Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
December 18, 2019 4:34 PM - Subscribe

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

The reviews (see sidebar) are divided, to say the least. The movie currently sits at 59% on RottenTomatoes as of me clicking the "Post" button. What did you think?
posted by KTamas (653 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just got out of the midnight showing. The start really felt like JJ Abrams shoe-horning as much change of plot direction in as he could, but despite some so-so action scenes in the "hunt for plot object" thread, I did really enjoy Rey's journey and the scenes with Rey and Kylo were good.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2019 [8 favorites]


I just finished watching it. Yeah. Well, the 8-year-old liked it. However, the 15-year-old fell asleep and the 12-year-old was like, "meh". My first impression was of running, explosions, pew-pew-pew, and variations of the first three. There was minimal character development and there was no memorable dialogue. Seriously, I can remember dialogue from episodes 7 & 8 better than what I just saw. I will say this, all the whiners from reddit should be happy that so much off their wish list made it. The plot was a hot mess and raises more questions than it answers.
posted by jadepearl at 10:00 PM on December 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


*taps mic*

*takes a deep breath*

GODDAMMIT JJ I AM A 100% FINE WITH YOU MAKING TWO HOURS OF FANSERVICE BUT THEN FUCKING COMMIT TO IT

*rubs temples*

Now that the new trilogy is complete, it makes me reevaluate the previous movies. The Force Awakens was pure fanservice; didn't innovate much, stuck to well-known tropes, and yet it was heaps of fun. I remember leaving the movie theater, grinning.

Rian with The Last Jedi decided to do something completely different and, hell, innovative, with mixed results. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as TFA, but it wasn't bad either. I do have a number of gripes with it; the pacing and the tone felt off sometimes as well as bits of the story (noone will ever convince me that the half-hour+ detour to that casino planet wasn't an unnecessary dead-end in the story, for starters.)

And then they gave the final movie back to JJ, who did something different again. It's a cliche but in an attempt to please everyone he managed to please noone. That being said it takes skills to be able to piss off both the Reylo crowd and the "Your Reylo ship is problematic" crowd at the same time. Congrats JJ, you pulled that one off.

Look, I'm a normie amount of invested in Star Wars. Despite alluding to the fandom above, I don't think I've read any Star Wars fanfiction — though now I might because I need someone to fix this goddamn mess of a movie and ending.

I didn't care about the whole Reylo thing at all until I sat down in the movie theater for The Rise of Skywalker, but it was made clear within the first few minutes: that's where we're headed. And I was like, sure, why not, I can see that. I got emotionally invested; I was happy with Kylo slowly turning back to Ben. Rey rightly defeats Palpatine, Ben saves him, they kiss, hooray!

And then JJ FUCKING KILLS HIM OFF.

It was completely unnecessary, though even that was foreshadowed about 15 minutes before that with the "Leia saw his son die" line. They could have just, like, not do that! You made us invest in Reylo for the whole goddamn movie just to break our hearts. Fuck you, JJ.

As for the rest, Jesus, where do I even start?

Everything happens so fast and everything is so easy. Obstacles come, our heroes overcome it after a few minutes in a very convenient way, and keep trodding forward. Chewie fake-dies, which was just stupid, and out of character for Rey to blow up a ship with him in it, even though I know what point they were making with it. Character development is nowhere to be seen, except for Ben and Rey. But even that's half-assed. Rey faces her dark side in a Return of the Jedi way for, uh, half a minute and then moves on? What was that about? Ben has a change of heart because Leia reaches out to him, but, like, couldn't she have done it, I don't know, sooner? Also Jedis have magical healing powers now, and that's fine, and it comes with little to no reprecussions now except when JJ wants to kill Ben.

Finn gets to meet a fellow Stormtrooper escapee, and that's great, she's great, and I even saw some bonding there that could have lead to romance but no we don't have time for that. Palpatine's fleet has a single point of failure of course, a staple for Star Wars, except they don't, except they do! All Is Lost, the classic trope goes up to 11 in the final act but of course our heroes get saved by the galaxy.

Speaking of. Palpatine being back? That felt like the most cliche thing ever and an utter lack of creativity. Rey being his granddaughter was, like, not the worst choice, in the grand scheme of things, though.

Lando Calrissian is back but beacause this movie is cramming a million things into two hours and change we don't get to see much of him. I was never a big Rose fan but they did her dirty in TROS; a grand total of what, two minutes of screen time?

The new droid was cute, but they should have used it more.

And look, the first same-sex kiss in the Star Wars universe! For a second, in the background, between Unnamed Lesbian 1 and Unnamed Lesbian 2. _Cool_. Diversity quota fulfilled, JJ crosses it off his list, moves on.

Rey becoming a Skywalker in the last scene, making a new lightsaber with a new(?) color was pretty cool, for what it's worth.

I could go on but I already wrote 700 words and change.

***

In retrospect, Disney should have given the whole trilogy to either JJ or Rian — pick you fave — and that could have possible given us something better and more consistent. Zigzagging between the two directors were clearly a mistake. TLJ changes the tone, takes the story to one direction, then JJ comes back and dismisses most of what TLJ did and goes yet another direction.

Fuck Disney. Abolish Disney. Not just for this, but for a million other things as well, of course. But I digress.

I'm kind of angry, but that will pass and I'll move on. But I am also very, very disappointed.

One thing is for sure, my headcanon is that Ben doesn't die in the end and they live happily ever after with Rey.
posted by KTamas at 3:47 AM on December 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


I haven't seen the film and don't plan, but hearing a lot of people mention how awful it is has me cackling like Palpatine. It's a glorious mess to behold!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 AM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


I've been reading "Fix-It" fics on AO3 for the past 15 minutes with alternative endings and I feel a lot better now. Fandom to the rescue.
posted by KTamas at 9:21 AM on December 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yeah, that was all a bit MCU-ish.
posted by dominik at 10:01 AM on December 19, 2019


KTamas: I've been reading "Fix-It" fics on AO3 for the past 15 minutes with alternative endings and I feel a lot better now. Fandom to the rescue.

Woot woot! I'm also interested to see how faneditors work with this, and the rest of the Star Wars Cinematic Universe.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on December 19, 2019


Disney made the choice to go in without a plan, just like George did with the Original Trilogy (he quickly started claiming to have always had a plan of nine, or sometimes twelve movies, but if you look at the earliest promo materials he had an alternate idea for an anthology series with different directors, and various other ideas including the Holiday Special, so please don't believe he had it all figured out from the start; he was just fortunate enough to have made the early decision to start in media res). That meant they could avoid some of the problems of the Prequel Series, which was overburdened from the start with a bunch of dull ideas and demands to explain stuff. But it left the Sequel Trilogy wide-open to the problems that made Return of the Jedi such a hacky mess. Which are the same problems that JJ Abrams had ending Lost, and Alias. Explain everything and wrap it all up! What, you were just making it all up as you went along? Whoops!
posted by rikschell at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


The Game of Thrones finale of Star Wars movies.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on December 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy brought to you by Disney: Yeah, that was all a bit MCU-ish.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:42 AM on December 19, 2019


Vindication!

I don't have more of an opinion yet. I'm too busy being smug.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:17 PM on December 19, 2019 [75 favorites]


Holy shit, Katemonkey, that's amazing.
posted by KTamas at 3:11 PM on December 19, 2019


JJ Abrams had nothing to do with the ending of Lost.
posted by guiseroom at 3:32 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


guiseroom, that was p much all Lindelof, right?
posted by KTamas at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2019


(Lost walked so The Leftovers could run)
posted by KTamas at 3:35 PM on December 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well damn.

I guess this weekend I'll go see the Chris Evans in a Sweater movie instead. Or get a friend to go see Frozen with.
posted by happyroach at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


It’s not bad. It’s not good either. It
IS a hot mess. By being a hot mess it kind of becomes a grand commentary on the series as a whole. That statement being: look elsewhere if you want cohesion. This series is all about the flash in the pan. It’s the Saturday Matinée with everything thrown at the wall to see what sticks. The Empire Strikes Back fooled us into believing there was real depth in George’s vision. This movie stands up and says, “fuck that, it’s a goofy space opera. You know, for kids.”

I’ll probably have other thoughts. These are the ones that occur to me a half hour after leaving the theatre.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:24 PM on December 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


Vindicated as well!

Although some of my longer stretches of theory didn’t hold up quite so much (scattered throughout that thread), I was quite pleased. And to hell with the hatred. I loved this one.
posted by grubi at 7:36 PM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


I’m not entirely convinced that the J. J. Abrams who made TFA had anything to do with the ending to this movie, either. Or anybody at all before they actually started filming.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:38 PM on December 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well, as I'm pretty sure I've said about other things on the purple, it was good enough. It wasn't great, and if folks thought that JJ Abrams was going to redeem all of the series' past mistakes and resolve all the conflicts inherent in the text about where the series should go, well, no, it doesn't really do that, since as already noted it just retcons a bunch of stuff and kind of goes over other things lightly. But... it was good enough. My thoughts:

Bad, or not as good as they could have been

-Some of the stuff that they retconned, especially from TLJ. Rey not only isn't nobody, she's a veritable Sith Princess. TLJ kicking back at the quasi-feudal idea that genes are destiny was one of the really good things about it. Palpatine still could have found this kid through some sort of Force-sense. And, for that matter, bringing in Palpatine as a villain without any real foreshadowing. (Respect to Katemonkey for the guess, but I really don't think that they laid the groundwork for it.)

- Minimizing Rose's role was bogus.

- I'm an insta-fan of Naomi Ackie from her work on The End of the Fucking World, and I wish that they'd done more with Jannah instead of her just being Finn's helpmeet; I thought that she and Finn might have been the ones to maybe get more former First Order people to defect and join the rebel pile-on at the end, rather than just running around on the ship hull doing random sapper work. I mean, I know it's less actiony, but still.

- Speaking of which, getting the cavalry to show up in less than zero time at the end was ridonkulous.

- Oh, that fetch quest. Go to the place and get the thing so that you can do the do... no RPG has had a more contrived sequence of events, except maybe for something that Roberta Williams wrote for Sierra back in the day.

- Wanted to see more of Darth Daisy.

- Obviously not their fault, but it seemed like they were setting up more with Leia being a Jedi Master of some sort, and what was left was kind of puzzling in parts.

Good or at least not-bad:

- Despite Palpatine's lack of set-up, the whole arena with the big articulated arm dragging his semi-corpse around was appropriately creepy. The idea of him possessing Rey was suitably skeevy, as well.

- I was fine with Ben dying, as I was never OK with Reylo and thought that someone who'd blown up at least a few planets should have sacrifice as part of his redemption arc. The parts with his dad were quite sweet.

- Nice training sequence near the beginning, kind of addressing the question of Rey's skills a bit.

- Keri Russell's character was cool, I'd like to see more of her in the future.

- Hux fucking over the First Order just to get back at Kylo was spot-on.

- Cute new android.

- I didn't think that memory loss could ever be funny, but check out Threepio.

- The person next to me wept when Luke's X-wing came out of the water. I may have gotten a bit misty-eyed as well.

- Richard E. Grant being a bastard, as he does so well.

- The whole thing with Rey healing the giant snake thing set up the similar surprise-cleric scenes later.

- Hey, different colored light saber at the end!
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:56 PM on December 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


And then JJ FUCKING KILLS HIM OFF.

Good good, this will improve the many Marriage Story Driver singing "Being Alive" Star Wars mashups considerably.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:47 PM on December 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I dared to go in with high expectations after waiting 39 years to see this. I wasn't disappointed.

I haven't seen the film and don't plan, but hearing a lot of people mention how awful it is has me cackling like Palpatine. It's a glorious mess to behold!

Oh ffs - grow up.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 10:18 PM on December 19, 2019 [26 favorites]


These people are pretty cavalier about getting in old decrepit spaceships and taking them into actual outer space.
posted by memento maury at 10:46 PM on December 19, 2019 [54 favorites]


I have a high tolerance and affection for Star Wars films, and thought this one was very bad -- both in regards to the story (a confusing scavenger hunt for various magic ciphers and cursed knife-protractors) but also, more damningly, in regards to the technical quality of the film-making: transitions between scenes are choppy, individual shots are cut weirdly short, many of the sets seem small and cheap. (I do not have these complaints about The Force Awakens, which is frequently a beautiful film, and I usually like Abrams' work as a director.)

My heart sank as soon as Poe and Rey began bickering in the first ten minutes of the film, because the "banter" was so hacky and stilted that I knew that the script was going to be bad. And it waaaaas.

That scene where Richard E. Grant blows up a planet and it looks like the filmmakers kicked apart a backlit styrofoam sphere -- was that supposed to be...an homage...to the special effects of the original trilogy? Because I laughed at that scene, and I do not think that I was supposed to.

The idea that Robo-Palpatine was the ultimate villain, orchestrating EVERYTHING FROM THE SHADOWS, seemed so ridiculous that I assumed it was an elaborate ruse designed by some malicious third party attempting to manipulate Kylo into doing dumb Sith stuff. But no; Robo-Palpatine really is just as he appears.

Things that me and my friend liked: C-3PO, especially the brief joke where everyone is staring at him and he turns around to look behind him. And also the little hacker alien who erases C-3PO's memory, we liked him very much.

Oh, wait, our actual favorite thing: At the climax of the film, when Kylo/Ben flops back and dies, my friend and I laughed incredulously and loudly, and little giggles spread out from us throughout the theater.
posted by toast the knowing at 10:52 PM on December 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


These people are pretty cavalier about getting in old decrepit spaceships and taking them into actual outer space.
Well, that's easy when you're on the one single planet which is the exception to the rule of armies of scavengers dismantling anything within spitting distance of significant collections of people.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:56 PM on December 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Elsewise, I liked it. I went in expecting hyper-correction for the perceived "sins" of TLJ and I just got over-correction. Liked that they went with Rey being a Palpatine and I really liked the dyad stuff where she and Kylo Ren were in contact and able to make small-but-significant physical interactions. Lando was good to see again, as were the other returning characters/cameos.

The first part was ridiculous in its frenetic jumping around, as was the chain of fetch quests. Fake Dead Chewie was a weird one, since it was revealed to us the audience straight away, which robbed the plot point of meaning. At least they got to do a Rescue The (Hairy) Princess reprise. Couple of other weird niggles, the moment when one of the Rebels (Merry/Pippin maybe?) suddenly announces that Leia knows its time didn't work. Sure, maybe she does, but how do you mate, and how does the audience (beyond crassly assuming this is where they ran out of out-take footage to use)? Wasn't set up or delivered properly at all, but I liked the idea of her sensing and helping from across the galaxy, like how Luke did in TLJ.

Tiny other grumble, Rey's line reading for when she healed the worm creature was weird. Forget the exact quote, but rhythmically it was something like "I gave my life. Force to heal it". Maybe the word "lifeforce" was spread hyphenated across two script pages or something, but I feel like maybe another take would have been a good idea there.

GlaDOS Emperor was fun enough, if under-explained and underused. I would have liked Leia's lightsaber to project a different colour just for visual purposes, but it made sense it was blue too and I would equally have grumbled if she'd had a Mace Windu special. Hux's turn and reasoning were fun, made doubly so by his comedy bloody bandage. Where the prequels had too many lightsabers, I'd say this film in particular had too many ships onscreen. Diminishing returns there.

A lot of flash and spectacle, with just enough heart in it. Rey choosing to be a Skywalker worked really nicely, not least because it was played quite naturally as though in the moment, even as it was shot in a context which was all about the Big Finish cheese.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:26 PM on December 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Things I in retrospect want to see added to the movie for my own enjoyment (in no particular order):
Rose being made the third general after Poe and Finn.
Yoda appearing next to Luke after he raises the X-Wing and saying "Oh, raise it dead after, can you?"
Apparently, a bigger set-up for the Lando and Jannah Disney + road movie series.
Goddamn Snap Wexley not dying.

To that last point, wtf man. I know not everyone read the Aftermath books but to just kill off Snap like that. It was done to make Poe lose hope. For all of something like thirty seconds. Snap, who's that?

Rey Palpatine. I'm (not) looking forward to the novelization of the story of how everyone in the SW universe thinks that going to some desert planet is the same thing as completely disappearing.

Lando, Finn and Jannah are sort of grouped together. Gee, I wonder why. Still, we do need the Lando and Jannah road movie series.
posted by LostInUbe at 11:37 PM on December 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Oh, also, I think Wedge probably needed to be wearing a sweatshirt with "I'M WEDGE" on it just to make sure everyone got that cameo.
posted by LostInUbe at 11:45 PM on December 19, 2019 [21 favorites]


In my theatre there was some applause for the Reylo kiss, and then applause obviously *at* the Reylo clappers when Kylo keeled over.
posted by chrchr at 11:57 PM on December 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Re: Lando and Jannah, I was *very afraid* the movie was hinting that they were father/daughter. Also on the topic of families, I thought it was funny that Rey pictures Luke and Leia as her parents, so *that* ‘ship has finally come in.
posted by chrchr at 12:04 AM on December 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


> also given that Anakin is the son of Palpatine...that makes Rey and Kylo related, yes?

Anakin is not Palpatine’s son, though. This, at least, is definitely not the case, right? Anakin was the result of Shmi Skywalker’s immaculate conception, right?
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:23 AM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


From the Darth Vader comics, Palpatine manipulated midi-chlorians to impregnate Shmi Skywalker:
https://screenrant.com/star-wars-anakin-father-emperor/
Whether or not that really means that Palpatine is Anakin's dad is still sort of up for debate.
But whatever current books and comics are being published now (the Marvel comics, the Aftermath books) are canon so either way, Palpatine had a hand in all this from the very very beginning.

Also, I forgot that Snap is Wedge's stepson. That makes it even worse. "Thanks for saving us! By the way, your stepson just blowed up!"
posted by LostInUbe at 12:33 AM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


wait, our actual favorite thing: At the climax of the film, when Kylo/Ben flops back and dies, my friend and I laughed incredulously and loudly, and little giggles spread out from us throughout the theater.

Everyone in our cinema laughed at that bit too. I do not think it was supposed to be funny, but I couldn't help myself.
posted by lollusc at 2:02 AM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I mean, "It is a period of civil war" is no "It was the best of times. It was was the worst of times. It was the combination best of times and worst of times," but was "THE DEAD SPEAK!!!1!" really what an army of writers who've been steeped in this their entire lives decided to open with?

Jesus I'm just so glad it's over and that I have no intention of introducing my toddlers to Star Wars. They can have their own generation's myths, like, I dunno, bees and icebergs.
posted by MarchHare at 3:19 AM on December 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


I loved it, even though I recognise it has its flaws (just like Return of the Jedi, which has some reeeeaaaally corny stuff in it). I'm sorry we didn't get to see Benicio Del Toro's character again. I cried when Leia died. My heart did something terribly cliched when I saw Han and I whooped when I saw Wedge.

I'm sorry Rose suddenly lost all importance (she should be a General too, I agree) and I was so annoyed when Rey and Kylo kissed (sorry, Ben, as my son pointed out to me when I whinged about it) but I'm glad he died because damnit, you can't take billions and billions of lives and then just whoopty doo afterwards (I've always thought that about Vader too). But I am happy that people weren't thrown into romances when all this other crazy shit was going on. My unhealthy lust for General Hux remains.

The whole Force healing thing was new but I'm happy to swallow it, because Star Wars is and always was a bloody space opera and they apparently are required to have magicky bits in them (Ben Kenobi being a wizard was always the big giveaway).

I'll watch it again, for sure. In fact, I might even go again tomorrow because I know there's all kinds of stuff I missed.
posted by h00py at 3:26 AM on December 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


'The Dead Speak!' complete with exclamation mark made me cackle.
posted by h00py at 4:27 AM on December 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I hated it. It's fine. Honestly I don't have the energy to feel or say anything else about it. The Star Wars trappings were there for me but I left the theater exhausted and disappointed.

After sleeping on it I'm just going to go forward keeping TLJ in my heart as the note of emotional closure I needed for the series to move forward with my goddamn life and just allow tRoS to be the weird epilogue that I can happily ignore.
posted by Tevin at 5:23 AM on December 20, 2019 [22 favorites]


More evidence that the Star Wars Christmas special is the definitive blueprint for all Star Wars films that followed its release.
posted by juiceCake at 6:49 AM on December 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Oh, almost forgot: Saw it at a local museum that has a big screen theater attached to it, and the emcee introduced it with, "Welcome to this special showing of Cats!"
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:09 AM on December 20, 2019 [26 favorites]


After sleeping on it I'm just going to go forward keeping TLJ in my heart as the note of emotional closure I needed for the series to move forward with my goddamn life and just allow tRoS to be the weird epilogue that I can happily ignore.

Yeah I'm on board with that. I didn't hate this one, exactly, but I was mostly bored and completely emotionally distanced (except for the couple of scenes with Carrie Fisher's daughter acting opposite her digitally-inserted dead mother, which broke my heart.) I can see the skeleton of a better movie - not a good movie, but a better movie - where Carrie Fisher was still with us and could anchor several of the critical emotional arcs. But mostly yeah, this was shoddy fanservice and I am just not enough of a fan.

(I am also profoundly amused that my friends' very good Kylux fanfic could be extremely lightly rewritten to be a "What if Rey's parents didn't succeed in hiding her?" Reylo fanfic, but honestly I am just patiently waiting for them to have the time to file off the serial numbers and sell the damn thing as an original, because it's so far off of Star Wars canon to start with and interested in completely different things.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:24 AM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


> From the Darth Vader comics, Palpatine manipulated midi-chlorians to impregnate Shmi Skywalker:

I stand corrected! Also, I truly don’t like this.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Maybe it was the two airplane bottles of jack daniels mixed into the large coke that was given to us by the folks who sponsored our early viewing of it.... but... what the heck was Finn going to tell Rey when they fell in the quicksand??

And yes, the little hacker dude was friggin' great!
posted by Grither at 8:10 AM on December 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Finn was going to tell Rey that he had the Force in him
posted by chrchr at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Look, you know you have a problem with, like, internal character motivation or something when *all* of your characters have to constantly inform the audience that "If this plan doesn't work, it was all for nothing!!!" Also, giving Poe a female love interest and Finn a female sidekick is just too obvious, ok? You don't have to no-homo quite that hard, Disney, it's embarrassing.

