A Deep Dive into the Terrible Plot of Rise of Skywalker.
The Rise of Skywalker opening crawl says that the Emperor is back! That would have been a great reveal to have onscreen. That is the take away of the Disney Star Wars trilogy, what happens offscreen is more exciting then what we are shown. This reveal should have happened during the film, not in the crawl. The message could have been the Snoke was still alive, and then when confronted Palpy jumps out and says boo! Way better. I mean if Palpatine can return, then why can’t Snoke?
Of course, just bringing Palpatine into the film is a bad move in the first place. If Palpatine is alive, then Anakin didn’t kill him, did he? Anakin’s sacrifice means nothing now. There is a way to sort of have your cake and eat it too, though; if you explain Palpatine’s return the right way. Let’s say for instance, that Palpatine’s body was destroyed in the Death Star explosion, but his essence is clinging to life. Palpatine is living in clone bodies, but even clones of Ian Mcdiarmid are not strong enough to contain his power, and he keeps burning through them. This then creates a reason than he might use a clone puppet to try and hold onto power, so Snoke makes more sense, and creates a reason why he might be trying to groom a Force user into becoming strong enough to hold his essence. Maybe he’s trying to create a vessel that will survive if he inhabits it. Yeah. We don’t get that. Palpatine’s return isn’t explained, the closest we get is: “The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Which reminded me of Maz Kanata’s line from TFA, “A good story, for another time.”
The power of the Final Order (Palpatine’s Faction) is unexplained. They have hundred(s) of crewed super-powered Death Star Destroyers. How? We get no answer for this. Considering how hard the movie makes getting to Exegol, where did all these people come from? On a planet which is shown to be barren and shitty, how did they have enough resources to make so make ships? Why were they buried? If the First Order is a puppet organisation of the Palpatine anyway, why did he spend time building this fleet and the time spent building Starkiller Base?
The opening Finn-Poe-Chewy scene has them getting data from a spy in the First Order. As they run away, they are chased by TIE fighters. Finn is on the guns, shooting some of them down, then I think they hyperdrive through an ice wall (Holdo manoeuvre apparently doesn’t work at this point in the movie) or maybe they shoot through the ice then hyperdrive, it isn’t clear. Even if they do, apparently there are no ice chunks they can hit in the way. Then Falcon hyperdrives three times in 40 seconds, during which Finn teleports from the gunner chair to the cockpit, for reasons. In the OT, there are scenes that explain that they have to take the time to plot the hyperdrive jumps, and others that explain that hyperdrive doesn’t work in a gravity well. In this scene, they jump without plotting and they jump into and out of gravity wells. Basically, hyperdrive doesn’t work like that. But then again, blank doesn’t work like that is the theme of this movie.
TIE fighters have hyperdrives now? They didn’t use to in the OT. I know this seems like a nitpick, but it’s going to come back up.
We meet Rey levitating herself off the ground and floating two rings of rocks around her like The Last Airbender. She is trying to contact dead Jedi, but she is unable. She becomes frustrated and quits immediately, and does nothing else in the film to address this “struggle.” She then runs a training course where she shows off how awesome she is. Kylo touches Vader’s mask and takes over the training droid that Rey is battling. All of a sudden, Rey who has had no trouble at all, suddenly struggles to defend herself. In this scene, she has already deflected many blasts while blindfolded, yet now unhindered she takes a shot to her shoulder. There is a quick montage of things to come and things that have passed because this movie needs more quick shots. Rey beats the droid with a stick, because of course she does, then starts to have dark thoughts. Rey will battle against the dark side during the film. She will talk of thoughts and visions not shown onscreen that make her fear the dark side. We only ever see this struggle as exposition and none of her actions is any different than they would be otherwise and when she does face a dark apparition, she isn’t tempted by it. No matter what she says, I never felt like she had any chance of falling to the dark side. She does however, not act like a Jedi in this film, acting from emotion often and exhibiting dark side powers without explanation.
I know it’s a small thing, but there is a line where Rey says “Yes, Master,” to Leia. Leia should have been a Master in these movies, but she isn’t. Sorry guys, there are no take backsies in my kingdom. If you wanted Leia to be a Jedi Master, you should have written it into the first film. Luke takes three years to become a Jedi Knight, Leia can’t have spent the time to become a Jedi and being a mother and an important political figure in the New Republic. It takes time and dedication to become a Master; it’s not a rank where you get promoted if everybody else is dead.
This is part of a bigger gripe I have. Carrie Fisher shouldn’t have been in this movie. They did the best they could with the scenes they had, but it’s not like they had filmed any scenes at all when she passed. They decided to repurpose old footage, outtakes, and cut scenes; which don’t make for a stellar performance. It’s not so much the performance itself, but the other actors and cuts they needed to do to make them work. You get scenes of the back of Leia’s head while a voice actor imitates her voice. They do a good job, but it stands out as a weird scene because when do you ever have a scene of someone talking with their back to the screen? More than once another actor says what Leia is thinking. “She knows what she needs to do…” Umm… no, thank you. I admire the sentiment behind having here in the film, but I think they missed the mark. Also, they probably could have done without the opening crawl’s first words be: “The dead speak!” or having Leia essentially die from overdosing on the Force, but we’ll get to that.
