The Rise (And Fall) of Skywalker


The final order has risen.

The ninth, and final, installment of the Star Wars Saga handed the reigns back to J.J. Abrams, following a dismal showing for The Last Jedi directed by Rian Johnson. The ninth installment brought in $177.4 million globally on opening weekend. The story describes the resistance’s final push towards balance in the universe, with a few unexpected surprises happening in favor for the Sith. The Rise of Skywalker is a beautiful end to the saga starting in 1977, for novice fans.

One of the first images we see of emperor Palpatine as he is found by Kylo Ren, releasing the start of the Final Order.

The final episode starts by following the conflicted antagonist, Kylo Ren, who is played by Adam Driver, on a mission to find thought to be perished Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine reveals that he is able to harness the dark side of the force to keep him alive, and he has secretly been building an army of massive size, that he calls the “Final Order”. Meanwhile, the protagonist, Rey, is strengthening her skills as a Jedi and continuing to train. The rest of the movie revolves around the Resistance trying to take down this armada, while Kylo Ren battles with his conflicted self, trying to find who he really is. At the end, Ren helps Rey defeat Palpatine, even if it means losing his life in the process. The Resistance successfully defeats the fleet of destroyers, and restores balance to a grateful universe.

The return of many characters from the older movies was one of the most surprising aspects of the film. The viewer can see characters such as Lando Calrissian, Emperor Palpatine, and the voices of multiple Jedi masters talking to Rey. While this is a rewarding surprise, these acts of bringing back older characters seem to be more of a fan service compared to creating actual content within the movie. The film also did not do justice to these older characters. If you are going to include people from the past, at least have them play more vital roles in the movie to appease older generations of fans.

The two main characters are the two people who wield lightsabers within this movie. Adam Driver plays the role of the conflicted antagonist, who initially was turned to the dark side after starting as a Jedi. We see towards the end of the movie that his character comes full circle with a return back to the light, to save his “friend”, Rey. Driver played Ren in the last three Star Wars movies, and did an excellent job at portraying the character of a conflicted Sith emperor, the perfect villain for millennials. The protagonist is played by Daisy Ridley, who stepped onto the global film scene with this movie. Portraying a strong lead character who is also a woman can be challenging, but Ridley took this role on with a full head of steam and did it beautifully.

Finn (left) and Poe (right) anxiously await the final instructions from Princess Leia on how they will attack the fleet of destroyers created by the Sith.

Two of the main supporting characters are Poe Dameron and Finn. Poe, played by Oscar Isaac, was an extremely disappointing character. His character tries to take on the role of a flamboyant pilot who tends to do his own thing, which was created by Han Solo. While this was a nice addition to try and fit in, you cannot force a square piece into a round hole. Now the other supporting character Finn, played by John Boyega, was an extremely interesting character. A storm trooper converted to the Resistance, Finn plays a vital role in taking down the destroyers towards the end of the movie. He felt in well with the franchise, so well that he possibly could have been the Jedi instead of Rey. All in all, the story line of Rey ending up being of Palpatine blood does make for an interesting ending.

The special effects in this movie certainly have an improvement from the original trilogy released in 1977, nonetheless the CGI and editing are extremely beautiful. The scene including the fleet of destroyers was one of the most visually stimulating, it gave physical presence to the power of the Sith. At the same time, the depiction of the grave faces and the sadness of various creatures gave the audience an ability to relate to a universe they could never imagine. The realness of the people and the creatures created through CGI allowed for the audience to feel empathy.

While the Final Order did rise, it was predictably defeated by the young rebellion. Most of the movie itself is extremely predictable, as it is easy to see that the conflict in past movies with Kylo Ren would eventually lead him to becoming a Christ-like figure. Considering all aspects of the film, it garners a rating of a 6/10. The film had the potential to be a beautiful sendoff for the saga, but instead the producer focused much more on giving service to the fans.