Wayfinder was not the most authentic plot device.  There could have been a much more interesting way to tell that story, such as trying to decode mysterious Jedi texts or exploring the moons of the Endor system in the first place. Finally, the main criticism of this movie was the kiss between Rey and Kylo. It was forced and made no sense in the plot. Sure, them having a connection was fine – it made logical sense – but a romance just feels forced and odd.

Despite these flaws, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit.  I loved the ending – from the moment Rey arrived on Exegol to the ending when she returns to where the series first began over forty years ago.

I also enjoyed the comedy in this movie, particularly with the dynamic between C3PO and everyone else.  I also adored how they ended Leia’s arc, with her giving her life to save Kylo. I think Carrie Fisher would have approved. I also really liked the scene where Ren and Rey destroy Darth Vader’s helmet, symbolizing that Kylo Ren, just like his grandfather, would turn over to the light side and sacrifice his life.  The interactions between Finn and Jannah were fantastic; especially when they attack the Starkiller Base together. Plus, Zorii Bliss is a great new character.

Overall, I really liked this movie, and I believe it made a fitting conclusion to the series.  Just remember: the force will be with you, always.

Brandon Barrett is a freshman at North Royalton High School, and he has many different hobbies, including reading, listening to music, and watching movies.  He is also involved in many different clubs at North Royalton High School, including Spirit Club, Science Club, Fish Club, and Spanish Club. When he graduates high school, he hopes to go to college and become a scientist.