That being said, I walked out of the theater smiling and was not upset to have spent money to see this. I liked what it was trying to do (or maybe what I would have liked it to be trying to do? what it could have been?) with Rey and Kylo/Ben, if not the execution, and now I desperately want to ferret out the core of what I wanted out of that and write my own version. So, a productive viewing creatively, and fun to watch despite everything.
posted by bridgebury at 8:21 AM on December 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


So I actually liked this? I think? Even though I actually hated most of the core plot points? Or maybe I didn't like it, but did enjoy it? Or something?

I HAVE CONFLICT.

Liked:
- comedy Threepio
- traumatized rescue-dog droid
- almost all of the blatant fan service, for I am a fan who enjoys being serviced.
- Darth Rey (but wanted SO MUCH MORE of this literal and metaphorical battle)
- Baby face Luke/Leia training montage snippet. Would watch a 6 hour movie comprised only of these training montages.
- Rey's lightsaber being made from her staff.
- all the voice cameos in the "Be with me" scene.

Super-liked:
- Rey. Just in general. I love this character and wish I'd had her around when I was a kid. Leia is and was wonderful and aspirational...but an interesting and powerful female who is both awesome, but also has doubts and fears and makes mistakes and is drowning in uncertainty and kind of hates herself a little bit, too? But somehow manages to do the right thing in spite of that? THAT would have been a super important figure to me as a kid....or, you know, as an adult. Also she fights fucking awesome and you can't convince me otherwise. I've loved Rey since TFA, and I thought this movie did right by her (except, of course, for the two MAJORLY STUPID PLOT THINGS below).
- Adam Fucking Driver. He is too good for this franchise, and I love this franchise.
- Luke lifting the X-wing.
- Solo men memory meet-up. Was it hokey AF? Yes. Did the actors knock it out of the park and make me cry? Also yes.

Didn't like:
- vat o'Snokes.
- Nebulous multitude of Sith in the Emperor's cube of evil lair planet.
- weird/incomprehensible Lando/Janna exchange at the end
- the hidden compass that didn't line up with anything but magically pointed the way? Like how? I legit did not understand what should have been a pretty obvious visual there, let alone the absolute stupidity of this mechanical puzzle object finder thing.
- Rose being shoved aside because the internet hated her.
- JJ being very on the nose about trying to avoid white saviour/black sacrifice tropes, and in his attempt falling into weird "black characters only hang out with black characters" tropes, like to the point where Lando swooping in to save Finn and Janna instead of Poe saving them made me do a LITERAL facepalm so loud that it made the guy next to me jump in his seat.

HAAAAAAAATED:
- 0 minutes of Finn/Poe making out. DISAPPOINT.
- Rey is a Palpatine. Fuck off.
- Rey and Ben kiss. Blah.
- the communitarian, everyone-could-be-force-sensitive, anti-elite, power-to-the-people thing which was the ABSOLUTE BEST part of TLJ is abandoned, because JJ is a dick. Gimme back Rian Johnson's ideological universe, please and thank you. I am honestly not an "I hate JJ always and forever" person, and I am a non-ironic Lost fan, and I loved TFA.....but I will not ever forgive JJ for ruining the best thing to ever happen to Star Wars.

....and yet, despite all this, I think I did actually like it somehow? Because I love Rey. And I love Adam Driver's performance of Kylo/Ben. And I am happy to fill in or gloss over all the weird narrative blunders and replace them with imagined scenes of Leia being a wise and wonderful and witty total badass that somehow fixes all the weirdness.

YMMV, of course.


Also, my unshakeable headcanon will forever be that if Rey MUST be the grandaughter of ol' Sheev, then her grandmother MUST be Mara Jade, becuase I have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD for infinite "the Emperor getting friendly with his own Hand"-style jokes.
posted by Dorinda at 8:28 AM on December 20, 2019 [40 favorites]


(All of that being said, I 100% understand why people think this was garbage and I do not necessarily even disagree.)
posted by Dorinda at 8:29 AM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Finn was going to tell Rey that he had the Force in him

And I’m pretty sure that’s really what he was going to say, but it was so weird that that was left oblique and unsaid when everything else in this movie was made explicit to the point of tedium.
posted by chrchr at 8:39 AM on December 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


It...man. I don't know. I didn't like it. I'm really glad I read a lot of highly critical reviews before I went because my expectations were low enough that I got some enjoyment out of the things that worked for me. But it was really just not a well-made movie? None of the emotional moments in the last half hour had time to actually sink in because they had to move on to the next one.

My feelings walking out were mostly annoyance. It's like the annoyance at the end of RotJ that everything got tied up in a neat little bow and the bad guys lost and the good guys won (complete with ewok shot!!), multiplied by the annoyance I felt at the end of TFA and realized I just watched a third movie about a scrappy band of rebels blowing up a Death Star, multiplied by the annoyance of imagining some of SW's worst fans thinking they were listened to in their dumb criticisms of TLJ, multiplied by how I feel when someone is clapping in my face going "move, move, move!" when I am not in the mood to be rushed. Just LOTS of different flavors of annoyance all compounding each other.

(I will say, I was glad the Emperor said Snoke was a Palpatine Product because it means it makes total sense that he built Starkiller Base! Palpatine had exactly one idea when he came to power: I need to be able to blow up a planet or NONE of this is worth doing. And he stayed on that bullshit beyond the grave and then some.)

That said, if I disregard the blatant rejection of all the really interesting story opportunities TLJ opened up, and disregard just the general disrespect for Star Wars as an artistic endeavour, its emotional manipulation of me was highly effective despite its actual incompetence at doing so. I'm glad I've seen it so I don't have to wonder what the last Star Wars is like anymore.

My husband saw it right after I did (we have a small baby so it wasn't worth the effort to try and go see it together before someone spoiled it for us, so we went in shifts last night) and I told him his challenge was to figure out when I cried the hardest. He got it on the second try, and his first guess was not a bad guess. Yes, dear reader, your pal potrzebie fucking wailed when Chewie finally got his medal. It's so rare that the random speciest/anti-droid crap that happens in Star Wars ever gets addressed at ALL (credit where credit is due, Solo!) let alone satisfyingly and I was THERE for it. I would watch a whole movie of "this is what Kashyyyk does with the reparations the New New Republic unanimously votes they are owed." I would so happily just watch Wookiees rebuilding their infrastructure, fixing their healthcare system, founding Wookiee universities...but in the absence of the possibility that that movie will ever get made I'm glad the most famous Wookiee gets an acknowledgement that he was and always has been a fucking badass who deserved more respect than the OT gave him.

I'm very much looking forward to other fan takes on this movie and interested to see how fandom responds in general. I am super curious where Reylo fic goes from here beyond the initial hot-take fix-its, and generally curious if the wind will go out of the sails of a lot of the interesting long form works I've been reading for the last few years that are still in progress. I had a sequel I'd said I would write if IX inspired me, and I have no idea how I can move forward with it now.

All that said, there is so much Star Wars now that if you don't like one Star War there's a new one just around the corner. This one was basically trash as far as I'm concerned walking out, and that's too bad, it was a big one to fuck up as royally as JJ fucked it up, but I'm sure there will be other SW stuff I'll like better. It didn't make me mad enough to Quit For Good.
posted by potrzebie at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


I think pretty much all my issues with it have been outlined above, but also:

Watching C3PO get essentially bullied/ordered into suicide because I guess these people don't see droids as people was super, super fucked up. The (mostly)-restoration of their memory seemed like some kind of afterthought.

I don't know if there's anything I really liked about the movie at all!
posted by curious nu at 9:21 AM on December 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


I assumed that Finn was going to declare his love for Rey, but they were too afraid of an interracial relationship so they cut it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:47 AM on December 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


JJ Abrams has long been on record as saying the details don't matter if the audience walks away feeling the way you'd like them to. That's mostly worked for him through his body of work. This one will probably "work" for him, too - but this movie is unfortunately mostly incoherent if you think about it even a little bit.

It feels like there used to be a more interesting movie in there, centered on how the force is available to everyone (even street kids as in TLJ, or Finn and others just sort of sensing stuff throughout), how you choose to identify matters way more than who your ancestors were (which survived, but in a really ham-handed way), how there's way more people in the galaxy who can take part in the adventure beyond the heroes (which again, appears in only a few ways).

It's an interesting collection of ideas in terms of where to take Star Wars - especially after six movies of all Anakin or his kid all the time. But incredibly and heartbreakingly poorly executed given what could have been.

Re: Rey as a Palpatine. There were people on YouTube calling that out three years ago. The main clues being 1) of all the light saber users, only she and Sheev do the weird shoulder thrust light saber attack and 2) there's a mirrored (and cleverly disguised in Rey's case) motif in their respective musical themes.

Over and over again - there's really interesting things happening in the bones of 7, 8, and 9 - but somehow it all got lost in the end. 'Tis a shame.

I will say that it almost feels like someone at Disney said "give the toxic parts of fandom exactly what they want" - not because they didn't know better, but because they knew what TLJ haters wanted would likely be a steaming hot mess. Give the people what they want, I guess.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:06 AM on December 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


This was ... ok? I mean it's a tough ending to the a Nonalogy or whatever a trilogy of trilogies is. I liked Rey's story arch, I like they did the Harry Potter bounce back curse so it wasn't really Rey killing Palpatine.

The princess Leia having trained as a Jedi scene was actually pretty cool, I'm glad they went and made that a real thing, not just a nod and wink.

I wish they actually gave Finn the Force, which is what we're all thinking he had to tell her. But really, how did that get cut?

So very sad that Rian Johnson's universe wasn't realized, there was such a compelling arch there, even if the Last Jedi did have some rough spots.

Was surprised that they didn't show Ben with the his Jedi uncle and mom, I mean Rey exchanged life forces (twice) with him twice, so she's as much a Skywalker by mito-marriage I guess?

Also (spoilers for the people who haven't seen Mandalorian yet also saw this movie right away) them dropping Episode 7 of the Mandalorian early this week makes a lot more sense, since I believe it debuts the "force healing" which I don't recall seeing in other Star Wars movies.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:16 AM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I agree with most of the disappointment above (mostly the breakneck pacing, the weirdly cheapy look of much of it, and the TLJ nullification). My wife, who does not follow these sorts of internet kerfuffles, loved it, though she also had largely forgotten what happened in TFA and TLJ and I gave her a fast recap in the car on the way to the theatre.

My new favorite extremely minor Star Wars character is the driver of Lando's tractor thing on the party planet who, when Lando tells it to drive somewhere, says "OKAY" in a really goofy voice.
posted by HeroZero at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


I described the first episode of 'The Mandalorian' as "a more enjoyable 30 minutes of Star Wars than any supercut you could make using any footage you wanted from any Star Wars movie from 'Phantom Menace' onwards (excluding 'Rogue One')," and nothing in the 142 minutes of Ep IX has caused me to change my opinion.
posted by MarchHare at 1:19 PM on December 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


It was a hot mess, and I disliked quite a bit. But Leia and Chewie made me cry, and at least we didn't have to watch a planet killer get praised as a hero. I was simultaneously bored and over stimulated at times? Still, could have been so much worse.

I'm only partway through Wendig's Aftermath books, and had no idea GG was playing Norra's kid. That's sad.

Did I see the Ghost briefly in that Dunkirk-rescue shot?
posted by suelac at 2:05 PM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Played hooky to see this, and I was perfectly happy with all the fan service. Is it a great movie? Hell no. But is it a perfectly servicable wrap-up for the two[*] Star Wars trilogies? I think so.

One thing I noticed right in the theater that was also mentioned above - man, they really shortchanged Rose.

The other thing I noticed - JJ did a beat-for-beat homage to ANH in TFA; Rian Johnson's original plotlines in TLJ caused a bunch of angst; and now we are back to JJ's beat-for-beat homage to ROTJ. The hero's friends are engaged in a pitched air/space battle outside, but the real battle is in the Emperor's throne room? (Same villain, even.) And the hero is ultimately saved by the redemptive sacrifice of a flawed character that they loved?

But again - I wasn't expecting that much, and I was perfectly satisfied with what I got. It'll do. Down to the callback to the dual sunset, but now with the suns matching BB-8.

[*] Maybe some day they'll make a set of movies about Darth Vader's back story. That might be nice.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:40 PM on December 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Hell, Chewie busted that out for Leia here!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:09 PM on December 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Felt like I had to sit through 'bout an hour-and-a-half of "Disney's Marvel Comics Universe presents a Star Wars Themed Audiovisual Content directed by Competent and Reliable Director Abrams" before it became an actual Star War at the end.

And look, the first same-sex kiss in the Star Wars universe! For a second, in the background, between Unnamed Lesbian 1 and Unnamed Lesbian 2

Has to be easily removable for the international market.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:50 PM on December 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Somewhere, in a dusty box in an attic, there is a yellowing 1971 kindergarten report card where the teacher notes that young Jeffrey Jacob Abrams is very skilled at colouring inside the lines.

The general “huh” reaction above reflects my own; I went in as spoiler-free as possible, so there were a few surprises (Wedge, is that really you?) but generally Abrams is Spielberg without the spark. The abandonment of the notion of the Force being accessible to more people than just Anakin and his lineal descendants was disappointing, and the idea that Rey was the scion the other major Force-powerful family was ludicrous, and handled as shoddily as possible. “You see, Palpatine had son never mentioned before! He is a major link between trilogies, but he will get 5% as much screen time and dialogue as, say, Watto.”

The sniveling third-rate villain being callously offed by a pissed-off elderly Withnail was nice.

And the inclusion of Carrie Fisher through previously filmed scenes was intended to be a touching tribute but was merely distracting. I found myself trying to place what scenes in the previous movies she had been snipped out of. It will make a great trivia question someday, though: what top-grossing movie had its top-billed performance culled entirely from archive footage?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:54 PM on December 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Who were all those Sith devotees in the needlessly bleak throne room?

I understood those to be the ghosts of all the bygone Siths.
posted by chrchr at 3:55 PM on December 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


I will say, though, at a meta-level that introducing Force healing in The Mandalorian like 48 hours before its debut here shows a far better coordination between movie and TV divisions than the MCU has ever managed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:56 PM on December 20, 2019 [21 favorites]


I understood those to be the ghosts of all the bygone Siths.

“Always two there are.” That’s a lot of pairs of masters/apprentices, and it might be awkward to find yourself sitting next to the master you offed to advance.

I do enjoy the notion of Dooku and Maul in the crowd as extras.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:06 PM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


What a mess of a movie. I had tried to temper my expectations, and was still hoping those early reviews were just the result of people looking to score some eyeballs by knocking the movie. But nope. From the beginning crawl hand waving Palpatine's return, it was a huge let down.

"Palpatine has returned somehow." That line just sums it up for me. It sounds like something a writer wrote on a beat sheet in an early draft, planning to later reveal how that happened. But no. He just returned somehow.

And every complication was just immediately resolved. "Chewie's dead!" "Oh wait, he's alive!" "Our plan's not going to work!" "It's okay--there's another radio tower!" And did we need characters constantly telling us how high the stakes were?

And here's Richard Grant as an apparently effectual Hux, who's also been in contact with Palpatine for some reason? But he's not getting any development beyond being vaguely sinister. And here's Hux's betrayal, which was somehow incredibly obvious in spite of not having any kind of build-up or character growth happening alongside it! Here's another cute droid, because, why not? And Finn has something he can only say to Rey alone, in their final moments--but we won't ever reveal what it was! (Either he loved her, which was not at all a story told in this movie, or he's force sensitive, which we got beat over the head with in this movie, but that would seem like a really weird thing to feel compelled to tell your friend only when you think you're about to die.)

I mean, I'll give them credit for giving Chewie his damn medal, and for including the voices of Ahsoka and Kanan, but that's about it. This was just some completely unnecessary.
posted by synecdoche at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


The final bit when Rey buries Luke's and Leia's lightsabers — for about a second I was hoping the next scene would be Rey training the next round of Jedi, Finn among them. And one of the students asks "when do we get our lightsabers?" and Rey says "The Jedi no longer use lightsabers. We are devoted to peace, not war. The Force alone is enough."

But no, it turns out Rey has now built her own, so we're back to the lightsaber fetishism. But hey, she's got a new color!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


Who were all those Sith devotees in the needlessly bleak throne room?

Planet Killing Laser Calibration Technician PE 2560 enters his quarters, where his bunkmate, Navigation Tower Constructor CZ 9211, is relaxing on the bed playing a handheld holochess.

PE 2560: Heard some bad news leaving my shift today...

CZ 9211 looks up, concerned.

PE 2560: It's robes and chants again tomorrow.

CZ 9211 is less concerned - could be worse - but greatly annoyed.

CZ 9211: Hell! It's been robes and chants 3 times in the past week. You know how many Navigation Towers we've got constructed?

PE 2560, groaning: Two.

CZ 9211: Right, still a grand total of two Navigation Towers, and that's counting the backup on the command ship. Two Navigation Towers! Not militarily advisable, but it's all, robes and chants, robes and chants, apparently much more important than doing our actual job.

PE 2560: I'll tell you a secret - the Lasers kill Planets pretty good whether they're calibrated or not. But I still hate the damn robes and chants!

Glumly, they pull robes from their drawers and hang them up for the morning.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:35 PM on December 20, 2019 [57 favorites]


I want to take a moment to appreciate that actual time was spent on C-3PO explaining that while he had a language model to translate the Sith dagger's inscription, it had been made illegal for him to do so. Myriad pleasures in thinking through Palpatine in his Senate days smirking to himself inserting this "evil languages in protocol droids" ban in an unrelated appropriations bill all "I'm not sure how this will help me in the future but I just have a feeling". Even better imagine the poor lackey who had to hack together a patch to stop Threepio doing the evil translating, adding a little easter egg that if he does it'll use these random red LEDs someone hooked up in Threepio's chassis but never used for anything. "Too bad nobody will ever see this goofy red-eye effect I just coded up cause lbr, who is going to use Goldenrod here to do any evil translating? Oh well, got to get my kicks where I can..."

Ah, Star Wars. I'm so annoyed about this movie but I just can't quit you
posted by potrzebie at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2019 [45 favorites]


Oooh no actually I bet Anakin wrote the patch for Threepio himself at some point and HE added the red-eye, that is totally the kind of bullshit he would take fifteen minutes on hoping someday someone would see it
posted by potrzebie at 5:09 PM on December 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


I was grateful that the local theater (nearly empty) had upgraded their seats recently, because wow, this film was long. Anyway, I just finished grading papers, so my mind immediately went to "this argument would have been improved immensely by slowing down and focusing on just one or two of these themes..."

The actors bravely did well with what they were given, but Harrison Ford's famous comment about the original SW script kept sneaking into my mind at inopportune moments. (Also: poor Harrison Ford. What deep, dark secret did they have to hold over his head to make him show up again?) I rather liked Richard Grant, but there was no character there. And I've been fond of Threepio since I saw the first film in the theater as a child (and somewhat sorry for Anthony Daniels), so I'm glad he survived the finale and was even able to make himself useful. Other than that...well, what everyone else has already said.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:40 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


1. My Dad and I assumed Jannah was asking Lando where he was from so she could find out where all the black people are.

2. About all those chanting robe guys, I figured that planet was just Palpatine's secret Sith HQ from wayback that we never saw and all those robed people were Sith adherents. I can't with that only two Sith one master and apprentice nonsense. Lucas just suddenly added that in TPM and it makes no sense, I just ignore it. No one ever killed both the master and the apprentice at the same time? The master never got killed while between apprentices or while the apprentice was untrained? The idea of an unbroken chain of master/apprentice is absurd. The Sith clearly are an organization with resources. There's no other way. Hell, in the prequel trilogy we see Palpatine with three different apprentices! Do you really think there was no overlap between them? He was courting Anakin while Dooku was his apprentice! Why would any Sith master place all his resources in a single apprentice? Where are all these random Sith always popping up from? Maybe there's only two official Sith Lords but there also seems to be plenty of lesser Sith to go around. The Rule of Two is Sith propaganda, don't believe it.
posted by yonega at 5:48 PM on December 20, 2019 [28 favorites]


I was Kevin Kline in "Fish Called Wanda."

It was bad from the outset, at "The dead speak!" Then Palpatine is not just inexplicably alive but has a thousand (or more?) star destroyers inexplicably built and supplied and staffed. And nobody knows a thing about it?

All the Leia scenes looked badly shot and edited. It was painfully obvious that every time you saw the back of Leia, it was clearly a body double. It was, as was said above, quite distracting. Then she died in the shadows and then her body was covered with a bright blue shroud? Come on, that was amateurishly composed and shot.

Hey, it's not enough that there's R2 and now BB-8, let's have an even smaller droid that speaks English! That'll really get the 3- to 6-year-old crowd.

Nthing all the other people who've observed that there were no consequences, Chewie's "kidding!" death being arguably the worst. And hey Threepio got his memory back! And then the star destroyer burned up Snow World, but hey the Mask Lady and Droid Hacker made it out. Hooray?

Lando's reintroduction felt totally shoehorned in and gratuitous. What was he doing there? I'm glad Billy Dee got paid, but nothing about his character was needed in this story.

There were so many deliberate callbacks to previous movies, in ways that made no sense. Let's rescue Chewie just like in ANH. Let's have Palpatine taunt Our Hero while watching the battle rage. There were many others, but I can't remember them.

Taking us back to Tatooine for the end was the final nail. Rey could have buried the lightsabers anywhere, but let's tug at those heart strings. (It reminded me of how the end of ROTS really pissed me off, but at least that made narrative sense; this was just completely unnecessary.) Ugh and ugh and ugh.

Basically all I cared about was Kylo and Rey. They were the only characters with any spark, any tension. Kylo needed to die? I guess he had to, that was one of the only sad parts for me (along with Chewie's utter grief at finding out Leia is dead).

If they were going to force-ghost anybody at the end, Kylo would have been a nice inclusion.

