The Stars Wars series has so many ups-and-downs that you can rightfully call it the roller-coaster of Hollywood.
On one hand, you have state-of-the-art special effects that leave you bedazzled during epic space battles, memorable music scores and thrilling lightsabre duels.
On the other, you have unnecessary plot twists and comically unnatural dialogue that will leave you wringing your hands and crying out, “Who talks like that?!”
When Disney bought over Lucasfilm back in 2012, there were fears from fans that the endearing heart of the film series will be lost thanks to the machinations of the House of Mouse.
After three films produced under the watchful eye of Disney, these fears might just be proven true after all.
The Force Awakens is a not so courageous attempt at retracing the steps of A New Hope, whereas The Last Jedi was a unique but polarising film that left the franchise’s fan base in a state of civil war.
Creates even more plot holes than it solves
Now, in a desperate attempt to remedy the issues caused by The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker tries to play it safe but ends up creating even more plot holes than it solves.
Directed by JJ Abrams, who helmed The Force Awakens, this film stars the returning cast of Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.
In addition to the new crew, this film also brings back some familiar faces including Ian McDiarmid, taking up the cowl of Emperor Palpatine once more.
The film also features the late Carrie Fisher, whose unused scenes from previous films were cobbled together to ensure that her character Princess Leia departs with dignity.
So, what’s the story about?
The Resistance is still struggling against the mighty First Order, and this time the master villain of the original trilogy, Emperor Palpatine shows his ugly, wrinkled face again.
Of course, the villains threaten the safety of the galaxy and it is up to the plucky heroes to stop it.
Some fans have complained that the Marvel films are incredibly formulaic, which is true, but Marvel films have been consistently good and coherent, steadily leading to a central plot point.
Star Wars on the other hand doesn’t seem to understand that a film series really ought to build towards a finale that ties all its components neatly.
The Last Jedi, for all its faults, raised many interesting questions regarding the characters.
The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t bother answering most of them and in fact, hand-waves the lot of them.
In its desperate attempt not to answer any of those questions, it made many decisions that left fans scratching their heads.
The interaction between Rey and Kylo Ren
As in the previous two films, the interaction between Rey and Kylo Ren are perhaps the sole saving grace of the film.
The relationship between the two characters, who are played excellently by Ridley and Driver respectively, should have been better explored from the start of the trilogy.
After all, you have Rey who fears giving in to the Dark Side and you have Kylo, who doubts his own commitment to it.
Unfortunately, this is not given the time it deserves, as the film’s focus swings between them and the far less interesting side quests that the rest of the resistance heroes go on.
Things that were alluded to in the previous two films end up having disappointing resolutions.
The Knights of Ren fizzle out in combat
One blatant example is how the Knights of Ren, the supposedly fearsome military order Kylo leads, turn out to be about as combat-effective as Jar Jar Binks.
In fact, there are so many plot building opportunities in this film that were not built up to in the slightest.
The most obvious one is the survival of the Emperor. There is nothing in the previous two films that indicates he survived the events of Return of the Jedi.
In fact, his survival makes Anakin Skywalker’s redemption and death somewhat meaningless.
Another is when the film indicates it is about to make its characters suffer long-term consequences, but it never has the courage to go through with it.
Having characters make great sacrifices adds to the value of the character.
Without having the guts to make consequences permanent, nothing of value is gained and the character loses the chance to grow.
Ultimately, while The Rise of Skywalker still has the signature flashy visuals and lightsabre battles of the franchise, there are so many missed opportunities and irritating decisions that unfortunately make the film seem hollow.
Watch the film if you want to keep updated on the Star Wars franchise, but don’t expect to walk out completely satisfied.