There is also a thing where Rey is trying to “earn” Luke’s lightsaber. An important step to becoming a Jedi is the construction of your own lightsaber, not borrowing other people’s or getting legacy sabers. Sure, Luke is given Anakin’s saber in A New Hope, but in Return of the Jedi Vader says “You have constructed a new lightsaber, your skills are complete.” This is not a thing that Rey needs to do, for reasons.
The interaction between Poe, Finn, and Rey (since the film takes place a year after TLJ, so they should know each other pretty well) is supposed to be light-hearted banter, I think. But it comes across as chastisement. When Poe lands and the Falcon is damaged Rey chastises him for being reckless, he chastises her for not being in the fight against the First Order, because apparently she has been focusing on training. The bickering doesn’t make it seem like they respect each other. They talk quickly and try to pull the audience along with them.
They tell us what the spy’s message was. Palpatine is back. He’s been building a fleet for years; it will attack all free worlds in 16 hours.
Rose asks “Do we believe this?” and an unnamed resistance fighter (played by Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in Lord of the Rings [his character name in this film is “Beaumont” but I don’t think anyone onscreen uses it. I had to look it up on IMDB]) says “Dark science, cloning, secrets only the Sith knew.” Yep. That’s all we are going to get. They automatically believe that Palpatine is alive, and commit all of their Forces based on this. It would have made a great trap, but since Admiral Ackbar isn’t around, I guess they can’t do traps in Star Wars anymore.
He’s been building a fleet for years. OK, where did he get the resources for this? Never mind.
He will attack in 16 hours. Well, then we are buggered I guess. Hyperspace travel takes time; you remember when Obi-Wan was training Luke on the Falcon back on the OT? Any of the many conversations that have happened between characters during hyperspace flight? Now travel is instant. And it’s not a new ship that can do this; it’s the Falcon. Oh, they changed how hyperdrive works mid trilogy? That makes Disney Star Wars feel cohesive.
Our heroes are trying to decide what to do when Rey tells them that she has Luke’s journal and that they need to go on a fetch quest. Apparently Luke’s journal was one of the books she stole from the Jedi temple in TLJ, and Luke was looking for the plot device that they need to fetch this movie. Convenient.
R2D2 gets thrown out of this film after the earlier Falcon scene. I don’t know why Disney hates him, but they decided to give his role to BB-8 for some reason (I’m guessing toy sales), so when all of our heroes decided to go on the fetch quest with Rey; Poe, Finn, Chewy, BB-8, and C3PO go with her and R2D2 stays behind. R2’s presence will be missed in a couple scenes and would render some of the plot threads inert if he were on board.
When they find out the contents of the spy’s message it is night time; then when they leave it is day time. Didn’t they only have 16 hours before the Final Order attacks?
Before the leave, there is a scene between C-3PO and R2D2, and another between Rey and Leia, where they are foreshadowing character’s deaths. “If I don’t come back from this mission,” and “tell me when you get back,” are lines that punch the audience in the face with the impending deaths of characters who are not sick and are not going on particularly dangerous missions.
Meanwhile, Kylo Ren is getting his helmet welded back together. Even though he will only wear it a couple more times in the film. This is the second rebuke of TLJ (the first being that lightspeed skipping is a strategy to defeat the hyperspace trackers). Does he wear a helmet or not? Make up your mind guys.
After he gets his helmet back, he goes to the First Order and tells them that they are getting help from Palpatine. General Pryde says that the Final Order’s ships will increase the First Order’s power by 10,000 fold. If they are so much more powerful than the First Order, why are they allying with them? Why wouldn’t they just take the galaxy for themselves? Since the First Order took over the galaxy in the crawl for TLJ (another poke at TLJ) how is it that the power housed at a single star system can add so much to them, remember, they took control of the galaxy after Starkiller Base was destroyed. But it would seem that we have to race through the plot, so when one guy asks what the Emperor wants in return for these ships Kylo kills him for trying to fix plot holes.
It’s also brought up in this scene that they need to steal more children to man these ships. Child stealing isn’t exactly a stellar model for galactic domination. It breeds revolts and there is considerable lead time and training involved. I suppose you don’t have to pay them? Maybe? This is world-building that is never addressed again in the film. The Disney trilogy has been harping on about child stealing since TFA, but it hasn’t done a damn thing about it. I guess if you defeat the First Order, you stop the child stealing, but every soldier you kill is an abducted child, so it starts to get real murky in the moral department.
The good guys reach Pasana. A planet celebrating a party they only have once every 42 years. There is apparently always First Order patrols on planets like these according to Poe, which speaks to the First Order’s control over the galaxy; if they have so many men they can assign random patrols in such places, but hey let’s not think about that.