Worse than the prequels? Almost.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:52 PM on December 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Hey, it's not enough that there's R2 and now BB-8, let's have an even smaller droid that speaks English! That'll really get the 3- to 6-year-old crowd.
Doing the maths I must have only been around 7-8 years old when someone in my class asked Miss to read to us from their Return Of The Jedi picture book for storytime. We all played Star Wars in the playground every day after that, using the football goal which had a conveniently-placed wooden stump right next to it as our Millennium Falcon. I'd never heard of Star Wars before, but my enthusiasm must have inspired (read: pestered) Mum into her taking me and my sister to see ROTJ in a rare visit to the pictures. Star Wars is for kids too!

Also that droid was a total nod to the ones from Phantom Menace (for those fans) as much as being a proto BB-8!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:16 PM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ugh, this was so tedious. My biggest complaints: one of the big "lessons" from this film was, "we need to work together!" (see: Finn and Poe's declaration to each other). And yet... it could have been like an hour shorter if Rey didn't keep ditching everyone go off alone all the time. This time I felt like she really matched Kylo in emo tediousness and I did not enjoy any of their scenes together.

I also really, really did not like holographic Carrie Fisher, which was just creepy and awful, particularly since it was so clear that the snippets they had/created didn't really allow for a conversational exchange: it's just Leia making these gnomic pronouncements and the other actors having to work so hard to give all of the reactions and exposition.

And finally, the sidelining of Rose was just shameful and definitely felt like the worst part of fandom won, there.

I did really like BB-8's new little buddy, "Coneface." He was my favorite.
posted by TwoStride at 6:20 PM on December 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I can already see in my head how his lego version looks!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:23 PM on December 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


There's an episode of Dexter's Lab where they record a child narrating the plot, who breathlessly recounts the adventures of Dexter, Deedee, Mandark, and original-character-do-not-steal Computress. The first third of the movie is that storyboard writ large. "And then thing with Kylo! And then another thing with Finn and Poe! And then yet another thing with Rey running through the woods!!!"

It slows down after a while to turn into a fetch quest almost right out of KOTOR. (Speaking of which, Palpatine got the Star Forge, right? That's the only explanation for the fleet that makes sense to me.)

Not enough Wedge, Poe should still be in the brig after the events of the last film. I did enjoy some of the musical cues, like the old-school X-wing rising from the water, or the echoes of the Emperor's theme in the water-logged throne room.

All I really know is that JJ Abrams has no idea what space is, based on the colossally weird relations of distance and planets in his Trek and Star Wars films. But this was big and shiny and will put a lot of butts in seats so they'll never stop giving him money to make these things.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:28 PM on December 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ha, yes! When Force Ghost Luke did the inevitable my brain went straight to the Star Wars Gangsta Rap Flash animation: "You won't believe your eyes / Watch the X-Wing rise!"
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:27 PM on December 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I dunno guys. I just rewatched all the other movies last week. With the disappointment of the prequels fresh in my mind, I left the theater feeling pretty good about this one. It could have been a lot worse.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:31 PM on December 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


At the climax of the film, when Kylo/Ben flops back and dies...I turned to my high-school-age son and whispered, "Just like Romeo & Juliet!" with a cackle.

There were a few times I flopped back in my chair in disbelief, and by the end I was giving it some MS3k treatment, but the visual sure were impressive. I liked the ocean fight on the crashed Death Star, but then the cleric thing was dumb (my kids say the hole in the cape moved!); Palpatine got full opening-of-the-Ark-Of-The-Covenant treatment, but being mounted on the end of that giant arm was so weird; Keri Russel's character looked way too much like she came form Guardians of the Galaxy and not enough like part of the Star Wars universe.

I finally found a movie where I didn't hate C3PO, which is nice.

So: uneven, but lots of good stuff to balance out the weak points.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:39 PM on December 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


With the way Force ghosts have seemingly been powered-up and Rey and Kylo having a special connection where they can interact over space Reylo will never die. In fact, Rey is setting up her pottery wheel and copy of the Best of the Righteous Brothers right now.
posted by LostInUbe at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2019 [36 favorites]


(It seems like a number of folks went to free screenings, so maybe using the "mooched"/"paid for this" tag could be helpful. For example, I know I am a lot more forgiving about the movie's flaws -- after bringing two kids and sucking down popcorn and theater candy and drinks -- when a vendor picked up the tab.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:43 PM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Hrm. We booked early a first day evening showing (Thurs, UK), party of ~8, cost was about 3/4 of TLJ if I recall. For me a couple of quid saved is much less of a factor than going in with lowered expectations.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:50 PM on December 20, 2019


No one has mentioned the pure-digital Leia (in the flashback)?!?!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:51 PM on December 20, 2019


I very seriously considered walking out when I thought they'd fridged Chewbacca. And then what they did to C3P0. And then, do NOT kiss the petulant mass murdering manchild who has been Ben for 5 minutes, jfc.

It was exhausting and incoherent and yet I didn't hate it. I love Rey, and I loved watching Rey be powerful and struggle and win. The Palpatine reveal was absurd and disappointing, but I really liked her choosing to be a Skywalker.
posted by Mavri at 8:30 PM on December 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


On the other hand, according to the credits, one of the two Ewoks we see at the end is Wicket Warwick, played by Warwick Davis (his son plays the other Ewok alongside him). Of course, we see them only from the back and from the shoulders up. I hope there are photos of them dressed as Ewoks for the waist up, whole below they are kitted out in cargo shorts and sandals.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:39 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: I did buy a concession pretzel that was unevenly heated which could’ve subconsciously affected my enjoyment of that laborious thing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:39 PM on December 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


I've been ranting about this to my friends all day so I'll put the tl/dr first.

I fucking love star wars. All of it's insane madness and this movie delivered. I only had 2 major problems, 1. it was too rushed, I am a maniac and want a 10 episode show with each episode getting that budget and 2. Luke showing up to specifically say nothing in Last Jedi meant anything was maddening.

Other than that it was a blast.

Now some ranting.


I don't understand the hate. This was far and above anything from the 90s. Speaking as someone who was 16 when Phantom came out and I absolutely loved it and was so completely destroyed by AOTC and ROTS that I still wonder how I have remained a SW fan all these years. I have watched all 9 films in the last 8 days and TROS is easily better than the prequels and sits solidly at #6 in my rankings. I know it was crammed full and felt like 3 movies but that might be because so many movies feel like that because we're getting used to 10hr HBO and Netflix stories. The rushed stories were at least interesting. Finn and the other deserters, Lando saying he wants to help Jannah, Poe and his ridiculous pining, etc. They are seem prime for spinoffs, Kennedy said the Skywalker saga is done but that doesn't mean the Finn/Poe sagas are. If Marvel is any indicator Disney is all about the "long con" these days.

As far as the absolute ridiculousness of it, does no one remember the absurdity of all SW in general? It's space wizards and space dogfights. ESB launched the whole mythos of the yin/yang and the prequels hammered home the BLOODLINES MATTER. The Clone Wars series has Ventress who is a witch and the new video game that Disney says is canon has zombies. So the whole Palpatine zombie thing is not nearly as out there as it seems at first glance.

The entire SW universe is full of nonsense.

Anakin is a force baby created by Palpatine rigged midochlorians.

Padme dies of a broken heart because Anakin is so evil she cannot bear it (I had forgotten this and always remembered it as died during childbirth but they go out of their way to state she has given up the will to live)

Vader doesn't actually kill all the Jedi, the clone troopers do.

They gave Luke the family name Skywalker and yet nobody connects the dots. This seems to be related to the fact that a mere 20yrs after the Jedi are killed the entire universe collectively forgets they ever existed and had force powers. A great deal of time is spent convincing people the force is in fact real, even in ANH. Which leads me to my point, SW fans seem to hate on TROS for doing big epic messy silly things when big epic silly things is basically all SW is.

Last Jedi tried desperately to change this and succeeded in so many glorious ways (I love that movie) but when watched in conjunction with the other 8 films it feels so wonderfully different.

I will relent that TROS could possibly be a bad movie and I am incapable of admitting that but I refuse to say it is a bad Star Wars movie because it's not.
posted by M Edward at 8:48 PM on December 20, 2019 [39 favorites]


Hmm. I don't get the negativity, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Chewie getting his medal was an excellent scene.
posted by medusa at 10:07 PM on December 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


I liked it, because all I want out of Star Wars is awesome planetscapes, battling space wizards with laser swords, and a swooping soundtrack. Done done and done.

As I explained to my son, if I want politics and philosophy, I can watch Star Trek.

I thought the weirdness of the Palpatine Zombie thing was so bizarre that I just kind of shrugged and accepted it. I did think he wasn't great at temptation. Who wants to be possessed by their evil)creepy grandpa and his equally evil/creepy buds? Yikes.

I enjoyed Rey's healing powers. Very Steven Universe.

I still think Finn, Poe and Rey make a nice poly triad.
posted by emjaybee at 10:42 PM on December 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


I enjoyed the spectacle in the moment, but disliked it as a movie throughout and am left feeling very frustrated. Abrams made so many head-fakes towards a more interesting (I'm not necessarily saying better) movie that it became difficult to deal with for me.

As soon as it was titled, way back when, I knew it was going to end with Rey calling herself Skywalker or forming the Skywalker Order instead of the Jedi or something like that. I am by no means a predictor of plot and I'm frequently surprised by things that are obvious to others, but that was telegraphed from the get. Similarly, as soon as they said, "there's a mole in the First Order", I knew it was Hux. Don't know why, it just seemed clear, but they still did him pretty dirty.

I loved TLJ, and it's my favorite of all these movies. I was therefore thoroughly disappointed to see them spend so much time making sure we understood that the best things about that movie never happened, weren't true, or didn't matter. One thing I know for sure now, Abrams has never taken an improv class, because he can't "yes, and" to save his life.

Rey accidentally killing Chewbacca due to the strength of her Dark Side power would have been a bold move. They even spend time talking about what that means. Except they wouldn't commit.

C3PO sacrificing himself to complete the mission through the knowledge only he can provide would have been a noble and tragic completion of his story. Except they wouldn't commit.

Telegraphing so hard that the allied fleet would arrive to save the day just means that instead of worrying about whether they would, I got mad at them for letting so many people die before showing up.

The less said about Rey as Palpatine, the better. As another commenter put it elsewhere, one thing this movie was determined to let us know: Sheev Palpatine fucks.

There was some really good stuff too. Kylo's conversion to the Light was a little rushed but believable, and the difference in the way Adam Driver carried himself between Kylo Ren and Ben was truly awesome. I genuinely missed a person I'd never seen before. (Although, while we're on it, was there any fucking point to the Knights of Ren?) I loved the visuals of the throne chamber. I loved how they evolved the Force bond between Rey and Kylo to include colocation. The kiss was stupid, but I liked the sacrifice, the one good use of Chekhov's gun I can think of in the movie.

But yeah, ultimately, as the credits rolled, the only thing I could think was, that was cowardly and playing it safe.

I was about to end this post without mentioning Rose, and I'm upset I forgot her, but the movie all but memory-holed her and certainly dispensed with her relationship with Finn, so.
posted by Errant at 11:41 PM on December 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


Just got out, I have super mixed feelings. However, most of them were rendered redundant by the transcendent joy on my 8 year old daughter's face. Watching her laugh, cry, cheer, flinch etc really warmed the cockles of my heart. Star Wars is for her, not me, and she loved it. And I *loooooooved* watching her love Rey. The fucking Mandalorian is such a dickfest, it's still too hard to find kickarse female protagonists.

That all said:

The plot suuuuuuuuuucked. Oh lord. It was even more of a mess, structurally, than The Last Jedi. The firsty 30-40 minutes was incoherent fetch-quest retcon; it should have just started in media res.

The fact that Palpatine was sitting on a literal fucking legion of planet destroying death stars that he was happy not to deploy... why exactly? They handled that so terribly. Palpatine should have been holed up with a few desperate cultists, Dagobah-style, using his indisputable mastery of the force to manipulate Rey, Kylo and the first order through Richard E Grant.

Rey's seduction by Palpatine and Kylo should have been the primary arc of the film - juxtaposed with Kylo/Ben's ongoing psychological imbalance.

Picture this: The Rebellion as a force is completely spent, bascially destroyed, after TLJ. They have no real shot at overcoming the First Order and the galaxy is creeping back towards totalitarianism. Rey is not herself. The others think it's just because of Luke's death and the events of TLJ, but she is darker, and more likely to lash out. In training with Leia, she discovers a new force power - hand lightning. It disturbs her, and she refuses to tell anyone, only BB8 knows.

Kylo keeps contacting her. He's trying to find her, and also discover the new spy in the First Order through Rey. To prove his worth to her, he directs her to a desert planet, promising details of her parents. She takes Chewie and the Falcon, and leaves. The rest of the team is mystified and hurt. Rey is a leader of the Rebellion and everyone needs her right now, she's left them in a selfish act. Poe, Finn and Rose go off in pursuit. Meanwhile, Rey is talking to Kylo, she believes "there's still good in him!", and only she can bring it out. Everyone thinks that she is nuts, becoming obsessed with him. Palpatine is not revealed until 2/3rds through the film, and it's horrifying.

Etc etc.

You could have retained many parts of the film that worked, but given a much more compelling, personal arc than what they delivered. Whose story was this film? What was the arc? Who can say? Would have loved a climax where people effected some kind of force ability, together, delivering on the implicit promise of TLJ. The "there are more of us than you think" was nice, but way way too deus ex machina they way it was done (half the movie was deus ex machina).

I liked the alien hacker, that whole subplot worked a lot better than the casino mess in TLJ for me. The new droid was cute. The deserters were wasted which was unfortunate. Also did anyone else feel like Finn's character changed a lot? I felt there was a bit of a continuity gap there. The banter at the start was execrable.

It was okay. I liked it a bit less than TLJ (which I had some structural and pacing issues, used the Idiot Stick too much, and was too keen to make it's point about how much TFA sucked), which in turn I liked less than TFA (which was extremely derivative, but competently paced and delivered).
posted by smoke at 12:31 AM on December 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


Just sounds like everyone who didn’t like it had specific expectations. Tsk.
posted by grubi at 12:44 AM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think everyone is underestimating just how much Carrie Fisher's death fucked up the arc of this trilogy. And that's why I love it anyway, because sometimes shit just happens and things don't work out (see TLJ) but you have to find your way to the end anyway, the best you can. Star Wars isn't logical and I forgive it for that, mostly.
posted by h00py at 12:54 AM on December 21, 2019 [11 favorites]




That is a good take. He really nails it with the reference to gratuitous incoherence.
posted by smoke at 2:06 AM on December 21, 2019


The fetch quest stuff all just reminded how much video games has influenced cinema. This movie is the ultimate result of that - it’s a series of cutscenes that would work well if the viewer had personally invested the time, struggle, and effort to see them. But we didn’t, we weren’t given enough time of traveling with Finn, or playing with the new droid, or unlocking the force healing stage, to justify the emotions those cutscenes were meant to evoke.

I think of this as cutcinema, not a movie.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:16 AM on December 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


Finally watched it, and I wasn't... disappointed but in that Abrams firmly met my expectations, no more and no less. And don't give me guff about what should I have expected from a star wars movie, because aesthetics is one thing (which he's very good at) but if I want to watch the same beats of the original trilogy, uh, did someone thanos'd out all available versions of it in this existence? If I want that, I would actually watch that. If I want a cover, well, give me 100million dollars and a team of top of the line production crew and see how well I can do it too.

That said, kudos to the cast and yeah:
the difference in the way Adam Driver carried himself between Kylo Ren and Ben was truly awesome. I genuinely missed a person I'd never seen before.

Totally agree. One of the few silver linings we got out of it is we can see the Reyben now #😎 (neeeever Reylo though)

Sigh it was so exhausting, and we appreciated the cameos in the end but everything was just... No, seriously, give me $100m I can't do any worse.
posted by cendawanita at 4:44 AM on December 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


When I was watching TLJ in the theater, I had a big grin on my face the entire time and left feeling elated. With this film, I just sat in my chair with a blank expression on my face and waited for it to churn to a close. I have more thoughts but jeez, what a clumsy and cynical mess of a film.
posted by octothorpe at 5:26 AM on December 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


It’s definitely a movie where one can get glimpses of some amazing threads of a story, the way the actors delivered their parts were genuine, but then it was all glued together clumsily by JJ Abrams in some futile attempt to make everyone happy.

I can see how for many viewing this did bring closure to the Star Wars epic, or the Skywalker Saga. That bloodline was over, atleast in a way.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:35 AM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Imagine a version of this movie where Poe or Rose or stormtrooper lady end up on the ground, listening to Sheev talk about how "If a jedi kills me I possess you lol!" and thinks "hey I'm not a jedi!" and the character who actually did come up from nothing snipes the emporer while he's distracted. Then the last scene is the heroes talking about how redemption takes a lot of years of work, referencing their seedy pasts again maybe and convincing the extras not to mutiny while Ben grumpily but peacefully mops an entire hanger or whatever.

We could've gotten a movie that reinforces themes of royalty and bloodline obsession being a dead end, power and change coming from unexpected places, redemption being slow and hard but still worthwhile, all these things that Star Wars tells people it's about with just five minutes of movie changed.

The film we got ended with the favored heir of the royal bloodline doing the only important thing on that planet, because ultimately only heirs of the royal bloodline are allowed to meaningfully impact the plot. Rey, Kylo, and Sheev all had exactly the same goal of "Get Rey to Sheev so she can kill him" and the movie would have ended exactly the same way if every single character except for those three had listened to the announcement at the beginning and then immediately laid down on the floor and silently waited for the movie to end. It's monarchist bloodline horse shit that's more obsessed with who fucked forty years ago than with what anyone actually does or why or how and the terrible moral has retroactively made every single other piece of star wars media either worse or outright worthless.
posted by fomhar at 6:50 AM on December 21, 2019 [26 favorites]


Poodoo.

I went in with low expectations, came out shaking my head. I had thought that even if some of JJ’s decisions were ham fisted, they would at least be executed with a modicum of pop filmmaking competence. But...that did not turn out to be the case.

1. Are black people aliens who all know each other?
2. Nemo’s dead! No wait, he’s not! Nemo’s dead! Psyche.
3. Aside from alien burning man, few tastes of exotic lands or peoples.
4. How did Palpatine feed all his people? Did nobody notice all that missing chicken and soda?
5. Lando magically rallies everyone everywhere inside of an hour?
6. The kiss was extraneous.
7. Poor Rose. How does it feel to be an extra now?
8. Rushy rushy rush! We’re all in too much of a rush to pause for breath!
9. I’m Leia, and my most effective scene is a CGI flashback.
10. Coneface deserves his own show.
posted by Construction Concern at 6:52 AM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


The quote from Chris Pine in the Film Crit Hulk review is especially illuminating:
“I tell the story about J.J. (Abrams) in the first film when I’d run on the deck of the ship and say something to the blue screen about something. And I had no idea what I was talking about. And I said to J.J., “I’d love to do with more time, cause I don’t know what I’m saying. if you could tell me what I’m saying, it would be a great help.” And he said, “It doesn’t matter. You just run, you say it as fast and earnestly and urgently as possible, and no one is gonna care.”
I could have sworn there was some other director who was notorious for never giving his actors anything to work with beyond, “Okay, do it again, but this time faster and more intense.” Huh. Then agai, IIRC, someone later gave him four billion dollars, so maybe J.J. just has his eyes on the prize.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:55 AM on December 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


The quote from Chris Pine in the Film Crit Hulk review is especially illuminating:

Is there a link to the that actual interview? 'Cause all I'm finding are tumblr gifs with that quote.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not doubting it happened, just was love to see or read more from that interview.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 AM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I genuinely thought that the opening scene with Palpatine was a dream sequence that would end with Kyle waking up in a cold sweat somewhere, but then it turned out to be the actual plot of the movie, and I never really recovered from that.

I'm on the same page as everyone who said 'this was absurd and incoherent, but there was some good character stuff,' basically

I do have a lot of thoughts about how it could have been done differently, but writing them up got long enough that I posted it to tumblr instead.
posted by nonasuch at 7:16 AM on December 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


As I walked out of the theater with friends last night and we discussed it, there was a sense of she vu I couldn’t put my finger on. This morning I identified it. It was like when walked out of TPM and were trying to talk ourselves into liking it.

Plot wise, this is the worst SW movie ever. The difference between this and TPM is that the script and characters were much better.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:53 AM on December 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.
posted by donatella at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2019 [24 favorites]


I've been trying to figure out who played the two Stormtroopers who got "These are not the droid's you're looking for"'d during the Chewie rescue; that has got to have been some kind of celebrity-fanboy wish-fulfillment cameo thing, like Daniel Craig did in The Force Awakens.

I don't know who was definitively in those Stormtrooper costumes specifically, but I am pleased to note that Dhani Harrison was apparently somewhere in the film. And Lin-Maunel Miranda was in an uncredited extra role as a soldier, along with contributing another song.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hee! Dhani WAS one of the stormtroopers in that scene. (That link is an article that has collected all of the cameos.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


That Hulk essay pretty much sums up my feelings. I saw this with my 8-year old, who's the perfect audience: gasping at the Palpatine reveal, laughing at 3PO's jokes, watching the scary parts through his fingers. Our household has alternated constantly between The Last Jedi and Into The Spiderverse for the last two years, and he'll talk your ear off about how "anyone can be a hero" and "anyone can wear the mask." Given our post-movie conversation, it looks like the cynical parts of RoS bounced right off him -- he kept talking about how cool it is that Finn can use the force, how regular ships saved the day, etc. He loved it.

So in that spirit of appreciation: the successful parts of the movie were largely due to Driver's and Ridley's performances. And looking over the long sweep of this saga, how about one last hurrah for Mark Hamill, who gave two of the best performances in the two best Star Wars movies? He gave Luke an amazing send off in The Last Jedi, but in Empire he has maybe three scenes with actual human beings, and the rest of the film is him acting against puppets and masks. He may not nail every beat, but he carries that movie.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 8:25 AM on December 21, 2019 [20 favorites]


I wanted to like it, and couldn't. What a cynical, chickenshit movie. After Last Jedi, there was a galaxy of possibilities. The one they went with was to make Return of the Jedi: Dubstep Remix Edition. Star Wars went out like a punk; you hate to see it.
posted by EatTheWeek at 9:30 AM on December 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


I had adjusted expectations but man this was an insulting hot mess.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:51 AM on December 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


i laughed out loud when the sith sword had a protractor (??) thing that if you pulled it out and stood in that exact position and angled it exactly right over the half-submerged death star, that would somehow lead you to X marks the spot. IT MADE NO SENSE.

