I’m a fair bit conflicted about this movie. The Last Jedi had some major plot holes and infuriating character developments, but it was generally consistent on its message – the past does not dictate your future. Rise of Skywalker pulls a massive 180, and instead says that your past entirely defines your future. Aside from Luke being a Force Ghost, you can pretty much ignore the entirety of The Last Jedi… every “major” development is ignored/retconned.
I’ll be the first to say that the Finn/Rose arc in TLJ was weak. Rogue One did the whole “shades of grey” thing a lot better. But to have her have a minute of screen time, and the Finn relationship entirely ignored, is plain absurd.
There are 2 major plot beats that focus on Finn having a secret to tell. Never gets a chance, never comes back into the conversation. He’s also made general, by another general (Poe) who stays general himself.
The big plot hole of TLJ, where a lightspeed ship can destroy another, is called a one-in-a-million chance. Which either makes Holdo a force weilder (since Luke used the force to destroy death star 1), or the luckiest person alive.
If you’re watching the end of ROS, over the moon of Endor, you see another First Order ship destroyed by the Holdo manoeuver. Least it sure looks like it.
A big plot point is that to destroy a nav beacon (exposed to the elements) you need to attack on the ground. While a really neat set piece, it’s beyond dumb when you consider all the aerial acrobatics in episodes 1-8. Two shots and this thing is down… next. Also dumb that the enemy would leave this entirely out in the open.
Final Order Resources
A planet that no one can get to. Hidden for at least 30 years. Has the resources to build a modern fleet, with ships that each have a planet destroying weapon onboard. Must have some amazing clone facilities on this planet to staff these ships…a plot point the First Order deals with by kidnapping people from planets.
The Magic Trick / Deux Ex Machina
Apparently Rey and Kylo can teleport things with their mind across planets. Which looks frikkin’ cool, granted. But the whole dyad in the force gimmick reeks of plot device to make things look cool.
What I mean here is that Star Wars succeeded because it was small people in a large world, trying to find their place in it all. In these last 3, we have superhuman people that are able to conjure miracles, which dramatically lowers any sense of risk.
It had to happen, and the trigger for it is ok. He apparently loses the ability to talk from that point forward. From the start, the sequel trilogy had him set up as the ultimate bad guy who would redeem himself. Which he does, but the really bad guy cheapens it.
Knights of Ren
Silent monks to walk slow, carry a big stick, have no force powers, no guns, no lightsabers. With the buildup around these folks… major disappointment.
He makes for an intimidating bad guy, I’ll grant that. But there’s no explanation of how he survived, this new dark magic where all the Sith live in one emperor, how he can summon lightning to disable an armada. How he somehow let his kids (?!) become good (?!) people and take away his grandchild. How pretty much everything about Rey is because she’s his grandkid.
Also, Snoke was apparently a hand puppet. True story.
The Good Bits
The photography is well done, as are the set pieces. The lightsaber battle over a raging sea is impressive. The escape from the capital ship even more so. Music is still top notch and gets you into the space. Zori Bliss is a neat addition that adds some larger impact to the ongoing events. Exegol is straight out of Knights of the Old Republic and it looks amazing.
The movie feels like pandering, and a general lack of understanding of the issues with TLJ. Rogue One was an amazing movie, set in the same world, constrained by the plot and timeframe. It still did an amazing job at character building and consistency.
I’d go into a tangent about how George Lucas’ success is almost entirely due to an amazing editor (his ex-wife), and how the lack of editing here is apparent… but this post is long enough.
ROS is an ok movie. Could have used another 6 months to a year in the bacta tank.