Upon arriving Rey is given a necklace by a little girl and asked what her name is, Rey responds that she doesn’t have a family name, that she is just “Rey.” This is a weird moment that feels forced as hell. It is obviously going to come up again.
Immediately after being given the necklace, Rey and Kylo enter the first Force Skype of the movie. Rey delivers exposition about Kylo’s state of mind; he is apparently haunted, even though we see zero evidence of this. The Kylo steals the necklace from Rey and it is transported to his ship. From Force Skype to Force teleport. I have no idea exactly how far apart the two are, but distances in the Star Wars universe are measured in thousands of light-years. Doubling down on the single droplet of rain that lands on Kylo’s hand in TLJ, now whole items can be transported through this bond. This taxes neither of the pair at all, which I bring up because this film also doubles down on another TLJ addition, death by Force overdose. As Luke dies in TLJ from over Forcing himself, several characters will die from Force overdose in this film. Teleporting a necklace, or other matter later, will not cause this, even though the energy involved would be astronomical.
Nor is Rey surprised by this teleporting. She immediately realises that Kylo will be able to use the necklace to deduce their location, but she does not indicate that Force teleport is a new power to her. This begs the question of why she would not be hyper-vigilant about having an item on her that could identify her location. She has spent the last year living on a secret base that Kylo has an interest in finding so he can kill the Resistance, but this hasn’t come up before? At no point after training did she have a leaf from the forest on her that Kylo could use to identify the planet? How much stuff can be teleported through this Force teleport anyway? Could Kylo have teleported Leia earlier when she was hugging Rey? Taking out the General of the Resistance would come in handy.
The very next scene after getting the necklace has a First Order officer telling Kylo that they have analysed it and identified where it came from. That was very quick. I don’t know what analysis they did, but those First Order ships are pretty big, just moving the necklace to the lab, and for some reason back again to Kylo (the officer is holding the necklace) would take longer than what is shown in the film.
They meet Lando. C-3PO introduces them and Rey says “We know who is is, 3PO.” I know it’s a nitpick, but the education of Rey is inconsistent in the extreme. She knows Han as a smuggler but not as a General; she thinks Luke is a myth, and she knows who Lando is? Her level of knowledge varies surprisingly as the plot needs it.
After Lando expositing that they need to find the plot device that leads to another plot device, they run off, and Poe starts to hotwire a speeder. Finn asks how he knows how to do that. Why? Poe’s a resistance operative with exception piloting skill, he has to have a level of mechanical knowledge, so why question it? Because they are retconning Poe’s back story in this film over what was the previous canon. I’m not talking about Disney getting rid of the old EU, Poe’s back story was released in comics and the visual dictionary for TFA. I guess JJ Abrams forgot about those.
As they speed off into the desert, troopers speed after them and Rey shoots at them with a blaster. This begins the part of the film where Rey forgets that she has the Force. She could disable the speeders, but that would be too easy. She could deflect the blaster bolts with her lightsaber, something we’ve seen her do in this film, but no. This is another clear time when the editing of the film is confusing because the troopers are behind her yet the blasts are clearing coming from in front of her. The troopers are defeated but both of the heroes’ speeders are blown up and they both land in the same patch of magic black quicksand.
As they are eaten by the quicksand Rey forgets that we saw her levitating at the start of the film.
After the quicksand eats all of our heroes, they fall out the bottom of the sand into a cavern where none of the quicksand falls. Why does this happen? Because the plot needs it to.
As they are eaten by the quicksand, thinking that they are going to their deaths, Finn says “Rey, Rey, I never told you, Rey!” This begins a plot thread that will not be finished in the film. Why leave this in if you aren’t going to resolve it? Rey will bring it up again after they fall through and Poe will ask Finn later as well. When I got to the end of the film, my first question was “What was Finn’s thing?” I guess we’ll never know.
After conveniently landing in a cave, they wander for about 10 seconds before conveniently coming across a speeder that has a hood ornament that C-3PO identifies as a Sith loyalist emblem. This was clearly put in the film so that when they find Ochi’s body they know that they found him and not a random corpse, yet it does break canon. The Empire did not make it widely known that Palpatine was a Sith, so there were no Sith loyalists. Another retcon of the OT.
They find Ochi’s dagger. C-3PO tells them that the location of the Wayfinder is inscribed on the dagger, but he cannot translate it. What are the rules for this? He says that his programming doesn’t allow for him to translate the dagger, yet isn’t it a translation to tell them that the location is on it? Never mind, the plot needs to move on.