Also, who made the dagger and why? Someone who found out, or knew, where the navigator beacon thingy was, but decided to leave it there rather than go and get it right then? And it must have been a Sith because the dagger has the coordinates in Sith writing, but Palpatine was the only Sith still alive at the end of ROTJ? I'm so confused about how this object even exists.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:15 AM on December 21, 2019 [26 favorites]


I mean, it's fine as long as I don't think about it. It was well paced and pretty enough to look at. I liked Keri Russell's character, and the 'no thank you droid' and the tiny droid engineer whose name I have forgotten, but they were good and fun. I liked Hux being so shitty at being a spy while also being a dingus. There could have been more with how totalitarian states isolate acts of resistance, but it was a good thought.

I wasn't spoiled per se, but I saw enough non-spoilery reaction posts to know who was disappointed and who wasn't, which made me brace for Rey having Special Parentage, and I'm glad I did. The sheer amount of Palpatine surprised the shit out of me, and didn't really work. Calling this a RoTJ knockoff seems to be understating how conservative this movie is in relation - Return of the Jedi at least had a coherent anti-imperialist message. And while the world/character designs weren't bad, they seemed a lot more recycled than they had in iterations past - less of a 'hey, that's a cool looking hat', and more of a 'hey, I recognize that hat!'

Honestly, with the fanservice thing - I have a friend who is an incredible Rose Tico cosplayer who was so fucking excited to see asians in space in the Last Jedi trailer, she ended up being invited down to the premiere in LA to show up in costume, and I'm imagining what it must have been like to have been invited to that event, feel celebrated, and then. . . have Rose not in the movie very much. Another friend of mine really disliked The Last Jedi because she loves Finn and felt like it was pretty cynical that the main characters of color were shut out of the main storylines with the gambling interlude - the Rise of Skywalker probably isn't going to make her much happier. Someone I saw it with was invested enough in the old EU that she knew that Leia's lightsaber should have been the yellow one - it's the diplomat's color - and there were so many things about how characters changed and the internal rules didn't hold up that it ended up bothering her more than anything. Personally, I don't know if I'd have such a negative reaction to Poe being a fantasy drug dealer who joined the resistance if I hadn't known that his comics backstory was that he joined the resistance to follow in the footsteps of his mom, one of the resistance's best fighter pilots (both things can be true, of course, and I don't know, maybe Poe was originally supplying the resistance with space meth like it was World War II or something, but the way it was handled was kind of weird).

I don't know if they're going after fans here, is what I'm saying. For one thing, fans tend to overthink things, and this movie falls apart if you poke at it with a twig. And they're not even going for people who disliked the Last Jedi as a whole - because in the midst of the sexist arguments, there's some good points swallowed up about how how it treated characters of color. I'd argue that they're probably going for people who really liked the original trilogy as kids, but haven't really watched the original trilogy lately and maybe don't remember Lando's original characterization, but do remember the TIE fighter being taken out of a swamp and just want to see some cool space battles.

With the Kylo turnaround and a Reylo Kiss - I'm just throwing this out there. Take from it whatever you like. But Kylo/Ben changed his ways after Leia reached out through the force and did. . . something to him and then died. But! She didn't really full force Jedi disappear/die until Kylo Ren died. But maybe, Leia was using her son's body to try and take out Palpatine and make out with Rey herself. The morality and psychosexual issues at play here are extremely questionable, but I'm still a lot more into it than the way than Reylo.

Bonus: Same sex kiss.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:32 AM on December 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


I dared to go in with high expectations after waiting 39 years to see this. I wasn't disappointed.

This was me too. I was looking for

- more Star Wars
- a definitive ending
- space stuff

And I got all three. I have other dislikes which included a dialing back of some of the more complex/complicated relationships from the more recent movies. Poe and Finn were more two-dimensional and Rose should have had more great scenes. Jannah should have had more screentime. Basically I had a feel that nothing really new was going to happen because this was a wrap-up episode.

I did get a sense that Disney was aiming for a more Hallmark Channel "Don't make it weird for the conservatives" angle and had exactly one female-to-female kiss in the end which was notable for being the only overt non-het interaction (on preview: YEP) and all that stuff with Poe trying to get with that helmeted lady with the pretty eyes was funny but I was also "Dude she said NO" No Yoda ghost screentime.

tl;dr this was goofy and dumb and basically what I'd hoped for.
posted by jessamyn at 10:38 AM on December 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


Wow. That Film Critic Hulk review leaves JJ Abrams in a smoking pile of ash.
posted by mediareport at 12:13 PM on December 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


But does it with a poignancy and humanity that's truly remarkable, I should add.
posted by mediareport at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Will we ever know who FCH is?
posted by octothorpe at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


How did Palpatine feed all his people? Did nobody notice all that missing chicken and soda?

Did you see that vat o’ Snokes?

It was like being shoved through a movie with an occasional punch in the face of nostalgia but no time to enjoy it before being shoved forward again
posted by Fleebnork at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Something else that I think didn't really work was the artificial timeline. 16 hours? It was so unenecessary.
posted by smoke at 1:17 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Sure, but the artificial timeline of TLJ was also unnecessary.

I gotta be honest, I thought it was fine. It wasn't amazing. There's large parts of that I attribute to JJ's involvement (particularly that he was clearly unhappy with how Rian Johnson had picked up (or pointedly not picked up) threads he left behind). The kiss seemed like a tonal miss. How they handled Rose was not good.

But, the film was overall enjoyable.

I feel like most people here saying they went in with low expectations aren't really being truthful to themselves, because by the reactions I think you in fact went in with spectacularly unrealistic ones.
posted by tocts at 1:33 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I went in with expectations that it would be at the same level as The Force Awakens, a movie that I liked but didn't love. I had no reason to think it would be anywhere as good as The Last Jedi but I didn't think that it would be as junky as it actually is.
posted by octothorpe at 1:42 PM on December 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


no story
just action
at least it's over
posted by kokaku at 2:20 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


At least Abrams finally sorted out how the Dark/Light Side works with Rey refusing to kill the Emperor by killing some of his minions instead.

Clearly, the rule is that you turn to the Dark Side if you kill a named character.
posted by straight at 2:23 PM on December 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


I think it's fair to compare it to Avengers: Endgame - another movie that had to tie up a lot of loose ends, farewells, and high expectations while also be palatable to the largest possible audience. And Engame definintely made some character choices that I didn't like, retconned a few older characters (Howard Stark), and heavily used nostalgia for previous movies for emotional beats. And yeah, there are parts of Endgame that fall apart if you think too hard.

But Endgame, for all of its faults, was a lot more clever than The Rise of Skywalker, and more fun. The nostalgic revisits in Endgame made sense within the story and felt earned. I happily watched Endgame twice in a weekend, I don't know if you could talk me into doing that with Rise of Skywalker. Not everyone got a full, coherent arc, but they at least managed it with a couple of characters, while I think Rise of Skywalker only attempted this with Rey and Kylo, and neither of those really landed.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:36 PM on December 21, 2019 [12 favorites]




Palpatine had exactly one idea when he came to power: I need to be able to blow up a planet

Oh I really like that, because it makes Vader's comment about it being insignificant compared to the power of the Force even better. Because now it's actually a dig at the Emperor, implying a standing disagreement Vader had with his priorities.
posted by straight at 2:40 PM on December 21, 2019 [20 favorites]


chill, while I like your eponystericism, I don't think there's anything wrong with people strongly disliking a movie, even a Star War, and saying so in a Fanfare thread. If they invite themselves to your son's birthday party to rant against it, then you have a point. But what did you come here for?
posted by argybarg at 2:44 PM on December 21, 2019 [13 favorites]


Nah I'm pretty bilious and over the top too but they seem to have structured character arcs in part around pairing major characters off with a hetero partner of the same race so if anything I'm just gonna keep getting madder.
posted by fomhar at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


I went in with apprehension and thought it was... pretty ok. Definitely Rose got shortchanged which sucks (even if she's stuck working the computers at base, at least give her some heroic moments, jeez. Let her become friends with R2.) Big thumbs-down for that kiss*, too, ugh. But otherwise, I thought it was pretty ok. They had a lot of constraints and things that had to happen (Endgame comparison is apt), and they didn't do a lot of the worse things they could've done.

* although as Mr Mitten pointed out, Star Wars is all about the wrong, wrong kisses.

I thought the new characters were all pretty great, the Leia stuff was reasonably well handled given the constraints, and same for the Kylo Ren/Ben stuff (bypassing a lot of terrible ways they could've gone).

I was really glad to have Finn get (what felt like?) more actual "I'm a main character" focus throughout. I liked that he found more former-stormtrooper friends (although I'd've liked to see more of his conversation with Jannah there). Are all the deserters supposed to be force sensitive or just have a conscience? Either way it feels like a missed plot opportunity there -- they should've led a mission using their semi force sensitivity to get the enemy spaceship crews to defect.

It was good the movie said both, "if someone orders you to fire on civilians, disobey" and "the bad guys want to isolate you and make you think you're alone, but you're not". Those are both good things to put out there.

What was Finn going to say in the quicksand? One of my friends thought he was going to tell her that he'd figured out she's a Palpatine - but I can't remember the chronology well enough to know if that guess makes sense.

I had a lot of Chewie feelings in this too. The new actor clearly has a different way of moving etc, and the costume is different too, which makes it weird - it's like when a sitcom character just switches over to a new actor and no mention is ever made of it. And then we're gonna kill him off?! But no, just imprisoned... then griefstricken... then getting his medal... from his on-again off-again gf Maz... sniff....

The yellow light saber - someone mentioned that yellow light sabers happen when a red khyber crystal becomes damaged - so they speculated Rey might have taken the crystal from Kylo Ren's red lightsaber before giving it back to him on the ruined death star. Seems like a stretch but it'd be pretty slick foresight on her part.

I enjoyed the completely absurd cornball FX of the planet blowing up, where you see pieces of the shell come off - I assume it was a deliberate nod to the old practical effects.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:24 PM on December 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


After I saw it early this morning I came back and read a bunch of reviews which I'd been deliberately NOT doing before seeing it....

And I think the line which sums up the entire movie for me is something like "The only emotionally honest moment in the movie is Chewie's reaction to learning of Leia's death, and we aren't even able to experience that directly, only from a very wide shot."

Honestly, his reaction on hearing that news made me cry. But then, I was crying in the car on a road trip after NPR told me Carrie had died.

Light edit addition: It's like, of all the fan service that movie delivered, Chewie right then was entirely my stand-in and I felt his sorrow and rage.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on December 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


I get that action movies have always elided over who the good guys are killing, but wow, this movie just kept mentioning that the empire was full of child conscripts.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 4:07 PM on December 21, 2019 [36 favorites]


I am a fan. I was serviced. It was the best JJ Abrams joint that could exist: breathless, relentlessly paced, a plot of convenience that was less dumb than I expected but more dumb than I wanted, an unimpeachable cast, great action scenes, and when Rey became Red Five all the passing-the-torch shit they were trying to do with the lightsaber fetishism finally worked emotionally for me. I guess I fetishize space fighters more than swords.

And there is this imagined conversation:

Me: Can we cut it out with the fucking goddamn one-off planetkiller superweapons already? They inevitably get blown up in the nick of time and then it's all yubyubs and space tacos. It's fucking tedious.

JJ Abrams: How about TEN THOUSAND superweapons?

Me: ...........

Me: ........... yeah, actually, that works for me.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:37 PM on December 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


There's a great essay from Chuck Wendig about the film. The Rise Of Skywalker, And How Star Wars Is Junk.

But good junk! The Star Wars universe is full of junk, like the Millennium Falcon, aka the coolest junk ever. Lots of good stuff in here about pacing, pointing out that the film doesn't allow itself to breathe, to its own detriment.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:52 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Though that's Abrams MO. The speed disguises the incoherence for exactly the length of his movie's runtime. That's never a flaw for him.
posted by cendawanita at 6:00 PM on December 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


That Wendig review is good.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:10 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yup. That Film Crit Hulk piece is dead on, except for when he says that the film "feels 'big'" because of the way that Abrams cynically made it. It never, once, felt "big" to me. The shoddy lack of anything like storycraft made it all feel artificial and small to the point of unreality. Like there was a real version of the ending out there somewhere that we'll never get to see because this was the best thing they could throw together before handing it in at the last minute.

There were things that I liked. Oscar Isaacs was the best he's been in one of these. TFA had Poe likable but too bland. TLJ had him more interesting but too much of a dick to be likable. This convincingly made him a likable dick, and I wish we'd had that balance from him all along (this is really more a script issue than a writing one, though.)

Also, I can't remember if the "force projection" thing was introduced in TFA or TLJ. I remember fanboys bitching about it after TLJ though (for the awesome healthy reason that we hadn't seen that before) so I'm glad that at least that one bit of the infinitely superior TLJ wasn't retconned out of existence here, but rather more fully developed in interesting ways that made for good plot beats.

But generally this was trash. It was hackwork. It was, if I have to put any one adjective to it - microwaved.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:13 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think everyone is underestimating just how much Carrie Fisher's death fucked up the arc of this trilogy.

Plus her skills as a script doctor could have been put to good use. Still, it's not hard to see where adjustments were made for her absence.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:20 PM on December 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Jeannette Ng wrote a review that is very good, with some points reminiscent of Hulk's.
posted by meese at 6:22 PM on December 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


I wonder if the movie is long enough for Topher Grace to work with when he makes his legendary edit.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:27 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Also, I thought the forest moon of Endor was decimated when the Death Star II (Midichlorian Boogaloo) exploded just miles above the surface. And if they could show Cloud City on Bespin, they could have shown Lobot dancing across the screen.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:31 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Death Star wreckage was on an ocean moon.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 PM on December 21, 2019




I thought the thing that Finn wanted to tell Rey was that he knew, from Leia, that she was Palpatine's granddaughter. And then he never needed to tell her because she found out on her own (well, through Ren).
posted by xigxag at 6:40 PM on December 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think the thing Finn needed to tell Rey was another fucking "mystery box" because JJ only provides questions and never satisfying answers.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:11 PM on December 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


I had a great time! So there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:27 PM on December 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


> For a second, in the background, between Unnamed Lesbian 1 and Unnamed Lesbian 2. _Cool_. Diversity quota fulfilled, JJ crosses it off his list, moves on.

I agree it was a token, but wasn't that Commander D'Acy and Unnamed Lesbian 1?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


> Who were all those Sith devotees in the needlessly bleak throne room?

I thought they were the Ghosts of Sith Lords Past.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:31 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I... I really liked it. I had a few quibbles -- it's rushed, they did Rose very wrong, I don't love the Palpatine thing -- but on the whole I really enjoyed it a lot. I feel very sheepish admitting that in this here hatefest, but... I liked it.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:40 PM on December 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


There was plenty of applause at the end at the theater I was in, and I didn't hear anyone laughing at the movie. But the theater was overheated and maybe the haters were passed out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:44 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


The corpse in the library: "> For a second, in the background, between Unnamed Lesbian 1 and Unnamed Lesbian 2. _Cool_. Diversity quota fulfilled, JJ crosses it off his list, moves on.

I agree it was a token, but wasn't that Commander D'Acy and Unnamed Lesbian 1?
"

Her wife's name is apparently Lieutenant Wrobie Tyce.
posted by octothorpe at 7:54 PM on December 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


I get that action movies have always elided over who the good guys are killing, but wow, this movie just kept mentioning that the empire was full of child conscripts.

There were a lot of scenes where the camera paid more attention to dead/dying stormtroopers than I've ever seen in a Star Wars movie. Between that and Finn meeting more deserters, I think the movie wanted to do something with caring about the stormtroopers as people but didn't have space/time.

I mostly liked the plot/character decisions in Last Jedi, but I think one place it really dropped the ball is that it should have been setting up Finn to lead a mutiny among the stormtroopers in the final film. Finn being a turncoat stormtrooper was one of the best new ideas in Force Awakens and Last Jedi should have done something more interesting with it than Finn's grudge with his former captain.
posted by straight at 8:09 PM on December 21, 2019 [31 favorites]


Chuck Wendig’s review very much captures my experience.

I also thought Finn was going to tell Rey that she’s a Palpatine.

What I most want to hear other people’s thoughts on is: what was up with Leia disappearing a second after her son did? Was she somehow using the Force to keep him alive? Or weirdly puppeting his body? That seems creepy and kind of evil...
posted by overglow at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Leia was waiting to pass on to Force Heaven until Ben was ready to go with her.
posted by straight at 8:11 PM on December 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


The next one had better get really great fucking reviews because I won't feel obligated to see it blind like I have felt for 8 previous movies after i obsessed over the first one. They've ran out their get-out-of-jail-free card for me. I enjoyed Rogue One and anyone of my mindset knows why. But they've strayed far far away, and I won't be giving them the benefit of the doubt from now on.
posted by hippybear at 8:21 PM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


sarcasticah et al.: Please don't be embarrassed. Don't get me wrong - I fucking hated this movie more than I thought I had capacity for, but love what you love and defend it, please.

Anyway, I've had about a million ideas about how this might not have sucked so badly since seeing it last night. Number One is, of course, removing every instance of Palpatine and every reference to Palpatine entirely. How might we do this while still holding a lot of the... let's call it a "plot" together? How about this:

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, egg on his face after the Battle of Crait, doubles down on his worst tendencies so as to ensure the loyalty of the First Order high command. Even let him reconstitute the mask, fine, symbolic of his relapsing. General Pryde (RIchard E. Grant) presents him with the idea of the Final Order, and he agrees to it, elevating Pryde as his heir apparent. But generally he is ruling through terror and abuse. The officer he force-chokes is given at least some additional development so as to red-herring who the mole might be.

Rey, Finn, Poe and Chewbacca are still on fetch-quests, but with a different MacGuffin because again, no Palpatine. As they go from place to place, they get caught up in the local tyrannies, inspiring the "small folk" throughout the galaxy. When Chewie gets captured, Rey isn't weirdly oblivious to it happening, but rather makes a hard choice to try to draw out Kylo, who has been on their heels this whole time because Rey & Company, while not seen as a legitimate threat, are an irritating thorn in his side, and a symbol of his failure on Crait.

Either Chewbacca really dies or at the very least his survival isn't signaled to the audience until Rey & Co. find him. Believing that she killed him fucks with Rey's confidence over the force for the rest of Act II.

Similarly, 3PO's sacrifice means something. Anything, really.

When Leia dies, it affects Kylo similarly as in the version we're stuck with, but he's in the midst of a political mutiny fomr the abused members of the High Command, and Pryde takes this moment to strike an incapacitating blow, taking away his lightsaber (which, yeah, is red, but I don't think that makes it evil in and of itself, does it?) before killing Hux as the spy. Just, you know, the spy who helped Pryde usurp Supreme Leader Kylo Ren first.

At this point, Rey & Co. return to basecamp, only to find Leia dead, something Rey would have known if she weren't out of tune with the Force. Absent a leader, Poe has to take over, but his cocksuredness drains right out of his face, and he has to come up with a plan that he's terrified won't be enough. Under Pryde, the Final Order is obliterating planets under rebellion - which Rey & Co. have been somewhat inadvertently creating all over the galaxy. We see scenes of people from those planets fleeing in any ships available as fast as possible.

Locked in a brig and unarmed, tortured and with nothing left, Ben Solo contacts Rey, this time as a friend in need. While Poe, Finn, Rose and the others are figuring out their plan of attack, Rey goes rogue with the two lightsabers to rescue him. Poe and Finn and other fighters lead the attack on the Final Order, with a distraught Rose providing actual meaningful ground support and recon.

Rey, on board the imperial destroyer, does the same (pretty awesome) colocation trick to arm Ben. They fight their way through the ship to get to the bridge while the battle begins to rage over some planet that means something to us - Tattooine, probably. They are racing against time to keep it from obliteration. Rey and Ben manage to get to Pryde as the x-wings take out the planet-killing weapon on the Destroyer. Pryde, more spiteful and evil than we even understood before, and remembering the Holdo Maneuver, sets the Destroyer on a collision course with Tatooine as his last action and then blows out the windows of the bridge, taking himself and a caught-by-surprise Ben out into space (as Kylo had done to Leia.)

The battle is won, but the Destroyer is still on-route for an apocalyptic crash into the planet. Rey dives out of the bridge window, catching Ben on her way down, and uses the force to stop both of them inches from the ground. They turn, and working together this time, force-aim the Destroyer away from Tattooine, before Ben dies in the sand of his ancestors.

Final scene, Rey drags Ben's body back to Skywalker Farm to give him a proper burial, and when asked, adopts the name "Skywalker" as her own, having none of her own and knowing thta they are her true found family.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:34 PM on December 21, 2019 [18 favorites]


(I forgot to mention, obviously the fleeing rebels from the different planets show up at Lando's call to help win the battle, but now we know why.)
posted by Navelgazer at 8:43 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


If we're offering ideas for improvement, here's an obvious one I thought for sure was going to be included but wasn't: Rey as the first canonical Force-user to transcend the Light/Dark dichotomy.

Having rejected both the Sith's grasping selfishness and the Jedi's misguided fear of passion and attachments, Rey would embrace her dark side without letting it consume her. The patented "Big Star Wars Twist"would be her epiphany that the Light/Dark duality misunderstands the true nature of the Force: that the dark side doesn't necessarily mean "bad," but "hidden," and that it's necessary to compassionately accept both sides to become a complete, psychologically healthy person.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 9:35 PM on December 21, 2019 [65 favorites]


reclusive_thousandaire: YES! I would have loved that! The series has always talked about "bringing balance to the Force" in a way that always meant "The Light Side Wins" but they could have made that so much more poignant in the finale.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:46 PM on December 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


These people are pretty cavalier about getting in old decrepit spaceships and taking them into actual outer space.

