The “Star Wars” saga is coming to an end. And with STAR WARS – THE RISE OF SKYWALKER leaves fans with a laughing and a crying eye. We reveal why and what this has to do with the audience’s expectations in our review.
The saga is coming to an end…
The plot summary
About a year after the events of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” a familiar, sinister voice rings out across the universe. The leader of the evil First Order, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), sets out to find their origin. Meanwhile, Resistance member Rey (Daisy Ridley) trains to prepare for her ultimate battle. And her friends Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) are desperately gathering information about how the First Order Resistance can finally deliver a fatal blow…
Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker Movie Meaning & ending
End of the Cologne press screening. The lights in the hall come on again. I stand up and at the same time a guy two rows in front of me turns around. He looks at the person sitting next to me, his eyes narrow into dark slits and he barks into the room: “That was shit !” A few minutes later: My colleague and I are standing in front of a subway stop, want to say goodbye, when one happens to see one Colleague speeds past. He’s a huge “Star Wars” fan, but hasn’t always been great with the past films. I ask vaguely: “Hey, how are you?” He replies: “Because, you mean? …It was awesome! The best of the new ones. Really magical!” In other words: “Star Wars” will probably remain the eternal topic of debate that it has become over the decades. With greater reach and greater cross-generational influence comes greater emotional involvement in the matter. And between 1977 and 2019, “Star Wars” was watched, celebrated and analyzed for so many different reasons that some completely opposite perspectives emerged, all of which are defended with the same intensity.
Daisy Ridley is presumably taking on the role of Rey one last time, Adam Driver is Kylo Ren.
And this eclectic pop culture monolith called “Star Wars” is now receiving something of a quasi-closure – disagreements are more inevitable than ever. Is the end of the Skywalker saga, which has so far marked the central element of the “Star Wars” franchise, its brilliant rebellion at the end, its dramatic swan song, its destruction or the consistent thought through to its conclusion? Well, sort of… all of that! Because “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is a huge, cinematic compromise that really struggles to appeal to every kind of “Star Wars” fan, to do justice to everything that is in “Star Wars” and to pay tribute to all of it , what fans get from “Star Wars”. And that’s a completely understandable step: Director JJ Abrams (“Star Wars – The Force Awakens”) ultimately wants to give a huge, contradictory fan base a graduation party. But it is also an approach in which joy and disappointment are side by side. Not least because “Star Wars” developed and changed over a longer period of time than the organically grown Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was also blessed with a quasi-finale a few months ago.
It doesn’t help, however, that the script by JJ Abrams and “Argo” writer Chris Terrio (which also features story ideas from Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly) is piecemeal, while Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely’s ” Avengers: Endgame” script is consistent have pulled through. So you could sit in the Marvel epic, think that “Thor – The Dark Kingdom” is one of the weaker Marvel Studios films, and let Markus & McFeely wrap you around your finger so much that you don’t want to revisit them of the film is stirred until smooth. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” on the other hand, feels as if they tried very hard to appeal to every sub-sector of the fan community, one at a time. As a result, the flow of the narrative and, above all, the mood of the film are constantly disrupted: Oh, you like the excessively mythological element of “Star Wars”, with its superhuman supervillains and the pure heroes? Here’s a long monologue for you, delivered with a greasy laugh! What, do you like the subtleties of the “Star Wars” mythos, such as represented by the shades of gray in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars – The Last Jedi” ? No problem, here’s an action scene for you! Do you like how much the first two “Star Wars” trilogies overlapped structurally? Well, there are some very clear parallels being made here to the previous films. What, you prefer Star Wars to keep reinventing itself? Well, here’s a break from previous Star Wars rules! And now all over again!
What kind of plans does Kylo Ren have?
The storytelling of “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker” stutters away from all obligations and takes a turn from fantasy darkness to fairytale kitsch. “Star Wars” – this film series has already explored so many different shades of the space adventure genre, so this is nothing new per se. It’s just that for the first time everything, no matter how contradictory, is supposed to be in balance, and Abrams and Terrio find it difficult to unite all of this into a coherent overall vision in the hyped-up finale. There are films that offer gaudy silliness and profound tragedy, and yet still seem to be all of a piece. “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker,” meanwhile, is certainly not a blatantly inconsistent film, but it still has this clear aura of compromise. There are regretfully expressed, thoughtful parallels to the tricky political climate of the 2010s right next to nasty, over-the-top black-and-white space soap opera paintings. Everyone should just pick out the set pieces that they love and want to see again – even if there is a risk that some people will sit down in front of the film and get stuck on the elements that they finally wanted to see overcome. Unfortunately, this pessimism is quite understandable, because not everyone gratefully accepts a timid compromise as a big deal. Still, it’s a feat to even reach a compromise on something like Star Wars, and that needs to be respected.
In addition to Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley, both of whom impress with facial intensity and at the same time sensitivity, Dan Mindel’s pictures also contribute to this agreement between the thousands of hearts that beat in the “Star Wars” chest. The “Mission: Impossible III” cameraman finds meaningful, high-contrast long shots that bring back memories of “Star Wars – The Last Jedi,” which is riddled with image metaphors, but his camera also glides steadily but quickly through action scenes that time and again Dynamics from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” emerge. The legendary composer John Williams, in turn, creates a powerful “Star Wars” music best-of that oscillates between rapid melodic guessing and imaginative, highly emotional new arrangements and fusions of several motifs. And in typical “Star Wars” style, Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube allow themselves some creative, playful scene transitions during their editing work. But the settings are very deliberate, so that the editing doesn’t come to the fore quite as much as in the more playful parts of the previous parts.
When it comes to the effects, there’s no complaining: Abrams once again relies on a mostly seamless fusion of haptic and digital elements, and thanks to the impressive (although very rarely breaking new ground) production design, this mishmash is convincing. The design of the action set pieces, on the other hand, has its weak points: there is a lack of resourceful new battle locations and every emotionally underpinned action moment seems to be met with a busy storm of effects that is presented with pride and is allowed to linger on the screen for a while it continues. However, the bottom line is that Abrams intuitively understands how to use fight choreographies to make coherent, non-verbal statements about his characters. The film team’s efforts to give Carrie Fisher as much screen time as possible are much more cramped: the acting icon, who died in 2016, is virtually revived using outtakes, alternative scenes and additional footage from past films as well as thanks to body doubles and has a relatively prominent role in “Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker,” although it sometimes borders on desperation, such as when an entire scene is built around “A few seconds of footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa looks worriedly into nothingness.” From a purely technical point of view, this use of leftovers was a seamless success, but whether one can really do justice to the actress, who has also made a name for herself as a ghostwriter/emergency script improver, by giving her additional, sometimes meaningless film scenes with a lot of noise and a lot of sweat seals ..?
Conclusion: A tightly held together, but occasionally entertaining “Star Wars” general store: The finale of the Skywalker saga aims to serve every facet of “Star Wars” equally, no matter how bumpy such combined contradictions inevitably become. Supported by Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and John Williams’ music, this huge compromise scores more often than the occasionally cramped script would suggest.
“Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker” can now be seen in many USA cinemas.