A huge serpent rises up behind 3PO, and when the others are about to attack Rey decides to take a different tack. She heals the serpent. She explains to BB-8 “I just transferred a bit of life, Force energy from me to him.” Force healing is one of the three biggest problems with this film, Palpatine coming back and the abilities of Force Ghosts round out the OT shattering trilogy. Force healing did exist in the old EU, but never in the movies. When looking at the movies Force healing makes a big difference. Obi-Wan could have healed Qui-Gon, Anakin could have healed his mother, Luke could have Force healed Vader, hell Vader could have Force healed Vader, since we are shown that Force healing heals so good it removed scars. You can find reasons that none of the characters above could act, but even if Anakin can’t Force heal, there must be Jedi that can, so why would he go to Palpatine for that knowledge? Anakin’s fall doesn’t happen in the prequels if anyone in universe has ever done Force healing. So maybe Rey invented it? Well, Kylo’s going to use it in this film too, so that doesn’t work either.
They head to Ochi’s ship, which works after sitting unattended in a desert for 20 years, but Rey wanders off because she can feel Kylo. We get that scene from the trailer of Rey taking down Kylo’s ship. Why doesn’t Kylo shoot her? If he doesn’t want to shoot her, why does he try to run her over? Why does she leap over the fighter and attack it when she has been shown to be able to throw her lightsaber? This is one of those concept scenes where I think they thought of it then tried to find a way to get it into the film. But it doesn’t make any sense. After Rey cuts off one of the wings it crashes, then explodes. So I guess Kylo is dead.
Before anything else happens, Finn tells Rey that “They’ve got Chewy,” pointing to a troop carrier that is taking off. Rey holds out her hand and stops a moving ship, with active engines, with the Force. Well, that could have come in handy when Count Dooku was escaping, but clearly Rey is more powerful than Yoda. Kylo shows up without a scratch because explosions don’t hurt him when the plot is his armour, and reaches out with the Force and begins to pull the ship around with the Force too. Apparently Kylo is more powerful than Yoda too. As they battle for the ship, Rey accidently shoots Force lightning at it and it explodes. Because Force lightning is something that you can accidentally do now. She believes that she has just killed Chewy, plus a bunch of defenceless storm troopers, but don’t worry, she isn’t going to dwell on it.
Kylo, who’s standing maybe 100 metres away from Rey, lets her run to Ochi’s ship and fly off, even though he has just been shown to be powerful enough to move a ship in flight.
Chewy is shown to be alive because there were two transports. Because the audience now knows this, when our heroes learn of this revelation, it will be meaningless.
Poe updates our timeline; there are only 8 hours left before Palpatine’s attack. They decide that they have to go to Kijimi, as they leave we see that the Knights of Ren followed them.
When they get to Kijimi they run around until Zorii Bliss captures them, completing the retcon of Poe’s backstory (he was a spice runner), then Rey beats up the whole gang. Considering that this planet is crawling with stormtroopers, it’s surprising that no one notices a battle in the streets. After being “beaten” (Rey is pointing the lightsaber at Zorii, but Zorii still has her gun pointed at Rey, if she fired there is no way that Rey could deflect it), Zorii is now on Rey’s side.
Now it’s time for 3PO to read the Sith on Ochi’s dagger, but at the cost of having his mind wiped. They are at a black market droid smith who can’t back up a droid’s memory? What happens if the droid they are hacking has more than one message they want to read? 3PO looks at the group of Poe, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 and says “I’m taking one last look at my friends.” There is no one in that group that he’s known for more than a year, and everyone there treats him like crap. What friends?
Zorii explains that she has her own plot device. A “First Order Captain’s Medallion,” which grants the owner travel with no questions asked. Clearly this is introduced because they will need it soon.
Ren’s Star Destroyer arrives at Kijimi, enters the atmosphere and shakes everything on the ground like an earthquake. Since the film will tell us later that doing so makes the ship extremely vulnerable, this is stupid. Rey feels Chewy is on the ship. The reason why she didn’t feel him while they were still on Pasana is… I guess she was upset? Not a very Jedi way to behave.
They decide to help Chewy, Zorii gives Poe her plot device, for no reason. They land on the Star Destroyer and immediately open fire killing four stormtroopers. Hangers have no security it would seem. Rey uses mind control to find out where Chewy is. Mind control was not an option earlier because?
Rey then feels that the dagger is on the ship and that they need it, so she splits off from Poe and Finn to get it. They rescue Chewy, but come across some stormtroopers. They kill the stormtroopers then kill like 50 more of them as they run through a corridor. They have activated god mode?
Rey finds the dagger, in Kylo’s room. When she grabs it, she literally grabs the blade of the knife showing just how bad a prop it is. Kylo Force Skypes Rey and tells her that “he pushed her in the desert so she would see who she is.” They have a lightsaber battle through Force Skype, unlike when Luke Force Skyped and could not affect anything, now lightsaber damage is passed through Force Skype, and several things are teleported back and forth as they battle.
Kylo tells Rey that he didn’t lie to her when he said that her parents were nobodies. He neglects to mention that he said that there sold her for drinking money because that has been retconned. Now, her parents sold her into slavery on Jakku for her protection. That’s totally what I would have done. Taking her to the protection of Luke’s Jedi school and giving him a head’s up would have been stupid.