I would like to see contemporary heist movie where, to escape pursuers, the criminals steal the Saturn V on display at the Johnson Space Center and flee to the moon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:42 PM on December 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


But no, it turns out Rey has now built her own, so we're back to the lightsaber fetishism. But hey, she's got a new color!

You can't make a plastic toy targetted at kids aged 9 to 55 that retails for $21.95 out of peace.
posted by codacorolla at 10:48 PM on December 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


For a series that's had big funeral pyres (Qui Gon, Darth Vader) the weird marvel like 'snappening' of Leia and Ben was odd to me, but I've just remembered that Obi Wan also disappeared.

I think this movie really suffered from lack of Carrie Fisher- understandably and sadly so.

Agree that random Dominic Monaghan cameos were distracting, also realising that Rey's mum was Jodie Comer from Killing Eve.
posted by freethefeet at 12:41 AM on December 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


I didn't like what they did with Ben's repentance, but I have to admit Driver and Ford really sold it. And I'm willing to give the movie some slack there because they were really hamstrung by Fisher's death.

As for why Leia waited so long to do whatever she did? Maybe she knew it would be fatal and waited until she knew there was no other option? Maybe Luke's appearance on Crait showed her the way to do something she didn't know was possible? I was willing to work with it.

But the thing that completely took me out of the movie was Luke with his snide "That's no way to treat a light saber!" If Abrams himself had walked onto the set and ranted to the camera for five minutes about how he didn't like what the previous movie did with Luke's character, it would have been less ham-handed.

Fine, you didn't some of Johnson's choices. The mature thing to do is go forward. Have Luke say something about how the moment is different or Rey is ready or even that he sees things differently. You could have that same cool visual of Luke catching and returning the light saber without making whiny comments about how the previous movie sucked.

Like Kylo's helmet. Narratively, that worked for me. The Emperor is still alive?! I'm gonna need my Vader helmet after all. And the red repair marks looked very cool and had a great kintsugi vibe. Although as a directing choice, why on earth you would want to hide Adam Driver's face once it has been revealed, I have no idea.
posted by straight at 1:37 AM on December 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Re-reading the reactions for this, I think the biggest tragedy of The Last Jedi was it gave us an idea of a broader, more nuanced, and complicated world behind Star Wars and that we didn't get to see that story completed in Rise of Skywalker. Things folks had seen in the extended universe or the animated shows or even in the Mandalorian recently gave us a glimpse that there were more characters and people involved than the dynasty of Skywalkers (and Palpatines).

Taking this in the context of a Star Wars movie, this was fine, it provided entertainment, fan service, and was enjoyable in that regard. But for people for whom The Last Jedi spoke to, it became a disappointment.

I honestly was hoping that the ending would involve the collapsing of the Sith and the Jedi, and the new balanced school of thought being called Skywalkers. The family who were destined to bring balance to the force, and by their sacrifices they had - they demonstrated that it isn't in denial of one trait or the other, but in the balance between the two that one moves forward. Sacrifice for the benefit of most people instead of the few. It could be read that is in fact what Rey is doing with the new lightsaber color (but I doubt JJ Abrams thought at all about that) but I'd have loved to Rian complete the series, instead of Abrams.

But that's a tall order from a studio looking to generate another 20-30 years of continual revenue, gaming, and a rebooted extended universe content around it.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:11 AM on December 22, 2019 [19 favorites]


the fleeing rebels from the different planets show up at Lando's call to help win the battle, but now we know why

This really bothered me. No one showed up at Crait and it was heartbreaking. And it set up an interesting problem for the next movie. Our little band of rebels may be the spark that lights the flame, but how does that actually happen? What if we'd gotten a Canto Bight type side quest where we see Lando, Rose, maybe Maz, rallying the resistance they've been building? So much of this movie was JJ pushing exciting but hollow storytelling buttons and repudiating TLJ.
posted by Mavri at 3:47 AM on December 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Honestly it's the timeline that bothers me the most. How did Lando manage to get THAT MUCH support over the course of what seems to maybe be just a day or two? I know hyperspace travel is fast, but it's not THAT fast.

I have so many issued with timelines in this movie in general. It's just a bunch of events that have been stitched together in order to make a good movie, but logic and basic demands of physics don't allow much of it to be real or true outside of "this would be a great moment in a movie, let's do that!".
posted by hippybear at 5:12 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Clearly, Lando offered everyone a free case of Colt 45 if they came. Works every time.
posted by LostInUbe at 7:03 AM on December 22, 2019 [18 favorites]


How did Lando manage to get THAT MUCH support over the course of what seems to maybe be just a day or two?

I mean yeah, but even so I find that a lot more believable than the larger problem: How did the Emperor manage tp get that much support over the course of what seems to be maybe just a day or two to man his gargantuan fleet of Super Star Destroyers (or whatever they're called)? If the First Order had its hands full kidnapping conscripts to train for its existing vessels, and the Emperor's ships would magnify the First Order's fleet size by "10,000-fold," then where'd all those naval officers and troopers come from?...And how did nobody notice before then? How did Exegol's location remain a secret when literally thousands of ships would have to go there to drop off conscripts, supplies....FOOD?

Well, maybe not food. I don't believe we've ever seen a single mess hall -- or latrine -- on any of the Imperial or First Order vessels. Logically speaking, that can only mean one thing -- stormtrooper uniforms form completely sealed, biologically self-sustaining habitats. And at the commissioned officer level, the attrition rate is so high that they never actually have time to eat or take a shit.
posted by xigxag at 7:06 AM on December 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


This installment feels a lot like the last season of GoT to me. I don't mind where they ended up, but it was rushed and clumsy and unsatisfying in so many ways.

One of my biggest gripes is that over the course of the final three movies the new kids were always overshadowed by the, sometimes literally, ghosts of the previous installments. Rey, Poe, Finn, and Rose all deserved more of the spotlight and for their stories to be the focus. Ben/Kylo too. (Hell, even BB-8...) But they never were, really. Any time an original trilogy character was onscreen they overshadowed the new kids.

I think Rey and company are all done with Star Wars after this, but I kinda hope they get a sequel for Rey Skywalker and the rest completely without any original trilogy actors or characters. Even Chewy, despite the fact that I love the walking carpet.

I'm also bugged by the sudden introduction of new force powers to fit the plot. Especially the final lightshow from the Emperor, which was just ludicrous. I wouldn't have minded a final confrontation with the Emperor if they had done it properly, though I was also feeling like that was just pulled out of JJ Abrams' ass.

I seem to recall that Star Wars was inspired by the Flash Gordon serials with Buster Crabbe. I haven't watched those, but I'm guessing they were fast-and-loose storytelling without a lot of logic. In that sense, the new trilogy succeeds in capturing that spirit.

I wanted a coherent and satisfying end to the series and mythology. We got this instead. Very on character for 2019.
posted by jzb at 7:37 AM on December 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


real question: this movie was moving so fast on maglev rails i didn't understand ray's genealogy: she is sheev's granddaughter and sheev had a child who was one of rey's parents (didn't catch which) who the dude on the ship killed because sheev told him to? is that right?

one would think sheev's kid might have come up before... one night stand? did he not know?

anyway, can't wait for the plinkett review
posted by entropicamericana at 7:58 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


xigxag:
If the First Order had its hands full kidnapping conscripts to train for its existing vessels, and the Emperor's ships would magnify the First Order's fleet size by "10,000-fold," then where'd all those naval officers and troopers come from?
This bugged me as much as the general question of how those cloaked figures survive on that world.

There could have been an at-least-vaguely cool solution to both problems: The cloaked figures are a legion of Sith kept alive by the Emperor's dark side abilities, and they can crew the ships. In most of these movies, only a few people on either side of the galactic wars are notably Force-sensative, and fewer still pilot ships. Suddenly we're facing an army of Sith in Star Destroyers? Yikes! That can only be stopped by all the Jedi we've spent a few hours training, in some imagined total rework of the story. (But nonasuch's idea posted to tumblr is much better still.)

entropicamericana:
one would think sheev's kid might have come up before... one night stand? did he not know?
He was intentionally seeking her out, to bring her into the darkness and whatnot. It's not clear whether there's any extent to which he'd actually raised the relevant child, which I think was his son, but I suppose he didn't. Also, I believe the last thing the father of Rey had said before being killed was something like "She's not on Jakku", which... okay then, apparently that actually worked.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:27 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


But the thing that completely took me out of the movie was Luke with his snide "That's no way to treat a light saber!" If Abrams himself had walked onto the set and ranted to the camera for five minutes about how he didn't like what the previous movie did with Luke's character, it would have been less ham-handed.

As if it wasn't petulant enough to completely ignore the scene in Last Jedi where Luke's saber was destroyed in spectacular fashion. What, no time even for a quick scene where it gets welded back together too, maybe with some cool blue lightning marks where it was broken? That whole force ghost scene sucked bad. Not least because it could not have been more telegraphed - "ah yes, time for Luke's Force Ghost Scene, here in the designated time and place" - but also because one of the few acknowledgments that Last Jedi even happened was this rushed, empty scene that tries to kludge in Last Jedi imagery into JJ's exhausting Star Wars clip show. He missed every point that movie made, and actively retconned some of it's absolute best choice but, ooh, look, he can frame a shot of burning wreckage the same as the burning tree shot.

I hate this movie more the more I think about it, which you're not supposed to do with JJ Abrams movies in the first place. They let him make Star Wars: Into Darkness. I cannot believe he got me twice, damn.
posted by EatTheWeek at 9:13 AM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


if he even deigns to turn his attention away from all the money he's scored out of this gig, i truly believe the note he's making for the next one is, ah, gotta make the pace even faster they're still asking questions!!!
posted by cendawanita at 9:17 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


This wasn't the movie I wish it was, but it was fine as the end of the Skywalker story, I suppose. (The Last Jedi was a better Star Wars movie than we deserved.)

There were some really cool space fights, I liked the planets we saw, cute new droid, loved the kite festival they wrecked up in search of their McGuffin. I liked the group of mutinied stormtroopers and the new Keri Russell character - too bad we needed so many force ghosts of space Christmas past moments so we had no time to develop anything new! Or any plot line for Rose, which was bullshit. At the same time that I was annoyed by that though, I was also outraged that Rey went back to Ahch-To and we didn't see any of the caretakers being pissed at her return, so I'm probably just annoyed my particular fandom wasn't serviced.

Anyway, I hope they make some cool spin offs in the Star Wars universe that aren't burdened with 30 years of family saga mythology - I like Rey a lot, but I never ever need to see Daisy Ridley's ghost lecturing her apprentice, please, for the love of everything.
posted by the primroses were over at 9:25 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


finally scrolling thru tumblr instead of just twitter, and seeing the tlj scenes of leia, and the repurposed footage used in this one from tfa, and it just reminded me of one more thing i disliked about tfa and that was how leia was handled (to wit: imo carrie fisher wasn't given much to do; and there's a big difference in energy when compared to her in tlj). anyway, since i'm already past disappointed, i'll now move into my next phase of fandom: rb-ing memes.
posted by cendawanita at 9:31 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


emjaybee: "I still think Finn, Poe and Rey make a nice poly triad."

I'd invite Rose to that party, too. A-and maybe Chewie too; I expect Wookiees are vocal
posted by chavenet at 9:54 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I liked that kite festival scene better when I was watching it in Thor: Ragnarok.
posted by absalom at 10:05 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


What’s the big deal about the Falcon’s busted landing gear? That ship can hover in midair! That is in fact how it lands! Why did it crash on that planet and leave ten Falcon lengths of divot behind it when it can stop in midair and descend in place?

(I thought of this while lamenting the absence of a TORA! TORA! TORA! or MEMPHIS BELLE like scene of the Falcon’s crew using a hand crank to lower the landing gear).
posted by chrchr at 10:25 AM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


because i never met a gen-x kid who didn't do a crash landing maneuver with their falcon toy. one belly slide in tfa was fine (especially since it was han who did it) the one in TROS was gratuitous and felt like the kids wrecking dad's car sweet space van
posted by entropicamericana at 10:40 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


of course, the real reason was the plot dictates that our characters be split up for the fight on the ruins of the death star (plot on rails, folks)
posted by entropicamericana at 10:42 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


That Jennette Ng piece linked above is another really smart, detailed and thoughtful deep critique of Abrams and his new movie, and might be useful for folks who see less carefully presented negative reviews as snide, mean-spirited attacks.
posted by mediareport at 10:48 AM on December 22, 2019 [13 favorites]


Of all the giveaways to the toxic anti-Last-Jedi crowd, sidelining Rose is the one I find hardest to forgive, probably because at least most of their other objections to Johnson's movie could be painted as simple nostalgia.

Luke should have been gung-ho for the Jedi and their laser swords? Sure! Rey has to have an Important Family? Whatever! Kylo must be redeemable because that's what you do with Darth Vader wannabes? Fine, it was morally stupid the first time around and it's possibly stupider this time but go right ahead.

But why do that with Rose? What problem did they have with her anyway? (I know the answer, but what I mean is, what problem did they have that could be expressed in polite company.)

Along with everything else, given that this thing sunk and even those folks don't seem too happy with it, I'd say this is a decent lesson against paying too much attention to the Internet. Ironically that's what the toxic crowd thinks Hollywood does whenever it goes "SJW" (a label whose application to TLJ seems weirder every time I see it, because there are zero social-justice-style messages beyond very broad strokes). But generally speaking, people liked Last Jedi. All Abrams had to do was take the story in whatever direction he wanted, just as Johnson had; a second Force Awakens would have been fine.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:01 AM on December 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


For all the valid criticisms of the elevation of the saber-swinging Jedi Militant by JJ, also consider that the galaxy is saved in large part because Rey is kind to a couple of droids.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:43 PM on December 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Empire Strikes was a departure from A New Hope and then RoTJ returned to New Hope's tone, so this aping the first one kinda fits.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:25 PM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Palpatine is the ultimate villain in the final film of all three trilogies. It didn't have to be that way, but here we are.
posted by hippybear at 2:27 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did anyone think of Spectre when the emperor was saying how he was behind everything in the previous movies?
posted by octothorpe at 2:43 PM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


I agree with nearly all of the enthusiasm and criticisms in this thread. To me, the offensive aspect of this movie is how hard Abrams torpedoed the amazing, larger themes that Johnson brought to the story. TLJ is (for me) the best Star Wars movie, and its larger themes are a big reason why. (Unfortunately, my fear about this proved true.)

I haven’t read much comment (here or elsewhere) on how TLJ actually mirrors ESB fairly strongl (thematically more than narratively). While I like that the final trilogy echoes the middle one, only Johnson did that in a meaningful, subtle way that really enlarged some of what was only touched on in ESB. I will always be upset that Rey was not allowed to remain a self-made person, a hero because of her compassion, personal values and choices.

‘Rise of the Skywalker,’ as others have pointed out here, really would have been so much more satisfying if it was a post-Jedi/Sith order, unifying the Force practice and opening it to all. Johnson clearly pointed the way to that, and Abrams clearly wanted none of it. Sigh.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:32 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


I liked it. I enjoyed it. I agreed in most part with the Chuck Wendig essay linked above, Star Wars is "delightful junk." I also get why a lot of people are disappointed with it. My favorite part of the movie was probably Ben's little shrug when he received the saber from Rey towards the end, to me it was reminiscent of a young Han Solo and I grinned.
posted by misozaki at 3:50 PM on December 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


As much as I enjoyed it as a popcorn movie, I did make clear to my kids that if someone is a creepy stalker mass-murderer, you shouldn't kiss them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2019 [23 favorites]


Empire Strikes was a departure from A New Hope and then RoTJ returned to New Hope's tone, so this aping the first one kinda fits.

I recall as a teenager speculating on the upcoming Revenge Return of the Jedi. A promotional shot appeared in our local newspaper a couple of months before release, a shot showing the partially-completed Death Star II above Endor. In those impossibly innocent pre-internet days when we know nothing of there being a second Death Star, and one of my classmates declared, “They go to the ruins of the Death Star!”

Thirty-four-and-a-half years later, they went to the ruins of the Death Star.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:12 PM on December 22, 2019 [11 favorites]


THE DEAD SPEAK! made me bounce up and down in my chair and squeeze Mrs. Sauce's hand with great excitement.
posted by Sauce Trough at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


I would like to see a contemporary heist movie where, to escape pursuers, the criminals steal the Saturn V on display at the Johnson Space Center and flee to the moon.

That’d be a cool mashup of Ocean’s Eleven and Apollo Eleven.
posted by New Frontier at 4:16 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


👃👈
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:19 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Finally watched it and have to say, it’s…fine. There's a ton of things I didn't enjoy about it, all mentioned above, no need to rehash that. Chuck Wendig's essay comparing the series to junk food is largely on point but misses a crucial detail.

Sure, one can eat and like two old pizza, cause hey, it’s there and you don't feel like ordering anything else. 

But a fresh pizza is pretty easy to get and is so much better. Yet Disney is choosing to serve two-day old pizza. That's the galling part.

Anyway, when's the episode of The Mandolarian drop?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:40 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


You know, it's been a genuine delight to watch this latest trilogy with my daughters (aged 8 & 11). They love (LOVE) Star Wars now with an unquestioning devotion. They've watched a hero they can truly relate to emerge and grow. They're too young for Twitter/Reddit so have got to experience the whole thing on their own terms, just like I did first time round in the 70s/80s.

There was a disparaging mention somewhere about Abrams wanting every scene to inspire 'delight' and how this rode roughshod over the greater scheme of the structure. Whilst I fully appreciate this criticism, I truly feel that it holds Star Wars films up to a standard far higher than could be reasonably expected. The energetic feeling of romping through the quest-y elements at the beginning, followed by slower and yet slower momentum worked really well for me.

And the emotional heavy-lifting by Ridley and Driver was beautiful to see.

Kylo's conversion to the Light was a little rushed but believable, and the difference in the way Adam Driver carried himself between Kylo Ren and Ben was truly awesome.

YES. It was visible that all that baggage of hate and resentment had gone. He had, dare I say it:

Hope.
posted by dogsbody at 4:52 PM on December 22, 2019 [17 favorites]


And the emotional heavy-lifting by Ridley and Driver was beautiful to see.

Just wanted to emphasize this—talk about elevating the material. Their performances throughout the new trilogy have been fantastic.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:11 PM on December 22, 2019 [17 favorites]


It's a bad movie that I liked a lot. The plot was a little ham fisted but all of the characters worked for me and I liked how they close Ben and Rey's arcs.
posted by signal at 5:19 PM on December 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I thought there were a couple of understandably flat moments where Daisy Ridley was acting off the to-be-inserted Carrie Fisher, but my brain went to that Ewan McGregor anecdote where he's re-enacting performing in front of a green screen and George Lucas exhorting him to "look at the moons!"

(agreeing with LooseFilter above)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:20 PM on December 22, 2019


hippybear: "Palpatine is the ultimate villain in the final film of all three trilogies. "

You mean "all two trilogies". There's two trilogies. That's it.
posted by signal at 5:22 PM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yes yes. I misspoke. I don't know what drove me to make such a typo.
posted by hippybear at 5:30 PM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


In fact the movie should have been called STAR WARS IX: THE DEAD SPEAK!

with exclamation point
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:33 PM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


I was so sure that there was a Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney Jr film from the 1950s with a very similar title to THE DEAD SPEAK that I scoured this specially generated Wikipedia page (every article starting with "The Dead": https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:PrefixIndex/The_Dead
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:39 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


PALPATINE! (Please clap)
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


Palpatations! (Please administer CPR)
posted by hippybear at 5:53 PM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm sitting here waiting for the next episode of Star Trek: Enterprise to pop up on Fanfare, so I'm here instead. I thought this week's 15-year-old episode of Enterprise was better than this movie that I saw last night, so I apologize in advance for what's coming.

But, kudos: This conversation (which I have read all off) has been more constructive than Fanfare gets credit for. I've learned a lot from it, and it's mostly colored my thoughts of the film. To be fair, it didn't make me like the movie any more, although it did help me figure out what was specifically wrong. Let's just say that in my opinion, the only directors who should be allowed near a Star Wars script ever again are Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson.

Now, sorry, here is me hating this movie:

I sorta thought that the 24 or so hours since would temper my general feeling of the film, and deep dives on writings that both liked it and didn't would give me a more nuanced view that would make me appreciate it more, but, nope. I hated it. I hated it thoroughly.

First, by way of positives: Driver and Ridley were fucking fantastic. The entire cast was fucking amazing, but if anything was going to carry this picture, it was their performances. And they were fucking fantastic.

JJ Abrams can make a beautiful picture, and he did not disappoint here. It was gorgeous. The colors were perfect, the cinematography was top-notch. The editing was as tight as could be... It was cut so fast-paced that it made Mad Max: Fury Road seem like a leisurely stroll in the park. It was 2 1/2 hours of pure adrenaline dropped straight into the eye.

But, that was too much. There was no stopping for character development, no pauses for emotional resonance. Leia's death was met with a great reaction from Chewie, and lasted all of a half-second, shot from 30 yards away.

And that's before we get to the plot, which was, in no uncertain terms, a godawful mess.

Not one event survives a second thought as to why or how it happened.

Which is cool, because Abrams gives you no time for second thoughts.

The worst thing about it, which, really, is the whole of it, is his deciding that despite how good The Last Jedi's theme was, Rey was not in fact a nobody, but a fucking Sith princess.

Oh, and Palpatine is back. I think most writing coaches would suggest that introducing your main antagonist in the third act is bad writing.

And the whole thing with Palpatine makes no sense. First (to crib Chuck Wendig's delightful essay)..he fucks? Gross. But, when was that ever established? Never? Cool.

Second, how is this fucking guy creating a military out in the middle of nowhere that is 1000 times bigger than the...whatever the fuck the First Order is? We all know that armies travel on their stomachs...how is he feeding these people? How is he...building these thousands of planet destroyers ... and with nobody noticing?

Let's go back to Rey. She's supposed to be a nobody. It's the whole theme of the last movie. That anybody can be the hero of destiny. Now, that's been completely written off.

