SPOILERS Star Wars IX - The Rise of Skywalker SPOILERS (Off-Topic)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Thursday, December 26, 2019, 10:05 (638 days ago) @ INSANEdrive
edited by Cody Miller, Thursday, December 26, 2019, 10:09

I saw this yesterday. There's so much to unpack and talk about here I don't really actually know where to start with this one, so if this jumps from place to place and isn't super structured then I'm sorry.

What's this movie about? A simple question that should have a simple answer. But I don't think it has a simple, much less a good answer in this movie. The first thing (other than the frantic almost not existent pacing) that I noticed was the absolute lack of any sort of setups and motivations behind every character. Why not go one by one?

In the last film Poe was humbled. His cocksure attitude was not an asset but a liability, and got him and his friends into deeper trouble as the film went on. By the end that ego and bravado gave way to trust. Trust in his commanders. Trust in his friends. Trust in what's bigger than himself. He learned about the true nature of leadership. And yet, from the very start of TROS he reverts to the cocky arrogant prick he once was. After he landed my first thought was "why is everyone being a dick to each other?". Poe suddenly has beef with Rey for some reason. He yells at her for damaging BB8. He tells her she should be out fighting instead of training. But it's bullshit because: 1. It doesn't really come from anywhere, and 2. As a character conflict it is literally dropped and doesn't effect anything in the film.

It would be one thing if we clearly see him in a situation where Rey refuses to come with, and there be a dramatic loss he suffers where he is sure Rey could have helped. We need scenes to see the resentment fostering at him having to do all the heavy lifting when she can force lift rocks. We need that gulf to widen during the course of the film, so Rey's friends plausibly push her away creating an isolation Kylo could exploit. But… nothing. It doesn't matter and is forgotten about. Much like everything in this movie.

Poe merely ferries characters from Mcguffan to Mcguffan, before finally being promoted to General when Leia dies. Does he take this opportunity to put into effect what he's learned about leadership? To inspire? To make the hard choices? No of course not. He just… gives up. Literally. No rousing speech, no appeal to hope. Just… hey guys sorry but we are fucked. Lando shows up and oh look at that the tide has turned. Not only does this not make any sense for Poe's character, but it's outrageous. At the end of Last Jedi, nobody came when they sent out the distress call. So what happened? What did Lando say to everyone to convince them to come this time?! Just hand waved when it could have been a rousing emotional moment. Forget Lando. Poe should have been the one to go out and rally everyone together, having grown into a true leader and uniting everyone. And we should have seen that. But nope. Out of nowhere.

What about Finn? He goes from caring about nothing but himself and Rey to becoming a part of the rebellion. "I'm rebel scum!" he shouted triumphantly in defiance to Phasma, and by the end ready to give his life to save everyone else instead of run. So where does that go here? Oh wait, he just kind of is in this movie always shouting "Rey!" and not doing anything. No hard choices to make for the cause. And when did he and Poe start going at it? It makes no fucking sense. They are on each other for no real reason that I could tell. What did Finn have to tell Rey? Why constantly bring it up when there's nothing to do with it? Why pair Finn with a character you introduce late who is 'just like him'? Why not pair him with Rose? As someone else rightfully pointed out, you learn things from people who are not like you. There's no drama and catharsis in just being like "Oh hey, you were taken as a kid too? Wow cool. Let's go fight together!".

Hux. Why is he helping them? "I don't care if you win, I just want Kylo to lose". Ug. We need to see this discontent grow. Like every other character in this film we're simply told what they feel but we are never shown why. I kind of get it, as Kylo is being a petulant brat at the end of TLJ, but they simply needed to butt heads more for this to make and sense or track. He was perfectly fine with blowing up planets and crushing the rebellion before. We need to see him change his mind. Did you know a scene was cut out where Hux has at it with Kylo in the opening? He yells at him for chasing ghosts. Not much but it'd have been something.

What does Rey want? Why is she training to be a Jedi? She wants to find her place in the world? Discover who she is? Then why does she get that easy answer? You're a Palpatine. You and Kylo have a dyad. Here's where you are meant to be. It's much more interesting for her to forge her own identify. Realize that family isn't just blood but a bond of friendship blah blah oh well I guess the force doesn't belong to everyone and it's just about lineage and dynasty.

We never get any of the necessary emotional stuff with the characters, and instead are forced along at a manic pace from scene to scene, battle to battle, relevant motivations only shouted in passing as it's all a blur. Take away all the fetch quests and spend that screen time on the character work. It won't be boring if you create the emotional conflicts to drive the rest of the story. Create a character for a momentary conflict, meet her for 5 minutes, then have her conveniently give you the thing you need to keep the story going. No history or actual change, but the illusion of such. Why does C3P0s sacrifice ring hollow? I want to look at my friends one last time he says. Really? Your friends? What exactly have you all done together to make you want to call them your friends?!

None of it worked. The score from the original is played at an emotional moment, and you feel feelings by proxy. The action scenes were the epitome of chaos cinema. Did they forget to watch this on a big screen? The camera shaking, the movement, it's all incomprehensible. Every moment rendered an assault of sound and image such that I was pummeled into excitement. The final battle had no climatic buildup. Remember the Death Star in a new hope? How one by one the pilots we got to know are slowly picked off, as the chances for success get slimmer and slimmer until all seems lost. Did you ever feel anything even close to that? Never since transformers has so much action been so phenomenally uninteresting.

It's all texture. All nostalgia. It's the smooth talking con man who gets you to believe only for you to be left holding nothing. It's all sad and cynical. What is it about?


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