Meanwhile, Hux reveals that he is the spy, by saying “I’m the spy.” Yep. Hux. His resentment for Kylo has caused him to turn on the First Order; he will say that he doesn’t care if the Resistance wins, so long as Kylo loses. His actions in this film don’t hurt Kylo at all, and he’s immediately found out. So clearly he is an incompetent spy. Even if that was his motivation, saving Poe, Chewy, and Finn does not hurt Kylo. He should sacrifice them so that he can continue to thwart Kylo’s plans.
Kylo lands in the hanger bay where Rey is and confronts her. He tells her that “You don’t just have power; you have his power. You are a Palpatine.”
I guess this is trying to combat the reason that Rey has more power in the Force than any Jedi that has ever lived, yet it rings hollow. In the Republic, Force-sensitive children were taken as babies to be trained. They trained collectively until they reached 10-12 and then we apprenticed singularly to a Jedi Knight who would train them for another 5-8 years before they were allowed to take the trails to become a Jedi Knight. After 20 more years they might ascend to the rank of Master. Rey has known that she could use the Force for about a year and can already do mind tricks, pull down ships in active flight, and use Force lightning. She makes Anakin look like a slow learner.
After they leave the hanger, (the Flacon knocks over everyone who is far away from Rey using exhaust?) Rey says “he killed my mother, and my father, I’m going to find Palpatine, and destroy him.” That is not what a Jedi would say. In fact, when does Rey act like a Jedi in this film at all? She attacks first all the time; she attacks out of anger; she murders defenceless stormtroopers. If anything Rey acts more like a Sith than a Jedi.
For plot convenience, the Falcon’s landing gear are damaged, or it would not make the next sequence work. Of course the Falcon can hover, so why does it leave a trail of debris when it lands? Because the script says so.
Rey and the gang get to Kef Bir, a moon of Endor where the Death Star 2 wreckage landed. On Earth, a meteor of 10-15km wide caused the Jurassic Extinction, yet a 160km wide Death Star, of which most is still intact (despite the explosion we saw in return of the Jedi) hit the surface, and it’s fine. An impactor that big would have thrown so much dust into the atmosphere no one could live on its surface on 30 years later. Also, you can see the dish of the Death Star 2’s superlaser. A dish which has to be 40km wide. You can’t even see 40km from the surface of Earth. Everest, which is only 8km, is so tall you can’t see the top. Not only can you see most of the superlaser in the shot, if you use that as a reference the cliff they are standing on must be at least 200m tall to see far enough and not have it obscured by the horizon.
From the cliff, Rey pulls out Ochi’s dagger and reveals a slide rule? She then lines up the jagged blade of the dagger with the wreckage of the Death Star. This blade sat in a desert for 15 years, which lines up with Death Star wreckage that fell down 30 years ago and can only line up with the wreckage from this one spot. We see 15m high waves battering the wreckage, but apparently, no significant part of the wreckage has fallen down from erosion. Rust is apparently not a thing in a galaxy far far away. Even with this one vector, it doesn’t tell you how deep inside the Death Star the vault is, and from the inside, you can’t see the shore as a reference point anyway. Basically, the knife is real stupid.
We meet Janna. She was sent a message from Babu Frik, the droid smith. How she knows him? We don’t know. She will say that she left the First Order and stayed on Kef Bir, so how did she meet him? Who knows? Rey tells her that they need to get to the wreckage and Janna tells them that it’s too unsafe to go right now, they can go in the morning. They had 8 hours left before they got to Kijimi. They’ve rescued Chewy and flown to Endor since then, Rey is concerned about this, but Poe isn’t.
Rey, a scavenger from a desert, decides to single-handedly pilot a small watercraft in seas that the locals say would be too unsafe. Yep.
Rey gets to the Star Destroyer and then proceeds to climb up like a mountain climber. We have seen her levitate in this film. We have seen her jump huge distances. She decides to climb up unfamiliar footholds.
Rey gets to the throne room, and Luke’s theme plays. Feel the memberberries. Good.
The Emperor’s vault has a door that opens when some stands in front of it. After 30 years in a wreck. No security, how the hell does it even have power?
We get a ‘Luke in the cave on Dagobah’ scene, which ends with evil Rey showing a bad CGI golem face. There is no way that this is in the film for any reason other than to put it in the trailer.
As Rey falls out of the vault door she drops the Wayfinder and Kylo picks it up. How did Kylo know it was there? No one knows. Why would he leave it there? No one knows. Kylo destroys the Wayfinder with a single clenched fist. How can something so fragile have survived the Death Star crash? Even if you find a way around that, Kylo’s was in his ship, the one we saw explode on Pasana, and the one which Rey will set on fire in Ahch-To before long. How did either of these things survive long enough for anyone to read them?