And, jesus, who is the Skywalker that is supposed to be rising? She's a Skywalker now? I guess she looks over at Luke and Leia, but Leia was never a Skywalker. And Ben (cool confusing redemption arc...I guess?) is a Solo. There. Are. Literally. No. Alive. Skywalkers. In. This. Movie.

And Rose. Fuck. She was one of the best characters of this trilogy and she got like three lines and two minutes of screen time. Because fucking incels on Reddit didn't like her. Good on Abrams for denying her a speaking roll /s

And both C3-PO and Chewie were sacrificed, but turns out not, which, cool.

This was a movie that was all blowing shit up and being cool, but had no heart, and even the plot falls apart the second you think about it at all. This was a Bad Movie.

And made all the worse because the movie before it was very good, but made worse by the retconning that made it not as good.

And oh god the CGI awfulness of Luke training Leia... good god that was worse than the war crime that was using old footage of Carrie to piece together something that almost looked like a narrative.

(and, lol, the first time in the trilogy we're learning that Leia was trained as a jedi and had her own lightsaber, but whatever I guess)
posted by General Malaise at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


I think all the fleet building and manning stuff will be hand waved away by the thinking of "Hey, it's the Unknown Regions, who knows what they've got going on out there. It's unknown!"

Anyway, the visual dictionary to RotS came out the same time and gave a bit more depth to what was going on, in that tried true fashion of Star Wars explaining stuff after the fact.

The robed guys are the Sith Eternal, who are Sith hangers-on, not actual Sith themselves. A Knight of Ren is on the cover but the new Rise of Kylo Ren comic looks like it is going to delve deeper into the backstory of the Knights.
posted by LostInUbe at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


As if it wasn't petulant enough to completely ignore the scene in Last Jedi where Luke's saber was destroyed in spectacular fashion. What, no time even for a quick scene where it gets welded back together too, maybe with some cool blue lightning marks where it was broken?

It had sort of a metal band aid with some screws on it, but it was easy to miss.

I would have loved a sequence of Rey making her own lightsaber and using it throughout the film. Alas, all we got was the brief moment at the end of the movie.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:28 PM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


I... think I liked it? That's remarkable, given that I thought TFA was problematic at best and I kind of detested TLJ.

I can see how, if you thought the previous movie took the franchise in all sorts of thrilling new directions, this movie would feel like a slap in the face. There was some stuff (like Finn getting over his big dramatic coma offscreen, without anybody even mentioning it had been a thing) that felt like a hard reboot from the second movie the same way TFA felt like hard reboot from the prequels. But I felt like TLJ gave itself a hernia from crapping so hard on the original trilogy, it was a movie with a weird grudge against its own source material, and this one was a huge improvement. Luke wasn't awful! C-3PO was an actual character again, who did stuff! They even managed to bring back Palpatine and redeem Kylo Ren in ways that worked for me. It ended the new trilogy just about as well as it could be ended, given the stuff set up in the wobbly first movie and the lousy middle one. There was nothing in this that made me roll my eyes and mutter about how these characters wouldn't do this shit in a million freaking years, and tonally it actually felt like a part of the Star Wars universe in a way that nothing has really felt for me since... 1983?

It wasn't perfect, and I'm sure that in the days ahead I'll find plenty to quibble with. But the first two movies in this trilogy felt like a big "fuck you" to me as an old school SW geek who grew up making X-Wings out of cardboard and scotch tape in my bedroom, and if this one felt like a big "fuck you" to you, well, I'm sorry but at least you got two movies you enjoyed while I sat there waiting for something that didn't hurt.

I was shocked how badly they botched the CGI for young Leia, given how much crap they took for the (much better) young Leia in Rogue One. In general Leia was kind of a distant presence in this, she felt off, but I suppose that couldn't be helped and I felt like they probably gave her the best send-off they could. The moment when Chewbacca collapsed in grief over her loss got me weepy, and the spectral visits from Luke and Han were actually effective too. I'd grown to really dislike JJ Abrams after his Trek reboot and TFA, it seemed like he was on this weird campaign to dig up all my childhood heroes and make them act like jerks I could hardly recognize, but I can't really fault the guy here. I go to a Star Wars movie wanting to see, you know, a Star Wars movie, and I'm kind of amazed to feel like I actually did that today.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:57 PM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


This one really brought things back to the old Flash Gordon serial days:

*deciphering secret encoded message inscribed on an ancient Sith dagger*
"..B-E...S-U-R-E...T-O...D-R-I-N-K...Y-O-U-R...P-A-L-P-A-T-I-N-E..."
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2019 [24 favorites]


I went looking for previous mentions of 'force dyad' and found some leaks about the plot for TROS, which is not what I was looking for. Does anyone know if this was mentioned in a novel or comic somewhere?
posted by fiercekitten at 8:54 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


A Knight of Ren is on the cover but the new Rise of Kylo Ren comic looks like it is going to delve deeper into the backstory of the Knights.

oh oh one other thing I liked about this movie was that the Knights of Ren were total punks who got pwned by Kylo Ben in like three seconds.

Fascists don't tolerate able subordinates; they staff their orgs with bullyboys and yesgirls.
posted by Sauce Trough at 9:17 PM on December 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


It was cool that they finally revealed that 1/2 of Daft Punk is actually Felicity, and then tragic when her planet got blown up. The only thing that was more unexpected than that was the reveal of General Hugs as the mole. It was both totally predictable and yet unexpected.

As for Abrams throwing away all the more progressive elements of Johnson's previous film, especially Rose's passion and bravery, Rey not being from a legacy of force users and women welding power thoughtfully and without adopting toxic masculinity…

[cone-face droid voice] NO THANK YOU!
posted by Cogito at 9:55 PM on December 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


Another thing I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere is that the pivotal Ben/Han scene (which had the best acting I’ve seen from Harrison Ford in a long time) was clearly (to me) supposed to be Ben/Leia. It seems that whatever planned intent there was for the third film of this trilogy really needed Leia’s character, and her role in completing Ben’s character arc. (In fact, I suspect that’s the only way Ford was persuaded to do even one more Han Solo scene in his life, that it was supposed to be Leia there and of course that couldn’t happen, and he was honoring his friend.) While it was a terrific scene, and the mirroring & inversion of the murder scene in TFA worked really well, it would have been so much more impactful if it were his (maybe actual, physically present) mother instead.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:10 PM on December 22, 2019 [57 favorites]


clearly (to me) supposed to be Ben/Leia

This seems spot on.
posted by rustcellar at 10:14 PM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


I was also impressed by the fact that after that scene with his dad, Ben doesn't have any more lines (I think? I've only seen the movie once). Adam Driver is such a great actor.
posted by misozaki at 11:20 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I loved it. I ended up watching it with my almost-6-year-old after getting her through episodes IV - VIII in four days. And it was magic. Sure, the plot is a mess (that weapon protractor thing, snerk), but it was emotionally impactful where it needed to be. I actually really loved Ben's redemption, that beautiful scene with Han Solo, and seeing well-written parental love in a movie like this, where it really feels genuine and earned--that was beautiful. I feel a little bit heartbroken that he dies which is part of what makes it all feel earned to me. These are movies about the triumph of love and the importance of sacrifice. So we got love and sacrifice.

And the saber battles! Can we talk about how well done they were in this trilogy? With a slow build to some of the flying we saw in the prequels but it all felt measured, well paced, emotive, and earned.

I'm happy, and I'm so glad I got to experience these big magic space movies with my kid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:01 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


My favorite part of the movie was probably Ben's little shrug when he received the saber from Rey towards the end, to me it was reminiscent of a young Han Solo and I grinned.
posted by misozaki at 3:50 PM on December 22


I loved that moment too! Makes me so happy that someone else noticed it.
posted by Zumbador at 12:35 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I was dragged in by my family who’d bought tix weeks ago and my whole attitude going in, as your typical American child of the 70’s with all the toys, Legos, posters, bedsheets, t-shirts, etc, was “thank god this will now be over.” P.s. I hated The Last Jedi. Way too much “Here’s some totally made up magic you’ve never seen before to move a plot along and develop characters in ways that are completely unexpected from the way you’ve known them ALL YOUR LIFE.”

So with that, Rise of Skywalker engaged me all the way through, suspending my cynicism and disbelief and easily swallowing all the plot development. Palpatine survived the electrical pit of death in ROTJ? Sure. Vat o’Snokes? Why not? Jedis have healing powers? Ok! There was so much candy thrown to fans but after 40+ years in a final episode it seemed fun and appropriate.

I think they should have given Rose more, but at least they didn’t ignore her completely. And I was really pleased that no one really hooked up romantically. And that Han (not a Jedi) didn’t appear as a magic ghost but was basically a hallucination in Kylo’s mind and it was still touching.

Ultimately, the best part was was looking over at my eight year old and watching rainbows shoot out of his eyes for two and a half hours and realizing this isn’t for me, it’s for him. The fact that it was “good enough” for me was just icing on the cake.

But I am glad we are done with this now. What’s this about baby Yoda now?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:54 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


> That Jennette Ng piece linked above is another really smart, detailed and thoughtful deep critique of Abrams and his new movie, and might be useful for folks who see less carefully presented negative reviews as snide, mean-spirited attacks.

I can't recommend this piece enough - it really puts into words the feelings I have about the movie. Is it entertainment? yes. Is it compelling storytelling? no.

I realized this morning that JJ Abrams exists because he is a film school graduate who knows the beats, framing, and technical components that make a movie work. He's like the culinary institute graduate who goes on to work for McDonalds to help them refine their chicken nuggets. In a way, he's a lot like George Lucas. Both of whom showed up at a time when there was also a major shift in visual effects that compensated for their by the numbers storytelling. Trying to retell Kurosawa movies and Tora! Tora! Tora! but in space with wizards instead of Ronin would have failed if it weren't for the holy shit we've never seen anything like this before level of visual effects.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:21 AM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I feel kind of torn between wanting to get what good I can from this movie (that I mostly enjoyed) because I don't honestly expect much from corporate story telling? So the good things (Adam Driver! Daisy Ridley! Rescue Dog Robot! And the ridiculous but satisfying drama of the Wreckage in the Ocean) make me happy. I also loved Finn, and Jannah. Also, FINN, POE AND REY ARE TOTALLY A THREESOME!
On the other hand, I also think it's great that people have enough passion for stories that they expect higher standards from every kind of story telling, even the corporate kind, and don't just do what I do and shrug and say *eh, what do you expect *
I could accept most of the stuff that other people don't like, most of it made a certain kind of goofy sense in the story-world of the film. But the one thing that really did bug me was the weird racial stuff, with people seemingly being grouped or paired off according to race. It felt off to me. (Unless the threesome really IS a thing?!?!?!!??)
posted by Zumbador at 1:44 AM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


(Also I forgot along with compelling visual effects, there’s the white guy mediocrity pass for George and JJ)
posted by mrzarquon at 1:46 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


From the Medium piece:

Many have framed this as a sort of “impossible situation”, that the film had to somehow please both the new fans brought in by The Last Jedi and also the older fans of the series that hated it, but this treats the actions, criticisms and the desires of the fans as equivalent and equal. That those who oozed misogyny and racism in their reviews and their harassment campaigns are somehow the same as everyone else.

This kind of assumes that the only people who hated TLJ did so because of misogyny and racism. There were certainly some really loud idiots who hated the movie for those reasons, and they've kind of poisoned the whole discussion. But there were plenty of reasons to hate that movie that had nothing to do with more inclusive storytelling. I thought Rose Tico was just fine. I thought the movie she was in was kind of a big stinky pile.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:06 AM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I was pretty frustrated with TLJ. I didn’t like the way it made Poe suddenly a moron; I didn’t like the pointlessness of the long Canto Bight sequence, and I generally thought Johnson went a bit overboard with subverting everything about Star Wars. I was on board with significant subversion, but the relentlessness of “we won’t do anything you expect” wore on me.

However, what really worked for me was the Rey/Kylo/Luke stuff, and especially Rey’s parents being nobodies. What really worked was the idea that anyone could be Force sensitive—a nobody scavenger like Rey or a stablehand with a broom—and the idea that with Sith/Jedi societies had stratified the Force, turned it into the exclusive property of people with the right connections or training, and divided it into Light and Dark, turning the Force against itself. I was really interested in seeing Kylo and Rey reject all of that and actually bring balance to the Force by rejecting the Light/Dark dichotomy and creating a new, holistic, homespun order of Force users. The democratization of the Force was a welcome trajectory.

So: ”hey, turns out you’re a Palpatine and therefore part of a dyad of genetically privileged Force users, and absolutely none of the dramatic arc of TLJ will mean anything” was a huge disappointment. We’re back to the same old deal. If Abrams had any interest in actually dealing with the implications of that—the universe will forever be caught in a war between special people who inherit unimaginable power, and there’s not a damn thing the proles can do about it—that might be really interesting. Bleak, but interesting. But JJ doesn’t care about ideas or consequences. Not his bag. If we at least had a nod to the ridiculous temptations Rey will experience as the galaxy’s most powerful person now, that would be something, but no.

This movie felt determined to make everything as insignificant as possible. TLJ was ignored or actively insulted. Character sacrifices (Chewie/Threepio) were undone either instantly or within 20 minutes. No one really dies, but no one really lives, either, and we come to the end of nine movies and there’s still no balance to the Force and no one has learned much of anything.

Taking a big picture view of the whole nine films is just bleak. We can’t escape the light/dark battle, we just keep hiding the special babies who are destined to be powerful force users, but they inevitably rise to the top anyway, and keep on warring in the stars. It might offer some hope that the Skywalker line is dead, at least, except we’ve seen how casually the SW universe treats death. Somehow, this battle will continue, and whole planets of ordinary people will explode because of Force users. The key point of Star Wars is that we’d all be better off if the Force didn’t exist, and the best thing Force sensitive people can do is either (1) conveniently die—thanks, Kylo!—or (2) spend their lives in isolation a la Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke and probably Rey now. If your midichlorian level is too high you are condemned to megalomania or the hermit’s cave. Those are your options.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:18 AM on December 23, 2019 [38 favorites]


Just sounds like everyone who didn’t like it had specific expectations. Tsk.

To the extent that consistency, narrative coherence, and dramatic stakes count as “specific expectations,” I’m sure this is true. What’s striking to me is how the defenders of this film make it clear they had almost no expectations at all. I keep reading some variety of “I wanted space wizard battles with the good guys winning and I got it!” Which is fine, sure. I’m not going to try to talk you into also needing coherence and character development, but it would have been very possible to make a movie that gave us space wizard battles AND narrative coherence, but JJA either can’t or won’t do that, so some of us are going to leave the theater pretty frustrated.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:27 AM on December 23, 2019 [35 favorites]


In retrospect, I find a growing appreciation for Christopher Nolan's decision to definitively end his Batman trilogy. Much like Rise of Skywalker, The Dark Knight Rises is an overstuffed final entry whose storyline was likely thrown off-course by the death of a major actor between films. But the movie did something interesting by showing the cost of being Batman, and came down pretty hard on the side of "being Batman is bad for Bruce Wayne." The idea of a franchise's central conflict being a pathology one has to resolve and grow beyond - while still leaving the door cracked open for spin-offs and sidequels - is about as radical an idea as these kinds of movies can smuggle into the story.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 6:33 AM on December 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


Driver did it well, but Ren's face turn was just waaaay too much like a Bethesda game.

EVIL CHARACTER: I will evil in the most evil ways! Let's evil together because bad is good baby!
PLAYER: [SPEECH 100] Are you sure? What if you're completely wrong about everything?
EVIL CHARACTER: You're right! I will henceforth dedicate my life to good.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:52 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


How much say do the directors have in a long-running series like this, or James Bond, or Fast and Furious? Can the director do whatever they want with a script and cast whoever they want, or are they expected to stick to an outline they’re handed by someone higher up? If so, who is that person?
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:56 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


In the cinema I managed to very quickly make peace with the fact that they were reversing a ton of stuff from the last movie (which I loved), and subsequently managed to have a fun enough time.

Now that I'm out, I'm... less happy about those reversals than I was, but hey ho. I'm going to treat myself and do my best not to find out anything whatsoever about what The Bad Nerds thought about this film and if they consider, say, the sidelining of Kelly Marie Tran some sort of victory.

Fingers crossed for more interesting things from this universe going forward.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:24 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


To be clear I loved the last movie, not the plot reversals.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:27 AM on December 23, 2019


Much like Rise of Skywalker, The Dark Knight Rises i

Hey now, I didn't care for The Rise of Skywalker but it's not that bad.

My wife saw it yesterday and as someone who got into Star Wars as a kid, she found it fun and satisfying and the fanservice totally worked for her. And it made it extra clear to me that a lot of my problem with this movie is a problem with the trilogy, and it has to do with the core assumptions that the filmmakers had - that the people these movies were for already had emotional attachments to things that I just... don't.

Like, Kylo Ren. It was clear from the beginning that he'd have a redemption arc. But in order for me to care about whiny manbaby Kylo Ren's redemption arc, I would need to already care about Ben Solo. And Ben Solo didn't exist for me, the casual Star Wars moviegoer, in any meaningful form at all until Adam Driver pulled off a really nice bit of acting and made him real.

For ten minutes. Before he died.

If the series was going to be about Kylo Ren's redemption arc, I needed history and interiority for that character from pretty much the beginning. Unlike Vader, whose redemption arc was entirely about Luke and therefore I didn't have to care about Anakin Skywalker, this story required that I care about the villain. And Abrams in particular seemed pretty happy to assume that I already did because... he's Han and Leia's kid I guess? Because I should have read a bunch of the EU stuff? I dunno.

Likewise, my primary gripe with TLJ is that they really, really wanted me to care about Poe and his feelings in a scenario where the person making interesting decisions was Leia. Put me in Leia's head and make Poe a meaningful character through her feelings and reactions to him! Give me a reason to have sympathy with him! A couple of muttered asides don't do it when it's absolutely clear to me that he's being a jackass for no reason and doesn't have the power or the context to make meaningful choices. (Also that would have given me more Holdo, and I love me some Holdo.)

So yeah, I think this movie, and the trilogy on average, missed me because it had some serious structural and character flaws, but they were flaws that were pretty easily fixed on the part of the viewer with prior emotional engagement with the material. Which is fine! Fanfic is a thing for a reason! It's just that reading fanfic when you don't know the source material is often inexplicable at best, and usually dreadfully dull.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:31 AM on December 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


It might be interesting to have a website a bit like those ones which explicitly review films not on quality but on family-appropriateness, but for minor plot consistency, tech consistency, that sort of thing. They could have message boards and everyone who is deadly serious about that stuff and prizes it above all else could just hang out and have a lovely time together.

We could call it "reddi- *is dragged offstage by a walking stick*
posted by ominous_paws at 7:40 AM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


@Dorinda: the communitarian, everyone-could-be-force-sensitive, anti-elite, power-to-the-people thing which was the ABSOLUTE BEST part of TLJ is abandoned, because JJ is a dick. Gimme back Rian Johnson's ideological universe, please and thank you.

Agree with all your points, but this so much.
posted by mark k at 7:47 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Film Crit Hulk

O heck yeah just delete all my comments and take that as my opinion please
posted by ominous_paws at 7:51 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Once JJ was announced as the director, I hoped for the best and expected the worst. The movie was enjoyable but hollow extruded corporate franchise product. Disappointing, but whatever. My expectations had been managed.

But, essentially writing Rose out of the movie is just the absolute worst, most unforgivable thing they did. They've just told the most toxic fanboys that if they're loud and cruel enough they can get a woman of color written out of one of the biggest franchises there is. It's a repulsive move on Disney's part. Imagine what the people who hounded Kelly Marie Tran off the internet will do next time.
posted by Mavri at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2019 [34 favorites]


FanFare: reading fanfic when you don't know the source material is often inexplicable at best, and usually dreadfully dull.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:01 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Even a hundred or so hours post-release, it is clear that SW fans are going to be spilt up henceforth into those who enjoyed TLJ and those who dig TRoS, and never the twain. Five, ten years down the road we will all have met at least one fan couple containing one of each and we will all wonder about this James Carville/Mary Matalin dynamic.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Mavri: Imagine what the people who hounded Kelly Marie Tran off the internet will do next time.

It's okay, though, because presumably they can be redeemed by the power of love.

In seriousness, that's one reason Kylo's refusal to change at the end of TLJ mostly worked for me very well (and perhaps lead to frustration on the part of those who see themselves in him?). The larger idea of instant salvation has always felt wrong in this type of story, in part because such thoughts are never spared for the numerous mooks.

When Rey thinks she killed Chewbacca, that could have been a moment of serious reflection not just about the dangers of her own powers (calling back, in its own way, to Luke saying "It didn't scare me enough then -- it does now") but the larger moral implications of participating in war. After all, at that moment, even if Chewbacca didn't actually die, one presumes that numerous First Order agents, including crew who weren't wielding weapons, piloting a ship that itself isn't threatening anyone, all bit the dust. Whence their chance for redemption?

Later on, she expresses a desire to destroy Palpatine, and Finn says that's not like her. But all three of the trio have spent this film mowing Finn's own former fellow stormtroopers, most of them (apparently) conscripts against their will. I agree with other posters that a storyline whereby Finn's central quest is to liberate more turncoats like himself could have been very engaging -- plus it could dovetail with whatever Lando is doing, making the last-minute arrival of the cavalry feel much more earned.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:22 AM on December 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


Even a hundred or so hours post-release, it is clear that SW fans are going to be spilt up henceforth into those who enjoyed TLJ and those who dig TRoS, and never the twain.

What about those of us who think TLJ and TRoS were both "OK", but neither were as good as The Mandalorian?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:23 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


They will be like the devoted RC Cola fans.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:27 AM on December 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


How much say do the directors have in a long-running series like this, or James Bond, or Fast and Furious? Can the director do whatever they want with a script and cast whoever they want, or are they expected to stick to an outline they’re handed by someone higher up? If so, who is that person?

Abrams and Johnson are both on record saying that they had creative freedom with their scripts. And after seeing the films, they obviously made films that were stylistically and thematically theirs.

