THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - 5 PROs and 5 CONs
Ahead of the FAN FEEDBACK podcast episode soon to record, Dave presents 5 things positive and 5 things negative he took from THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.
Reply to the FACEBOOK thread for your opinion on these to have your feedback discussed on the next episode from PEARLS OF FANDOM.
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first. …
1.) EMPEROR PALPATINE
Probably the biggest example that confirmed TROS's use of using old things in an attempt to make this film appealing. We were willing to overlook an abundance of this in The Force Awakens. Looking back, the red flags were there: The First Order vs the Resistance, a planet-killing super ball, a trench run and a shield generator. I also raised an eyebrow at how the lightsaber training ball was still rolling around the Millennium Falcon 30 years later, why Han had apparently never tried Chewbacca's bowcaster in all their time together, and the apparent indestructibility of the Millennium Falcon. I felt a tremor in the force back then but was willing to forgive Mr Abrams at this point and invoke the 6th sense Star Wars fans have been asked to develop like the fans of no other franchise: head cannon. Though the cinematic language of story-telling told us otherwise in 1983, we are now being asked to accept that The Emperor survived both the fall down the shaft on Death Star 2 and the subsequent obliteration of the battle station. With Poe Dameron's explanation that Palpatine survived "somehow" and some implication of cloning that was just as quickly dismissed, we are basically told to accept it. Obviously disadvantaged by Rian Johnson's kill-off of Snoke in TLJ, TROS failed to follow on from the setup that Kylo Ren was now the Supreme Leader and therefore the pain in the Resistance's collective backside.
2.) REY PALPATINE
An unambiguous middle finger to Rian Johnson and the fans to whom the notion spoke, TROS invalidates the most powerful theme from The Last Jedi. Johnson told a story of how the force and the ability to be someone significant is not entirely dependent on your family bloodline. It was no accident that the 'broomboy' scene was the closing scene in TLJ. Through Kylo Ren, TLJ revealed that Rey's parents were unimportant drunks who sold their daughter off for drinking money. That was the Trilogy's "I am your father" moment. Rey's questions regarding her parentage were answered then and there, though not to the satisfaction of many SW fans online who are conditioned to expect otherwise. Enter TROS and the magic plotline eraser. While the Rey Palpatine concept is insulting and far-fetched at best, it is also another story basically untold in this film. Time for more head canon.
3. KYLO REN's ABOUT-FACE
In The Last Jedi, Snoke belittles Kylo Ren as just "a child in a (ridiculous) mask", and challenges him to become who he was meant to be. In another powerful scene from TLJ, Kylo heeds the words, makes the realisation, takes one last look at the mask and then symbolically smashes it to smithereens. A growth moment for the soon-to-be Supreme Leader of the First Order. It is not more than a few minutes into The Rise of Skywalker, that the shattered mask and the character development it represented is reversed over. After all, we Star Wars fans apparently need to have a villain in a black helmet, don't we? Like the Skywalker lightsaber that was broken in the name of original content, it's nothing a little space-glue can't fix to take the story back to where it was 2 movies ago.
4.) LUKE AND HIS X-WING
Luke went to Ahch-To to die. He said it himself. The implication from The Last Jedi was that he flew his X-Wing out there and scuttled it, and used one of its wings as a door to his quarters. If the craft still flew, why wouldn't he have raised it from its watery grave and flown it to Crait to physically confront Kylo in body? The TLJ storytelling said that he couldn't. Hence the out-of-body course of action that ended up taking his life. Powerful stuff. The Rise Of Skywalker told us otherwise. Enter Rey Palpatine as the new Red 5.
5.) LOOSE THREADS
Here's but a few…So how did Maz Kanata get Luke's lightsaber? You said you would tell us! How were thousands of Star Destroyers built and/or buried in the ice for decades. Are they all crewed? With whom did Palpatine have a son… and when…and under what circumstances? What was Finn going to tell Rey? What was Lando on about with Jannah? Is it true travelling through hyperspace is just like dusting crops these days?
I wish these eluded-to plot threads were given some explanation on screen. Head canon working overtime here. Rather, are we expected to either accept it, or dive into Wookiepedia, Cartoons, Visual Dictionaries and the twitter accounts of cast and crew to make sense of a movie we just saw?
1.) MORE FORCE SKYPE-ING
Watching The Last Jedi, I initially found it very hard to accept watching Kylo and Rey interact across the galaxy the way they did. And then there was Luke and his force-projection on Crait, with these force abilities I had not seen in any of the previous films . Props to TROS here for doubling down on the concept and confirming to us all that these were now in-world abilities that Rey, Kylo and Luke had all learned how to use.
2.) LUKE AND LEIA TRAINING SCENE
"Pass on what you have learned", says Yoda to Luke in Return of the Jedi. It goes without saying that following on from their victory at The Battle of Endor, Luke would in fact train the sister who had that power too. It also brings context to how Leia survived her involuntary space-walk in The Last Jedi, and her ability to drag herself back indoors.
3.) PALPATINE LOOKED AWESOME
Though I disagree with the decision to include the Emperor in this film, I did find his portrayal in The Rise of Skywalker brilliant. He was completely consistent with the Emperor from Return of The Jedi who has fallen on hard times, to say the least. A crippled zombie with whited-out eyeballs and skeletal fingertips, Palps was a spectacularly menacing.
4.) BABU FRIK
5.) THE MEMORY OF HAN SOLO
Arguably the film's most emotionally poignant moment, Kylo gets a do-over thanks to the memory of his final interaction with Han on Starkiller Base. Post mortem, Han's words replay in the mind of Ren and the plea from a desperate father eventually gets the desired result. Ben Solo becomes Han and Leia's son again as he turns to be cut off with a classic "I know."
Do you agree or disagree with these points? COMMENT in the thread to have your opinion included in the show, and let us know where you're from.
PEARLS OF FANDOM is a Pop Culture podcast available for android at PearlsOfFandom.com or for Apple on Https://itunes.apple.com/au/po