Rey attacks Kylo. You know, like a Jedi would do. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defence. Never for attack.” Yoda says in Empire. That must not be in those Jedi texts that Rey stole.
During the battle, Leia struggles off to a bed and others help her Maz tells the audience “Leia knows what she has to do, to reach her son now will take all the strength she has left.” It is such a kick out of the film, other characters speaking for Leia.
During the Kylo-Rey battle, we see Rey stop Kylo’s blade using only the Force. We’ve seen an inactive lightsaber moved by the Force, but if you can use the Force to stop a lightsaber blade then why would you ever need anything else? Just create a Force-forcefield around yourself and you are invincible. I know it hasn’t been expressly stated in the movies but I thought this had never been in the lightsaber battles before for a reason.
Kylo beats down Rey and she is on the ground, still armed, then Leia reaches out and calls to him. “Ben” she says. Kylo stops attacking, and even drops his lightsaber. Rey grabs the blade and stabs Kylo in the chest. What a very Jedi thing to do, cut down an unarmed enemy. She then feels Leia’s death, because apparently a single word of Force Skype, without even manifesting, is enough to kill Leia.
Leia dying from an overdose of the Force was a very poor choice. Carrie Fisher struggled from addiction all her life and was very vocal about that struggle. To have a body-double lie-down and die in this way does not seem respectful. I don’t think it was a slight against Carrie; I just think that they didn’t think about it at all.
Rey then uses Force heal to heal a lightsaber wound without a scar. A cauterised wound caused by ultra-hot ionised plasma is so easily healed back to perfect condition and it costs Rey nothing that we can see. She is not taxed, even after a lightsaber battle. She then runs to Kylo’s ship and steals it.
Poe, Finn, and Chewy return to the Resistance base. Where they find out that Leia is dead. Chewy breaks down. For a character that doesn’t speak the emotion is palpable. The scene is great, although it did have a sour feeling that we didn’t get to see Chewy mourn for Han. I think this scene will move everyone who watches this film, it’s simple yet powerful.
We cut to Kylo. Han shows up and starts talking to him. Han can’t be a Force Ghost, because he wasn’t a Jedi, so they claim that he is ‘just a memory.’ A memory that forgives Kylo/Ben for killing Han can’t have any actual forgiveness if it isn’t Han. I don’t know if you can make this scene work, and I suspect that they only got Harrison Ford to do it because Carrie Fisher had passed. Memory Han echoes the scene from TFA “you know what you must do.”
The Emperor knows that Kylo has turned and he tells Pryde to send a Death Star Destroyer to a planet the rebels know as it will move the plot along. Kijimi is destroyed. I assume that Zorii Bliss and Babu Frik are dead, but I don’t really care at all. When Alderaan was destroyed in A New Hope, it was Leia’s reaction that conveyed the loss to the audience; no one seems to care that Kijimi was exploded.
In the aftermath, Finn is talking to D-O and finds out that D-O knows where Exogol is. So the whole thing to get the Wayfinders was a waste. At best the Wayfinders can get through the pathway of space cancer that surrounds the planet, but any ships coming out have to follow that path too, so if you know where Exogol is you can sit outside with a fleet and battle the Death Star Destroyers when they emerge.
Rey goes to Ahch-To, and sets fire to Kylo’s ship. Rey throws Luke’s lightsaber into the fire, but Force Ghost Luke catches it. If Force Ghosts can interact with matter, and still use the Force, and bring own lightning like Yoda did in TLJ, or levitate an X-Wing as Luke does in this film, then what penalty is death in this universe? Why should the living be sent to fight against Palpatine? An army of immortal Force Ghosts would be much more useful.
When Luke catches the saber he says that a Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect. Another dig at TLJ, then he says he was wrong for exiling himself, another dig at TLJ, then he raises the Red 5 X-Wing and it can still fly, another dig at TLJ. There is so much work done to rewrite the last movie. At least Luke seems more like Luke again.
Turns out Rey has a ship and a Wayfinder, so she flies to Exogol alone. She transmits the data to the Resistance, who come up with a plan. They follow Rey, take out the single navigation tower that tells the Destroyers how to manoeuvre, because apparently “ships can’t tell which way is up out there,” a problem that only the bad guys will have. If the ships are in an atmosphere they can’t activate their shields, and a single shot to their Death Star tech will take them out. Convenient.
In the planning stage, Merry/Beaumont suggests they use Holdo Manoeuvres to take the ships out, but Poe says that it is a one in a million shot to do so. I remember Hux being overly concerned in TLJ about a one in a million shot. Also if it was common knowledge that such a manoeuvre was so hard to pull off, why would anyone suggest it? Another dig at TLJ.
While the Resistance attacks, Lando and Chewy will go to the core worlds and gather help. Nobody came at the battle for Crait, when the First Order had no planet-killing weapons, but now that they have thousands of ships, people will rally against them. As far as I know, the Death Star Destroyer that destroyed Kijimi is still out there, fully crewed and powerful enough to take over the galaxy alone, a plot thread that will not be resolved in this film.