But one important thing that these directors had absolutely no control over was the schedule. The films in both the OT and PT were released three years apart. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, they announced that their new trilogy would have the films released every other year. The Lucasfilm acquisition was expensive, and Disney wanted to see a return on that investment quickly.

This two year gap left very little slack in the production schedule. Johnson started writing The Last Jedi before The Force Awakens was released, based on the shooting script (apparently the moment where Luke gives Han's dice to Leia was set up in a TFA scene that ended up cut during the final edit). Johnson even ended up filming one scene for TLJ during the shooting of TFA. In the end, production of TLJ went smoothly, and Johnson ended up producing a fine film within the time allotted.

Episode IX did not go as smoothly. The original director, Colin Trevorrow, was fired a few months after TLJ was released (and there was still no final script). After Johnson turned down the offer for IX, Abrams stepped up to fill in, but the schedule wouldn't change. Even the death of Carrie Fisher wasn't enough to change the schedule. Nothing stops this train.

So Abrams had creative freedom here, but he was starting late, on an already abbreviated schedule, without one of the most important actors for the story being told. This film was a mess, but I do think that the cast and crew should be lauded for turning out what they did given the constraints they had to work with.
posted by Uncle Ira at 9:17 AM on December 23, 2019 [35 favorites]


Star Wars: The Return on the Investment.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:07 AM on December 23, 2019 [24 favorites]


84 Lingering Questions After ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ (Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer)
9. If you randomly lightspeed skipped, wouldn’t you usually end up in deep space?


23. Are treadspeeders really necessary in a galaxy with speeders and speeder bikes?


29. On which date do you tell a prospective partner that you’re a Palpatine?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


More from The Ringer:
65. If Palpatine had extra Snokes lying around, why was the first Snoke we saw so scarred and hobbled? Couldn’t Palpy have swapped in a fresh Snoke?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:39 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think Snoke's physical comfort and well-being were perhaps not Palp's top priorities.

plus Palps is all "hey Anakin the Dark Side has lots of elite healing powers and advanced gynecology" and then he turns Vader into a wheezing machine-monster. Plus Palps himself was a melted blobbish freak.

The only real good-looking Sith was Count Dooku, or maybe Darth Maul if you roll xeno. Turning to the Dark Side means you're probably not going to ever be an underwear model

The nerd question I keep asking is why did the rebels need a ground component on their final mission; both of the target towers were hunks of metal sticking out exposed and the command ship one is definitely unshielded. Poe is the best in the galaxy at blowing exposed hunks of metal that decorate bad guy facilities, so...

the answer of course is that dropships deploying actual beast cavalry onto the hull of a star destroyer is a fucking dope moment that came straight out of a McQuarrie painting. JJ can sure deliver those fucking dope moments so long as one doesn't squint too hard, which is the answer to pretty much every fanboi question about TROS.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Repeated for emphasis: "Even the death of Carrie Fisher wasn't enough to change the schedule."

One of the few things that really pisses me about TRoS is the hacked together usage of Carrie Fisher footage. It was terrible, it showed and should not have been done if they truly wanted to honor her legacy in the films.

Fight me
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


Even a hundred or so hours post-release, it is clear that SW fans are going to be spilt up henceforth into those who enjoyed TLJ and those who dig TRoS, and never the twain.


and I am on both Team TLJ (it was a hot mess, an ambitious failure, if you're gonna break the mold, you gotta make a better movie than Rian Johnson did, but its high points and egalitarian themes are super great) and Team TROS (I don't think anyone does those giant star wars moments better than JJ even if the plot is a three-card monte game)

but yeah the Mandalorian is where it's at. hoping that the future of Star Wars is short-run TV.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I haven't seen the film and don't plan

...

One of the few things that really pisses me about TRoS is the hacked together usage of Carrie Fisher footage. It was terrible

man it seems like JJ Abrams is not the only one who is not telling a consistent story.
posted by Sauce Trough at 11:14 AM on December 23, 2019


Rise of LIEwalker amirite
posted by ominous_paws at 11:22 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh that reminds me, one of the things JJ Abrams should get credit for is the way he stocked the background characters with various ethnic types and women. It honestly makes scifi more "real" when I see various types of humans all over.

And yeah, more obviously gay people beyond a fleeting kiss in said background would have been better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I have truly loved all the new trilogy movies, including this one.

Some things I loved:
* The new droid buddy and the teeny hacker dude
* The creepiness of Sith C3P0
* FUCKING HORSES RIDING ON THE SURFACE OF A STAR DESTROYER. This gave me wonderful feelings of playing with action figures, and also throwing in My Little Ponies and He-Men or whatever.
* The redemption of Ben Skywalker. I was very worried about this, as I assumed they were going to do it, and that it would be done badly. Instead, I think they managed it pretty darn well (could have done without the kiss). It was well-earned, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice for it.
* One of the best lines is the history of Star Wars: “ It’s not a navy, it’s just... people.” Heck yeah, power to the people.
* A solid final statement on the theme of this saga, which was always something about coming to terms with one’s familial legacy. In the end, what really matters is the family you choose, not the family of your birth.

Some things I didn’t love:
* Needed more Rose.
* The way Carrie Fisher’s death really derailed some great potential. Certainly the Han Solo scene was meant to be hers, but I suspect there was so much more that we lost. In addition, the scenes with her footage were palpably awkward and clunky. I suspect that they did the best thing they could have done in the circumstances (going with a virtual Leia, having her death off-screen before the movie starts, or recasting Leia all seem like terrible options).

Also, in general, it might be a good idea for everyone to remember that everyone’s opinions are valid, and that no one is a bad person for liking or disliking this movie.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:41 AM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


And the saber battles! Can we talk about how well done they were in this trilogy? With a slow build to some of the flying we saw in the prequels but it all felt measured, well paced, emotive, and earned.

this was one of the Force Awakens choices that I really liked. Instead of being one of the crazy leapy elegant sword-dancer of the prequels, Kylo Ren bludgeons people like he's swinging a broadsword. Real nice reinforcement of the idea that the new generation is definitely lesser than the old one and is going to need to rediscover some things.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:37 PM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yes! And further, during the part where Kylo is dodging Rey's attacks with no sabre himself, some very definite Attack of the Clones-era dodging back from a space that the swing never came close to reaching. Hard to in-notice that when you've spotted it once (by which I mean seen it pointed out in some terrible YouTube video)
posted by ominous_paws at 12:48 PM on December 23, 2019


I will also chime in as someone who loved both TLJ and Rise of Skywalker, though I also acknowledge some choices in this one that I didn't care for, chief among them the Palpatine lineage. It just adds nothing to the film and feels really awkward. If Rey was just a super-powerful force user who came from nowhere, old Palps could still use her to create the ultimate Sith empress. That choice was disappointing.

What worked for me, as it did in TLJ, was the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben. A lot of that is on Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley, who both do a fantastic job here. Taking off Ren's helmet for (most) of the last two movies was just so vital to making them work. He sold his redemption way more than Vader's ever was. I personally was in the camp of, "He can be redeemed, but only in death," and I thought that part of the ending of this movie was handled really well. Especially because he dies simply to save Rey, not by helping her finish Palpatine, but just giving his life to bring her back. I thought that was very well done, and, if you're feeling generous, even can reference one of the big themes of TLJ: we win by saving what we love.

Not to say that this movie wasn't a bit of a mess, too rushed, too much plot, and typical JJ Abrams disregard for how space is big and empty (not as horrible here as it is in his Star Trek movies where it drives me insane!) but for me it worked.
posted by dellsolace at 12:53 PM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


PROTIP FOR DISNEY

whenever you get around to starting whatever the next "mainline" Star Wars stuff is, the thing after the Lucasfilm logo should read

A long time from now in a galaxy far,
far away...
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:57 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm an O.G. Star Wars fan, watched the original when it came out at 7 yo, and still call it "Star Wars", not "a new hope", bought the original action figures when they came out, dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween, am nerdy and geeky AF, web dev, etc, and I liked all three of this cycle, mostly because SW movies have always been dumb fun, and these 3 certainly are.
posted by signal at 2:14 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


It really felt like the whole thing was generated by an AI based on Reddit comments from fanboys who hated The Last Jedi. With a side of trying to spite Rian Johnson.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:25 PM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


Please tell me Han Solo's ghost looks in the pit and says "Snokes... Why'd it have to be Snokes?"
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:06 PM on December 23, 2019 [35 favorites]


Half in the Bag: The 70-Minute Rise of Skywalker Review.
posted by Pendragon at 3:08 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Here's a plot for the beginning of a movie:

There's a guy who's been taken hostage by a gangster. His friends want to rescue him. Their plan:

First they send his old gambling buddy to get hired as a guard for this gangster. No idea how he does this, but he pulls it off, despite the fact that he sometimes pulls his mask down in public, so that anyone could see who he really is.

Then the gang sends a couple of droids with a message that they want to buy their friend back, and give the gangster the two droids as gifts. This despite the fact that the gangster literally has a torture chamber for droids. Is there a reason for this? On the face of it, it makes no sense, but who cares? Just go with it.

So one of the droids is lucky: the last translator got tortured to death so he gets a job as the new translator. The other one gets to serve drinks on a yacht.

So then the gang sends in a princess dressed as a bounty hunter with the hostage's best friend. The story is that the bounty hunter captured the best friend. (I know that we saw the best friend go off with the gambling buddy in the last movie, but whatevs.) So the princess gives the best friend over to the gangster, but not before threatening him with a grenade unless he pays her more. What if that hadn't worked? What if the gangster had called her bluff? No idea what the plan was then.

But anywho, now the gangster has TWO hostages! Good job guys! So the princess tries to rescue the friend, but she gets caught and made a sex slave. But DO NOT WORRY because the REAL PLAN is about to start!

So now the guy's OTHER bestie shows up. He's a certified bad-ass now, which we know because he doesn't complain about going to tashi station for power converters any more, heck no. Now he got a haircut and wears all black.

So the bad-ass manages to waltz right into the gangsters hideout, and promptly gets himself thrown in a monster pit. After single-handedly killing the monster, he get recaptured and the gangster decides to throw the whole lot in a BIGGER monster pit. It looks bad guys: they're making the original hostage walk a plank!

BUT WAIT, because THIS IS ALL PART OF THE BAD-ASS PLAN. See, it turns out this is the same yacht that the waiter droid is on, and he has the bad-ass's lazer sword! So he gives the bad-ass his sword, and everybody risks life and limb and kill A TON of people, and JUST BARELY manage to survive and speed away on a skiff, while literally everyone on the yacht dies.

And now that the gang is all back together, they can actually start the plot of the movie.

...

So when you complain about how non-sensical the plot of this last one is, I have to wonder why this movie is being held to a standard that we haven't seen in 40 years.
posted by nushustu at 3:23 PM on December 23, 2019 [25 favorites]


The movie had its moments. It was fine. I wish Poe and Finn had just smooched during the last celebratory scene, Rose’s mistreatment was a shame, I like the Wendig essay, and nonasuch’s edits are very, very good.

I still can’t get past the treatment of droids’ autonomy (or, really, the lack thereof) in the Star Wars universe. It is so, so bleak. I almost walked out when C3PO (re) introduced himself with the “human-cyborg relations” line. They just mind-wiped him after getting what they needed from him! Sure, it’s all retconnable, but I hate, hate, hate it. So skeevy.
posted by cheapskatebay at 3:26 PM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


So when you complain about how non-sensical the plot of this last one is, I have to wonder why this movie is being held to a standard that we haven't seen in 40 years.

As many people have pointed out, Star Wars is full of plot holes and that's OK. I don't know that it's really possible to tell this kind of story without creating one. For me the key thing is: does the emotional logic hold up?

Luke and the gang risk everything to save Han because he's their friend. Their motivations track, even if the rescue strategy is nonsense. Rise of Skywalker tries to skate by on emotional shorthand wherever possible by borrowing the texture of what came before without understanding the emotional logic that produced it.

Case in point: why are Rey and Poe sitcom-bickering in their first scene together? Probably because we all remember Han and Leia bickering in the first two movies. So Rise apes that dynamic without understanding the clash of values that produced it: Han's selfishness vs. Leia's selflessness.

The original movies aren't anywhere near perfect, but they have believable character conflicts rooted in differences of belief and values. That's why they can get away with plot-nonsense. Rise just has clashes between personalities, which change based on the demands of the scene, and that's why the plot-nonsense rankles more.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 4:45 PM on December 23, 2019 [34 favorites]


I was amused when Poe asked Finn (or vice versa, I forget) "Does she do that to us?" about Jedi mind control.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:03 PM on December 23, 2019 [25 favorites]


I think this movie might have finally put the nail in the coffin for me. I can’t see myself really getting excited about any sort of Star Wars that comes out after this, and it’s hard realizing that.

I’m 43. Star Wars was probably the first story that I loved. It *was* my childhood. I always wanted to see the rest of the series, from the first time I heard the rumor that it was supposed to be nine movies long. And then the prequels came out, and they were largely crap, but the Tarkovsky micro series was so utterly perfect, it buoyed me through how bad the movies were. And The Force Awakens, it came out at probably the lowest point in my life, where I literally made a deal with myself that I had to just hold on long enough to see the new movie, that I couldn’t give up. No lie, it probably kept me alive, even if, after watching it, I was underwhelmed. I’ll still always have a soft spot for it because it was literally the thing that kept me from killing myself. And then 8 came out, and it spoke to me. It helped me understand that, having failed, it wasn’t the end of things, that how I chose to live my life after failing was the important thing. And, now, 9, and it’s just garbage. Not just garbage, but tainted, in a way that makes me wonder if all of the meaning and enjoyment I’ve taken from this series my whole life was just utterly misplaced and childish.

One of the things I *loved* about 8 was the revelation that Rey wasn’t anyone special, that the world of the force didn’t have to revolve around this one bloodline, reinforced by the random kid force grabbing the broom, the idea that the force wasn’t some hereditary bullshit, or some random thing with some watery tart throwing out swords as a way of government. And the throwaway petty bullshit Abrams felt the need to pepper through 9 was godawful “the holdo maneuver was dumb, and you’re dumb for liking it” line, combined with whatever the hell the “light speed skipping” thing was (which couldn’t possibly be a thing that came from the same shared universe where the holdo maneuver was possible) was eye rolling.

Abrams might be a fine film maker when working from his own stories, but when he’s given someone else story, one that comes with its own rules and tropes, he’ll break them or abandon them in order to do something that looks cool, rather than figuring out how to do the work that allows the cool thing inside the bounds of the story. He did it in Nu Trek, and he did it in 7 and now 9 as well. And I can’t think that most of 9 was Abrams lashing out because Johnson made a movie that had meaning and pathos, and Abrams couldn’t handle being overshadowed. Instead, he essentially says “yeah, none of that stuff mattered, here’s some fan service so you’ll ignore all the plot holes”

Like, Last Jedi, the whole Poe storyline was showing him that sometimes the charging headlong hero shit doesn’t work, and at the end of the movie, in the charge out against the stupid giant siege laser, he realizes that it’s the same shit he’s been doing the whole time, and it’s not going to work, and they need to try something else. TLJ wasn’t a perfect movie, but it had an actual message, a powerful one at that, that sometimes we fail, totally and completely, despite our best intentions, and that it’s what we do after that, how we react to our failure that defines us. Luke is forced to see that his reaction to his failure was the wrong thing to do. Finn learned that, when he had finally failed, that he *was* a hero, damnit, and would find a way to keep going. And Poe learns that sometimes being the hero doesn’t mean doing the fancy flying shit that wins medals, it means retreating and protecting those who you can help.

And in this movie, his whole character arc is him being asked what to do, him giving up and saying he was wrong, and then Lando saying he was right all along, and then... what? Where does that character go?

I guess I’m just brutally, brutally disappointed in this movie, in a way that abused my willingness to extend my childlike wonder to the end of the franchise, when the proper response is to say, oh, just grow up, it’s just a movie.

It was a series that made me feel as excited as the kid I was every time I heard the opening fanfare, saw the crawl, no matter how old I got, no matter how dumb the text was, and yeah, if I just didn’t care, if I just thought, eh, it’s just a movie, maybe I wouldn’t have been so personally disappointed, but I know that I also wouldn’t have personally cared so much about the movies in the first place otherwise, and that’s the question. Was I wrong to care that much? Should I just have thought, eh, that was fun, and moved on, rather than giving as much of a shit as I did? Was I wrong to have hoped for the movies to have lived up to the love that I put into them? Because that’s the feeling I have coming out of this one.

sorry this is so disjointed. I’ve been trying to parse this movie since I saw it last night, and I know I’m just going in circles. And yeah, I feel dumb that I let myself care enough about the movies that this one has had this much of an effect on me.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:38 PM on December 23, 2019 [25 favorites]


the Palpatine lineage. It just adds nothing to the film and feels really awkward

I would have preferred something more in line with where Johnson was going. Rei being a random person and bringing some kind of actual balance to the Force.

But given the decisions they made, I think the Palpatine connection actually works, because in the first trilogy I never got the sense that Luke was even really tempted by the Dark Side. What made Rey's struggle seem more real was that Kylo and The Emperor's pitch was not, "Join the Dark Side, it is great," but "You are already Dark, admit it" and it needed a bomb drop to really shake her confidence that it wasn't true. If she had really killed Chewy, that might have been a big enough blow, but I'm actually glad they didn't go there. In terms of the movie's tone (rather than the Dark/Light struggle) I think "hero almost killed her friend" was plenty dark enough.
posted by straight at 5:56 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Was I wrong to have hoped for the movies to have lived up to the love that I put into them?

I want to say so much in response to this, but to avoid an essay, I’ll just say this: NO. Absolutely not. The love and passion and thought you’ve invested as a receiver of this body of creative work will maintain its value to you forever, no matter how good or bad this movie—or any subsequent one—may be, because that’s about you, for you, and has already served to enrich you and bring joy to your life. The attention and effort you’ve invested (and the joy you’ve found) are already part of your experience of living, part of you, for the rest of your life.

Creative works, because they’re made by people, are imperfect and flawed and inconsistent, despite anyone’s best intent and effort—just like people. People don’t need to be perfect to have immense positive impact in our lives, and neither do creative works. Keep loving the creative work you love, even if it sometimes disappoints. From your comment, the Star Wars universe has already contributed a lot, and your clear gratitude for that may serve to help assuage the disappointment you feel right now.

Plus, a whole new generation is growing up with SW stories like TLJ and Clone Wars and Mandalorian, and those kids will be making their own Star Wars professionally sooner than you’d think. (I can attest to this part firsthand, some of them are already students at my university, and holy shit I can’t wait to see what they make.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:08 PM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


Honestly what I've always wanted from Star Wars was stories told in that universe that weren't all about The Giant Big Thing. It's a setting that could hold any number of stories, but they always are all about this one central thing. I haven't seen The Mandelorian yet, but even that has baby Yoda (whom I love based on the memes and clips I've seen) so even THAT is back being part of this Big Thing.

Let's just have some stories set in this universe that are... outside of that? maybe? please?
posted by hippybear at 7:22 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Meta-theory: Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams are a force dyad, and frequently intruded on each other's psyche through the course of filming. And they pulled the trilogy apart like a lightsaber in a tug of war.
posted by condour75 at 7:32 PM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


I saw it again yesterday with my 11 year-old son, who unreservedly loved the crap out of it. So, I mean, that says something, right?

Anyway, I’m still overall disappointed. Some random observations:
- in his scene with ghost Han, Ben is about to tell him he loves him, but Han cuts him off by saying “I know.” Cute
- Luke catches the lightsaber and then says “the weapon of a Jedi deserves more respect” ... his tone is SO sassy.
- when Poe loses hope in the final battle and suddenly Lando’s voice comes over the radio it seemed like a carbon copy of Cap’s “on your left” moment in Endgame. Poe even looks back over his left shoulder. It was done better in Endgame though.
- in their climactic showdown, as Palpatine croaked out his line about being every Sith ever, when it cut to Rey, and she said, “...and ... I ... am” I almost wanted her to say “Iron Man”
- Rey igniting her new lightsaber at the end is completely unmotivated and makes no sense. It just happens because the audience needs to know she still has one, I guess.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:55 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I mean, there’s an interesting point in the movie when Rey has “accidentally” killed Chewie, and C3P0 has just sacrificed himself to the mind-wiper and shit was very serious and very dark and I was gripping the arms of my theatre seat thinking “please don’t let Rey be bad.” I’m trying to think about what *that* movie would be like. I’m not sure that there’s a way to come down from Chewie’s death.
posted by chrchr at 8:48 PM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


It was less bad than I expected given reviews, but it's almost worst in the way that it's essentially wallpaper. Disney cowardly backed down from all of the interesting plot hooks from TLJ and had JJ pump out a "good enough" ending that will make 5% less of "a fuckload" and move some adequate amount of their cheap plastic shit. Good enough. I stopped watching MCU movies for this very reason, but it felt like an obligation for the audience, the director, the actors, and the studio. Something not unpleasant that we just have to get out of the way - like a joyless company Christmas party. Other people have hacked it to death, so I won't say much more, other than: fuck The Force.

The Force, as a narrative concept is absolutely terrible. It's a vague, boring, impersonal thing that does everything when it needs to, and nothing when the opposite is called for. You can give your protagonists any insight or scrape of luck that's needed - you can make your villains powerful enough to construct 10,000 battleships in 30 years (maybe the Iron Fleet had The Force). Essentially nothing means very much, especially when the light and dark expressions are vague, meaningless concepts that don't seem to have much distinction beyond a 12 year old boy's ideas of right and wrong.

From an in-universe perspective, it's even worse. Applying even a medium amount of thought to the implications of a sentient God-magic that runs through this Universe and guides the same two bloodlines to have glowing sword battles over and over again is depressing. The Force is a petty child smashing action figures together.

I know that Star Wars is (supposedly) children's media, but telling a story to children doesn't mean you have to be lazy, or rely on tired ideas. Honestly, the whole franchise (even The Mandalorian) feels stuck in this stasis that's impenetrable to new ideas. It's depressing and boring and tedious - the machinations of a giant multi-national company to keep telling the same story over and over again.

