By: Justin Hopkins
I should start by saying I am not the biggest Star Wars fan. Outside of the Clone Wars Cartoon, The Mandalorian, and I had a lot of interest in whose Rey’s parents were. I haven’t had much interest in the series in general. Why am I saying all this you might ask? Two reason, to heighten just how much I enjoyed this entry in the Star Wars Library, and to keep any potential spoilers out of the intro paragraph on social media. Like some pages gleefully ignore. With that out of the way, lets jump in and take a closer look at the end of the Skywalker Saga.
The movie opens with it’s usual crawl explaining what is happening, with Palpatine returning. Sending out a mysterious radio message. General Leia has sent out spies to try and find out what is going on and The Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is killing anyone who gets in his way, and that is who we jump to. Kylo is manhandling and killing everyone in his way to retrieve this triangle devise. That leads him to the Sith Homeworld and the Emperor Palpatine was waiting. Offering him everything he wants, including a massive fleet and idea of succeeding where Vader failed, but he has to kill the scavenger (Rey). We go from there to Chewbacca, Poe, and Finn. Going to get intel from a spy, and just as they are getting it. Are attacked by Tie Fighters and a crazy space chase breaks out where Poe is Lightspeed skipping the Falcon and amassing a lot of damage in the process. Meanwhile, Rey is training with her new Master General Leia. Trying to draw in the Jedi of old, but can’t, and in her frustration goes to run the training course. Where she has a Force vision of her taking Palpatine’s throne, and it obviously jolts her. When talking to Leia about not feeling worthy of Luke’s Lightsaber and giving it back. When the crew returns, gets into an argument with Poe. It starts off small, but it’s really over the fact that she is their best fighter and not on the field. They finally hold the meeting over what the spy gave them, which is not only confirmation of Palpatine being alive, but plans on executing what is being called, ” The Final Order.” Rey recognizes the name of the planet from Luke’s notes and along with Poe, Fin, Chewy, and C3PO. Go out to start where he left off and find the planet before the Final Order begins and while I am going to talk way way more about what happens. Going to back of the story for those who really need to go and watch, but I will go in depth from here out, so if you haven’t watched it. Come back after.
I really enjoyed the story that they were telling here. How they had to go directly to the source of the dark side of the force and deal with the biggest threat they had ever had to face in Palpatine, who in my opinion, never looked stronger than he does here. The amount the resistance had to go against felt like the stakes were at their highest. Important to have for a final fight of this magnitude. To even get to that point though was captivating, especially when it came to Rey and Kylo. Kylo coming off like the powerhouse enemy, that he has only shown glimpses of so far. Rey not only having her powers growing at an alarming rate, but getting more and more scared as they start to turn toward more darkside. Unaware of what her lineage to Palpatine, which I got wrong, my money was on Kenobi till they announced the return of Palpatine. Even still, they did a good job conveying. Gave her another dynamic then simply good fighting dark, but someone who could easily access the dark side, but resists because that is not who she is and together, they were amazing. The fight scenes they had felt unique and different. Their connection through the force was so well done. Switching from her location to his was seamless. Even passing stuff off to one another. All of which succeeded due to the talented Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.
Ever since this trilogy started, Daisy Ridley’s Rey has been the only real highlight, in my opinion. Watching her come up from a lowly scavenger to being a powerhouse force user in such a rapid time. Believing in the good when there was nothing else their and Daisy really ramped it up in this. Her emotional distress over the idea that she might end up turning to the dark side visibly shaking her. To the point where she was ready to isolate herself to an island to make sure it didn’t happen and Daisy did a wonderful job portraying all of it and her Lightsaber battles were great. On the other side of that, Adam Driver at long last, got to play the cool, powerful villain I thought he could be. So, sure that he could turn Rey and take out the Emperor to start his own reign. And I will be the first to admit, after him killing Han, didn’t believe there was any good way to turn him back to the good side, but Adam pulled it off. The pain he experienced losing his Mother and Rey saving his life. The heartfelt reunion he had with Han. As his swan song with the character. Adam definitely delivered.
There is so much more that I can go into here, but for one last positive, as I said at the beginning, I enjoyed the Clone Wars and while Cad Bane and Maul were big reasons. Ahsoka Tano was the biggest and was thrilled that her voice was part of the Jedi Voices, pushing Rey on at the end. To see one of my favorites get some recognition was a real joy. Glad we got all of them involved, but Ahsoka the most.
Now, as much as I have praised this movie so far. There were certainly some negatives. That being Poe and Finn particularly at the start. Finn just came off as dumb at times. They all recognize Rey as the strongest, stop trying to charge into her fights. It got really annoying real fast. It got much worse than that and it revolves around C3PO. When you have a beloved character, who is essentially wiping his memory, in a a big emotional moment (That was ruined by the trailers, thanks for that.) it does not help when Poe and Finn has been blatantly ignorant to C3PO. The entire thing just means nothing to them, even when he is giving his heartfelt speech. The only one to show anything, was Rey, and it lead to me not caring at all about Poe or Finn the rest of the way through. Know it lead to him being more of a joke than before, but C3PO has been here since the start and in nearly every version of Star Wars. If they weren’t going to show this mattered. Than it may have been better to not even have them there.
I know there is a lot of reviews saying otherwise, but in my opinion, this was a stellar way to bring about the end of the Skywalker Saga. It’ll probably land as my favorite among the movies. You have a lot of callbacks and fanservice to go along with the Rey storyline. I strongly suggest checking this out in theaters as soon as possible. Final Grade: A+
Thank you for reading.