They arrive at Exogol. For some reason it is not possible to shoot the tower from a ship, it’s not explained why. Pryde realises what they are doing and transfers the tower signal to his ship, instead of all ships? They land a ground force on the Pryde’s ship, very far away from the tower they need destroy so that they can ride space horses in a cool shot for the trailer. Pryde says to jam the speeders, but they can’t because they aren’t using speeders. Of course, they could spin the ship and everyone would fall off, but I guess the head of military just forgets that space ships can do that. Also, they are fighting without any breathing apparatus. They are well off the ground, above the clouds in some shots. How is the air thick enough to breathe?
Rey meets the Emperor. This is the climax of the trilogy, yet this has nothing to do with the previous two movies. You can feel the plan of Disney Star Wars in this moment.
Palpatine tells Rey that he wants her to kill him and that if she kills him his essence will take her over. “As all the Sith live in me, you will be Empress, we will be one.” Why would Palpatine tell her that? The Galactic Emperor. The strategic mastermind that took down the Jedi. Just tells her his plan. Sure, makes sense I guess.
He says that if she strikes him down in hatred, then he can take over her. Why not just get her angry? She’s shown no anger management at all in this film, like five minutes ago she was plotting to murder him in cold blood; so why tell her the plan so that she can find a loophole?
The loophole, which I didn’t understand until well after I left the cinema, is that if she doesn’t kill him in anger, then he can’t take her over. At least I think that is the reason that after he dies, he doesn’t take her over. If that is the case, it was extremely stupid to tell her how to defeat him; and if that’s not the case then when Palpatine dies, it’s an even bigger problem. And the fact that the plot is so unclear that I’m just guessing at the reason is even worse.
Kylo arrives at Exogol in a TIE fighter, where he got that or how he was able to pilot to Exogol without a Wayfinder (or a hyperdrive since it’s a TIE fighter) is not explained. He begins shooting random troopers with a blaster that he got from somewhere, as he makes his way towards the Emperor but comes across the Knights of Ren. In an homage to TLJ, his blaster is suddenly gone. He begins fighting hand to hand against the six Knights and they start beating the crap out of him. Then Rey Force teleports her saber to Kylo and he takes out the six Knights no problem.
Rey at the same time is going through the Sith ‘ritual’ which is a lot of rough dialogue of Palpatine telling her step by step to walk up to him and kill him, then proclaim that she is Sith; you know, because if she says it, then it must be true. When her deception (another good Jedi trait) is revealed random guards approach her and try to take her out, but I guess they forgot that she is the most powerful Jedi ever and she takes them down with ease and Kylo joins her.
The Emperor easily subdues them and then finds out that they are a dyad. If Palpatine was controlling Snoke, and Snoke knew about it in the last film, why doesn’t Palpatine know about it? He then drains their life force and heals back missing fingers. Not just healing an open wound with no scars, but fabricating new bone and muscle with this Force healing.
Palpatine says that a dyad has not been seen for generations. This is such lazy writing to try and solve the universe's problems. Is this trying to answer why Rey is so powerful? Because the script tried to do that by saying that she was a Palpatine, I guess she’s doubly powerful since she’s both now. How does this dyad bullshit work anyway, they are different ages, how were they bound together since they never met before TFA? The film isn’t going to answer that.
In the space battle overhead, the Resistance is losing. A bunch of ships are destroyed, but none with main characters of course, the plot armour is strong with those ones. At the “All is lost moment” when Poe thinks he has lead the Resistance to its death, Lando shows up with at least 3000 ships. All small craft, some frigates, but no capital ships. Lando has gone to the core worlds and gathered these craft and then piloted all of them through the space cancer around Exogol. Gathering a fleet of thousands of ships takes time, but this movie doesn’t care about that. They left base 15 minutes ago, and we have seen a continues timeline since then. So in 15 minutes, Lando gathered thousands of ships that refused to help in the last movie. I guess the smooth vocals of Billy Dee Williams is just that good. That doesn’t explain why Lando didn’t help out at the battle of Crait though.
That said, most of the ship models are not fighter craft, so the Final Order should wipe the floor with them. Or just shoot them with a death laser, like we saw in Return of the Jedi, but I guess they forgot that Death Star tech could one-shot ships.
As the battle turns, a Y-Wing takes out a Death Star Destroyer and it is revealed that the pilot is Zorii Bliss and she has Babu Frik on board. So after they gave Poe the only way they had to get off Kijimi they must have left some other way? How are they in a Y-Wing? Surely armed bomber craft are hard to come by, and spice runners would have no need of bombers. Whatever. Have some unearned feels.
Inexplicably, Palpatine gets a wardrobe change, even though he has not left the room. The dark side of the Force is indeed a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. Enjoying his rejuvenation, Palpatine throws Kylo Ben down a crevasse which is inexplicably in the middle of the arena they are in. I always leave crevasses in the middle of arenas, just in case I need to throw someone down into a hole. Kylo Ben hits the edge with his back as he falls, surely killing him or crippling him, then falls into the obscured fog which tells you that, since you can’t see his dead body, that he will be back in a minute.
Palpatine throws a huge Force lightning attack into the sky, which instead of destroying the ships as we saw Rey do in Act 1, only disables them and they slowly fall towards the ground. A 1-second blast from Rey destroyed the troop carrier and murdered all those stormtroopers, yet a sustained blast from Palpatine acts like an EMP. Why? Plot reasons.
Rey wakes up and calls to the past Jedi to help. Because they are able to interact with the world physically, it’s a little disappointing that they only give her a pep talk. Hayden Christensen says “Bring back the balance as I once did.” What balance? Palpatine is right there! What did you do, give him a bad manicure?
Palpatine, who just used lightning to take out 3000 ships, fires lightning at Rey, but she blocks with her lightsaber, which inexplicably is strong enough to resist the blast. They are at a standstill. Rey then uses two lightsabers! That does the trick! She reflects the lightning back at Palpatine and lightning starts to hurt him. In an epic moment of “stop hitting yourself,” Palpatine continues to fire lightning at his own face, burning off the flesh. Rey pushes the lightsabers 10cms forward (she’s still 3 metres away) and the blast kills Palpatine, destroys the Sith throne, and kills all of the sith loyalists in a single blow! Wow, Rey is just that ridiculously overpowered. Palpatine, now dead, does not inhabit Rey, or if she’s protected by magic Jedi powers, he does not seek out any dark side user somewhere else in the galaxy. He’s busy I guess.
No longer being hit by Force EMP, the ships immediately restart with no restart procedure and take out all the Death Star Destroyers! Yay, I guess. The Star Wars theme rises to crescendo. At this point in the film I put in my notes, “sorry, John Williams, but even you can’t save this.” This is such an unearned ending.
Rey, having won using a lightsaber technique, dies from overusing the Force. Yep. Just dies. Because why not I guess. She’s proper dead too, eyes open and glazed. Kylo climbs out of the crevasse, just as we knew he would. Kylo shakes Rey’s corpse for a minute, then uses Force healing to bring her back to life. Yep, Force healing can resurrect the dead. That’s definitely a light side power. Rey wakes up, kisses Kylo, who is as surprised as the audience since there is no romance between them, then dies from embarrassment. Nah, just joking, he dies from Force overdose, just like Leia, Luke, and Rey.
Before Rey can revive him in an epic string of resurrections between them, Kylo vanishes into the Force like his namesake Obi-Wan did. Across the galaxy, Leia decides to disappear too, even though vanishing into the Force has always happened at the time of death before, and otherwise the Jedi leave a permanent corpse. I guess Leia just took a minute to work up to it.
Rey flies off in her ship, and Finn says the people are rising up all over the galaxy. Because mid-battle he has been listening to civilian radio, I guess. We get an end of the Return of the Jedi scene with Star Destroyers falling out of the sky, including one over Endor that has been Holdo Manoeuvred so I guess it’s not a one in a million shot after all. Maybe JJ forgot that he wrote that line.
The resistance returns to base, and everyone is celebrating. Poe’s arm is in a sling, when did he hurt that? He did get shot on Kylo’s Satr Destroyer over Kijimi, but then hasn’t had a problem until after the huge battle? Maz Kanata gives Chewy a medal from A New Hope, only 35 years late I guess. The medal is shown in earlier scenes that Leia is holding it when she dies, what give Maz the right to give it to Chewy?
Janna sits down next to Lando and asks him where he’s from. He tells her and asks where she is from. This is no doubt a result of things being cut from the film which make Janna Lando’s daughter, but absent context the exchange comes off as real creepy. Ahh, who cares at this point, surely this abomination of a film has broken all it can? Oh wait. The film screams hold my beer.
Rey lands the Falcon at the Lars’ Farm on Tatooine. Considering that she talked to Luke for a total of about 5 minutes in both of the last films, there is no reason that she should know about this farm. I guess Force Ghost Luke must have told her off-screen. She buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers in the sand and ignites her own. She has a yellow saber, colour of the Jedi Sentinels. A random woman, standing 3 meters away and completely unafraid of the lightsaber-wielding stranger, asks Rey her last name in a cringy forced scene which harks back to the cringy forced scene back at Pasana. She looks off and sees Luke and Leia as Force Ghosts, no Ben I guess, “Rey, Rey Skywalker,” she says. Then she walks off into the sunset with BB-8.
Why is BB-8 in this scene since he’s Poe’s droid? Toy sales baby.
Why is Rey a Skywalker now? Well, who’s going to stop her?
All of the Skywalkers are dead, and a Palpatine walks off into the double sunset with a stolen droid and no one to stop her. Maybe the Emperor won after all.