Side note: holy shit, each of the 10,000 Star Destroyers was its own Death Star. It's like self-parody.
posted by codacorolla at 9:58 PM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


The movie was a hot mess. I expected no less from JJ. I fucking LOVED TLJ fiercely. It's one of the most heartwrenching, yet uplifting movies. It showed us all kinds of things we'd never seen in a Star War. Then this movie just ignores all its themes and character development.

BUT we did get Reylo. For about 2 seconds. Then Ben Solo flopped over dead and Rey skipped off to Tattooine to live with her new ghost parents Luke and (checks notes). . . Leia? JJ? Are you sure?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:31 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Without repeating everything that's been said so far ...

I've been a Star Wars fan pretty much my whole life, since I saw the first movie in 3rd grade. Now my 11-year-old son is a big fan as well. I found this movie really frustrating; he thought the plot holes were ridiculous, but enjoyed the spectacle.

- Apart from the ridiculous plot holes (especially that f'ing knife, which makes me angry every time I start thinking about it), the editing in the first half felt really choppy - there were times, like when they landed on Passanna or when they went up to Kylo's ship, where it felt like they were about to do The Thing, and then we see them after The Thing, but the action itself is not shown.

- The Film Crit Hulk, Jeannette Ng, and Chuck Wendig essays all resonate with me.

- One thing that I really liked about Rey just being nobody special, that they've completely lost, is the parallel to Anakin, who was born a nobody slave on a desert planet. There's an interesting story in there about Kylo following the path he believes Vader set out on, and Rey following the path that Anakin could have followed.

- This is asking way too much of a paint-by-numbers guy like JJ, but I really would have liked to see a story where both Rey and Kylo move beyond the light/dark dichotomy, really put the past and the Jedi/Sith thing to rest, and create a new and more universal way of relating to the Force. Both Rebels and Clone Wars raised this concept. (aside: please let Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau develop this stuff for a while - they seem to have a much better sense of what Star Wars is)

- There's been some comparisons to Endgame here, but for my money Endgame was so much better executed. There were genuine surprises, the fan-service stuff mostly felt earned, and, most importantly, you cared about what happened to the characters because they'd taken the time over the previous movies to give them consistent, interesting arcs where things happened to them not just because it would be cool, but because it served the story.

- Lastly, it felt like so much of this was built around imagery that they thought would be cool in a trailer or on a poster, with a story then stitched around them. The fight on the Death Star ruins, the scene from the teaser where Rey flips over Kylo's TIE fighter, smashing Vader's helmet. Cool images out of context, but it seems like the same Exquisite Corpse style of writing that they've used for the trilogy in general.
posted by chbrooks at 10:38 PM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


So I was on Team TLJ. It wasn't perfect but it was as entertaining as any Star Wars movie in the last 35 years while engaging with some of the tropes in interesting ways.

One little thing I enjoyed is that early in TLJ, Snoke calls Ren's helmet stupid and he smashes it in a fit of rage. The helmet was stupid. There was no reason for it--it's not like he fell in a volcano or something--and it existed in TFA basically because Vader had a helmet and Abrams doesn't have enough original ideas to run a movie. Rian Johnson gets it out of the way to try new stuff.

Then what does Abrams do in this movie? Brings it back right away. Even has sycophants saying it "looks great," then stages a scene that is another complete (and inferior) ripoff of the "I find your lack of faith disturbing" moment from the original. It's an immediate declaration that we'll be seeing a piece of hired hackery.

Being a hack artistically is not a fatal flaw in this sort of movie if you can manage a couple hundred million dollar budget. I liked this OK. But after TLJ did a lot to free a franchise from its most tired tropes Abram just walked it right back.
posted by mark k at 10:39 PM on December 23, 2019 [18 favorites]


The other thing about Rey being no-one is that it has mythical/fairy tale resonances that seemed to be what TFA set up thematically to the stories of Beauty & the Beast or even Eros & Psyche, in which a young woman of humble origins is able to see the humanity in a dark/cursed prince. It also is one of the many oppositions that formed a yin/yang balance between herself and Kylo/Ben, which again, I would have expected this whole "dyad in the force" thing to tie in to.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:10 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


It kind of struck me today as I got into a stupid/semi-serious discussion with a friend about the pacifist’s perspective on these films. Like “isn’t it a shame that all those millions of innocents died whenever a planet gets destroyed” and then “well what about those millions of stolen child soldiers that died when the star destroyer fleet crashed?” which led to to “at least the Death Star destructions were just clones.” WAIT A MINUTE. ARE YOU SAYING THE LIFE OF A CHOICELESS HUMAN CLONE IS WORTH LESS THAN A CHOICELESS NON CLONE?

And I realized it’s ridiculous to subject these movies to any serious criticism at all. They are operas, and the only details that matter are how the story moves and whether the characters are true to themselves. And in the case of Star Wars, what was special was the world building that transported us to a completely alternate reality.

At heart, these are children’s entertainment. ROS succeeds on this level I believe.

Story movement: I think ROS succeeded here too. There wasn’t any long unnecessary diversion (eg pod racing or trip to the casino planet) and any sudden twists were either acceptable (the Force grants healing powers versus the Force allows you to project yourself across the universe or allows you to survive unprotected in outer space) or were central to character self discovery (Rey is a Palpatine).

Are the characters true to themselves? Yes, I think they were. I mean, we learned more about Poe as a philanderer which seemed appropriate, Finn develops in an arch that feels consistent, Kylo continues to struggle and question, etc, etc.

I totally respect people that found TLJ better; it did try to struggle with deeper themes and make this about some thing more complicated, but my opinion is that the film needed to take some liberties that were decidedly outside the rather simplistic story telling modality of opera to do that and I found TLJ much too jarring when it did that. This being opera, of course the main players are going to turn out to have really exceptional back stories. Recall after The Empire Strikes Back, there were very serious discussions about whether Vader really was Luke’s father — it seemed too far fetched.

Yeah, I like my entertainment to have more internal consistency and be more egalitarian but you don’t get that in The Flying Dutchman or Cosi Fan Tutti because it detracts from the story Wagner and Mozart were trying to tell and I’m going out on a limb here to say that the original SW trilogy was set up in such a way to tell the story Lucas wanted to tell. To try and make it about something more is a set up for failure.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:23 PM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Warning, Mulder-grade galaxy brain take follows:

I'm experimenting with a headcanon that Palpatine was full of shit, basically wanted to possess the strongest Force wielder in the galaxy, sussed out that it was Rey and that she's obsessed with familial connections, and exploited that obsession to get her into the room although they actually have no genetic relationship whatsoever. Does it scan? I'm going to go see the movie again in a couple days but I'm trying to review my memories of my first viewing so I don't get my hopes up if this is going to fall apart on a second viewing. Is there any evidence that Palpatine and Rey are actually related beyond Palpatine's word on the matter? Why does anyone believe that gross motherfucker? I can't remember exactly what Kylo Ren said about why he believed Palpatine on the topic, but I 100% believe it is easy af to snow Kylo Ren if you're someone he wants to believe anyway. His grandfather's mentor? Palpatine could tell Kylo Ren the sky on Coruscant is permanently pink and Kylo'd be all "damn straight, sir."

Seriously, wouldn't people know if Palpatine had a kid? Since when does prodigious, galactic-class strength in the Force skip a generation? Would Palpatine really Do It (and/or Clone It) with someone who wasn't a Force wielder, and would he allow offspring of his that weren't Force sensitive to survive and reproduce? And if his offspring were Force sensitive, what happened to them? Why haven't we ever heard of them? It's not like he'd make them some rank-and-file Inquisitor. Lbr here. Everything about this smells rotten.

I think if Disney makes a fourth trilogy (and I assume they'd like to) Rey is going to go dark, and depending on who writes & directs it either she'll tap into her Palpatine heritage and go dark hard, or she'll dabble in the dark side and discover Palpatine was lying.

I'm a canon nerd but not a SUPER canon nerd and frankly I seldom read anything about Palpatine on purpose cause the dude suuuucks, so maybe there's some canon info I'm unaware of that corroborates any aspect of the extraordinary claims he makes in this film. But I just...I don't know why we're all believing Palpatine on this one. That guy is seriously the worst, and not trustworthy, and I don't see why there's any reason to believe his weird Sith ritual required a blood relationship.
posted by potrzebie at 12:31 AM on December 24, 2019 [14 favorites]


Absolutely, and it's a function of how surface-level and slapdash the whole thing was that that's a perfectly reasonable way to fill in the gaps.

Strike me down, and you will absorb my power, and I will live on through you? Sure, why not? Because of the blood relationship? *checks notes* sure, why not? Or, uh, what if I just absorb the power from both of you, one of whom I have NO blood relationship with? Cool, sure, the power of two restores the one, as I had, uh, foreseen, look, whatever, nobody will care, can we cut to the next scene already please
posted by ominous_paws at 1:10 AM on December 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


'Palpatine [...]basically wanted to possess the strongest Force wielder in the galaxy, sussed out that[...]she's obsessed with familial connections, and exploited that obsession[...]although they actually have no genetic relationship whatsoever'

I am at best a...casual SW fan (does that even exist?) but this is what I thought the entire time. Like, from the moment Ren announces it to her. The only way it makes any sort of narrative sense or serves a purpose is as a bald-faced lie to try to goad Rey into doing what they know she otherwise won't. Idk. I still kind of think this.

I loved the duel on the damp remains of the the Death Star and the final shot of Rey and the binary sunset (tho why is BB8 there?). They did Rose/Kelly Marie Tran D I R T Y though, and actually the more I think of it the worse I feel about this film. Le sigh.
posted by peakes at 1:14 AM on December 24, 2019 [5 favorites]


I come at these movies from the perspective of believing that they are basically a mythology/religion for people of my generation, and I usually expect them to make as much sense as the parting of the Red Sea or the temptation of Job, so massive plot holes and issues with timing tend to bounce off me.

Regardless of my brain and my annoyance at some of the quality of things, I still actually honestly grew my moral compass as a child based on the first trilogy (Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.) and so I just go with that.

I felt:

Religion:
- The re-establishment of bloodline was a huge failure for me. I wanted to see a movie where Leia had secretly been training up legions of Jedi (therefore righting Luke's failure) and they basically turned around and murdered all the bad guys at Rey or possibly Reylo's command once the Sith homeworld was found, Jedi-massacre style. But I will admit this is my own fantasy.

- The hammering home of the friendship motif (you get by with a little help from your friends...) felt heavy handed but true to me. The Sith have no friends, they live in paranoid anger. The Jedi have friends and allies and win. I'm down with that. Fellowship of The Ring, YAH.

- The use of The Force as a healing power is structurally ok by me and kind of explains why lightsabers, cutting whole heads off, might be better than blasters.

- Palpatine is an unsatisfactory villain, but so is Satan, etc. I did wish for the arc people mentioned above, where Rey embraces her dark side and becomes more powerful than anyone but...oh well. I am writing a trilogy on this topic.

Mythology:
- The trauma of Bad Dads can be overcome by the love of Good Mothers and the redemption of Bad Boyfriends.

I find this problematic for many reasons but I do find it satisfying that the women lead the way back to the light after the Boomer dads (Palpatine, Anakin, Obi-Wan) are finished with their destructive patterns, or in the case of the Gen-X dads, divorce absenteeism (Han) or minimalist Instagram-guruism (Luke) which somewhat succeeds in launching Rey.

For all the problematic race, etc. issues, these will be movies of their times and I hope we have better stories in our future, and will fight for those voices to be heard for sure.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:06 AM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


'Rise of Skywalker' made Kylo Ren the most exhausting man in the galaxy

I enjoyed about 85% of TROS. Knowing what I know of SW lore, I knew that Bendemption was inevitable, I just didn’t feel like it was earned. The kiss was completely inappropriate for reasons and it really took me out of the movie.
posted by dorkydancer at 5:19 AM on December 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention is how Kylo shows up at the end of the movie walking away from an old TIE fighter. Rey stole his ride, remember? So Kylo got this old TIE fighter from the wreck of the Death Star?

Ben Kenobi: It's an Imperial fighter.
Luke Skywalker: It followed us!
Ben Kenobi: No, it's a short-range fighter.
Han Solo: There aren't any bases around here. Where did it come from?

TIEs don’t have hyperdrives, at least, the old ones don’t. We saw some of the new ones lightspeed jumping with the Falcon at the beginning of this mess, but the old ones have long been established as needing to be carried by a larger ship over long distances.

So, I guess this is another instance of J.J. throwing out the rules in order to keep up the breakneck pace and pay no attention to that Emperor behind the curtain EXPLOSIONS
posted by Fleebnork at 5:44 AM on December 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Trying to make the series adhere to a logical and cohesive plot is a losing game.

The overall narrative arc works ok, aka Ben redeems himself, Rey comes to terms with her past, etc. Folks just differ on details of the how and why, but Daisy Ridely and Adam Driver do a good job of selling it.

But yeah, don't kiss mass murderers 'cause they finally saw the light.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


ominous_paws, omg, yes! That part where the Emperor kept coming up with new evil plans in response to everything that happened made him seem like a bad, unbelievable cartoon of a mastermind. Like, I maybe could have believed it if he seemed to be improvising, but it was like, no, this was actually my secret plan all along!
posted by overglow at 7:44 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I saw it on Thursday night to celebrate end of semester with some school colleagues. I am not invested in SW at all at this point in my life, but I've seen them all in the theater because it has just sort of been The Thing To See In The Theater around the holidays for a while now. I had no expectations.

Two of my colleagues fell asleep.

Stuff I liked: the little alien dude that did the big YEAHHHHH yells were funny. I liked the full on landing sequence of the tie fighter. Leia training was neat, so was Rey training.

I also did not at all understand the protractor dagger. Like, did someone make that AFTER the death star crashed so they would know exactly how the debris would be scattered around the ocean or whatever? Or did they see into the future? Idk.

Overall, I walked out feeling like I really didn't know what I just watched. The plot didn't make sense. There also seemed to be some hilarious voiceover dubs added in later in order to explain everything even more explicitly. When they all win at the end and are flying away and someone says in VO "people are rising up all over the galaxy" or whatever, I lol'd.

Some lady screamed out in ecstasy really loudly at the Rey/Ben kiss. Ppl laughed and one dude yelled SHUT THE FUCK UP (yay SW dudes + Philadelphia). Then when he keeled over a minute later, there were a LOT of laughs in the theater. I guess that was supposed to be a serious moment but the yeah...

The whole thing felt like a kid's fever dream and nothing mattered. There were some parts where the fx were pretty to look at, and a couple jokey moments that were funny.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh and the line about Ben's mask and the henchman being all like hey man, you do you that's sweet was funny.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:03 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


The whole thing felt like a kid's fever dream

I semi-seriously suspect that Disney will eventually retcon this film as having all been a fever dream in Rey's head, so that they can re-do it.

And of course, the Palpatinian thing for Disney to have done here is deliberately ensure that this film is incoherent and terrible so that they can test just how far they can go w/r/t brazen continuity-negating (a la Terminator) in this franchise.

If I were still GMing in this universe, I know I'd go the fever dream route for this one.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:11 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


"I also did not at all understand the protractor dagger."

I am not the type to say things out loud to the screen in an actual movie theater but when Rey started lining it up with the landscape I was very close to blurting out "WHAT IS THIS GOONIES SHIT?"

[not to mention that along all those endless miles of shoreline they were of course somehow miraculously standing at the one point that would make it work]

"Some lady screamed out in ecstasy really loudly at the Rey/Ben kiss. Ppl laughed and one dude yelled SHUT THE FUCK UP (yay SW dudes + Philadelphia). Then when he keeled over a minute later, there were a LOT of laughs in the theater. I guess that was supposed to be a serious moment but the yeah..."

There was a young teen girl next to me and I could feel from her wiggles and clenched fists that she was just dying for them to kiss. The tension was just radiating off of her. She pumped her fists and let out a hissed "YESSS" when they did. And a moment later when he keeled over she said, "REALLY?!" and I admit to having laughed out loud at that.
posted by komara at 8:32 AM on December 24, 2019 [13 favorites]


I went to an especially rambunctious showing where people were clapping and cheering every time they recognized something on the screen and when Kylo and Rey kissed I booed. Yeah, show the female lead falling in innocent romantic love with a murderous stalker who appears to still be following exactly the same plan he had when he was still openly evil, that's the best thing to do with your morality play that every child in the world will watch. Good job Abrams you fucking dip shit.
posted by fomhar at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


Even if you take the Indiana Jones style logic of a protractor dagger that: tracks a specific piece of wreckage from a specific point on the shoreline that also gives specific data about the 3 dimensional location derived from a flattened 2 dimensional view of crags of the Death Star that was made to keep track of 30 year old wreckage that's in a fucking ocean (I guess that the monstrous waves don't erode the very specific outline of that part of the death star, and it doesn't move or shift ever)...

Why does a Sith loyalist bounty hunter who knows how to get to Exegon (ugh) have this? Shouldn't he have the dumb-ass nav pyramid? Or just have the coordinates? Or be guided by The Force? It's so contrived and unnecessary - especially when the 3 hour movie could barely cram enough detail in to make sense of any of the motivations that drive the story. It felt like watching someone else playing a video game and solving a not particularly well designed puzzle.
posted by codacorolla at 8:42 AM on December 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


I don't understand why people think C3P0's recovery was a fake-out similar to Chewbacca not dying. They said when he was going to have the procedure done that R2 had backups of his memories. C3P0 says something about that not being very reliable in the same tone that he worries about every other difficulty they make it through, but I don't think there was ever a sense he might be completely gone. What he was sacrificing was the time he had spent with everyone since he left.
posted by straight at 9:02 AM on December 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


Kylo shows up at the end of the movie walking away from an old TIE fighter.

How did he get to Exogel without the wayfinder? I guess he just remembered the way?

The protractor knife didn’t bother me much. Yes, it only worked from exactly that spot because there were coordinates on the knife in the Sith message that C3P0 translates.
posted by chrchr at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


They are operas, and the only details that matter are how the story moves and whether the characters are true to themselves.

This is not wrong, and I think some memorable songs would have brought it up a level or two.
posted by mikelieman at 9:08 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


TIEs don’t have hyperdrives, at least, the old ones don’t. We saw some of the new ones lightspeed jumping with the Falcon at the beginning of this mess, but the old ones have long been established as needing to be carried by a larger ship over long distances.

There was this thing in the ( demoted to "extended universe" ) Tartakovsky Clone Wars where it appeared short-range ships could dock with hyperdrives.

See also Hyperdrive Docking Ring
posted by mikelieman at 9:11 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm still disappointed, but feel a lot more sympathy for Abrams and everyone knowing how little time they had to get the script worked out. We're basically seeing a rough draft that didn't even have the level of revision and polish that a typical Hollywood blockbuster gets.

Imagine the poor souls assigned to finding the most usable bits of footage they had of Carrie Fisher and then trying to write a few scenes around them. It would be a miracle if those scenes weren't terrible. Or if there was only the normal amount of dumb ideas and plot holes. It's all Disney's fault.
posted by straight at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


See also Hyperdrive Docking Ring


Works with TIE fighters, does it?
posted by Fleebnork at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2019


This is not wrong, and I think some memorable songs would have brought it up a level or two.

I don't usually catch much about the soundtrack the first time I watch something. Did John Williams do anything notable this time around? I was kind of disappointed we didn't actually get that sappy what-if-the-Star-Wars-soundtrack-had-been-written-in-the-2000's harmonization of the main theme they put at the end of the trailer. It would have been kind of amazing if Williams had really went there.
posted by straight at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Then the last scene is the heroes talking about how redemption takes a lot of years of work, referencing their seedy pasts again maybe and convincing the extras not to mutiny while Ben grumpily but peacefully mops an entire hanger or whatever.

Someone pointed out that after he throws away his light saber, Ben doesn't say a single word for the rest of the movie, which goes a little bit of the way in that direction. At least he completely stops trying to tell Rey who she is or what to do.
posted by straight at 10:03 AM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Works with TIE fighters, does it?

You're right, a theoretical hyperdrive ring salvaged from the Death Star would probably only be compatible with the early Clone War era Jedi fighters we saw in Ep II.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:10 PM on December 24, 2019


Also, Vader's TIE had hyperdrive. He makes interstellar jumps with it in Rebels.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:11 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


you're right, well-written movies rely on audience no-prizes and extra-movie canon when baldly contradicting previously stated facts
posted by entropicamericana at 12:34 PM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also, Vader's TIE had hyperdrive. He makes interstellar jumps with it in Rebels.


He didn't fly to Exogol in Vader's TIE fighter. He got out of a bog standard old gray TIE.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:44 PM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


In the purest Star Wars headcanon, Han and Leia and Chewie and 3PO are still crawling towards Bespin at sublight speeds.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:56 PM on December 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ok sure, any ship can travel at any speed, who gives a shit, right?
posted by Fleebnork at 1:01 PM on December 24, 2019


"Spaceships almost always fly at the speed of the plot."
– Chris Kirk
posted by bryon at 1:46 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's funny, I remember coming away from TLJ with a bit of genuine trauma. Like, when I was a little kid Star Wars was a BIG DEAL, and seeing Luke Skywalker now as this genuinely nasty, heartbroken old cuss who'd renounced everything he ever believed in, it felt so wrong and ugly. I genuinely got the feeling that the film was made by somebody with a major bone to pick with the original trilogy, who was working out his own daddy issues and his disappointment with the boomers and rage about Trump (not that there's anything wrong with rage about Trump!). I interviewed Johnson once and I'd liked him, but watching that movie I just felt like he was venting his OC punk spleen all over this thing that had meant so, so much to me growing up. I actually thought "this movie is not canon in my head," and I don't know if I've ever done that with another movie in my life.* And people who loved that movie kept telling me that if I didn't like it that meant I was racist or misogynist, that I was being a big whiny baby, that I was being overprotective of this beloved part of my childhood...

And I'll admit that when I heard some of the fan rage about all the stuff that's been walked back in the new movie, it sounded pretty familiar. All the people who called me overprotective (I heard that word a lot) were acting traumatized now, they were sputtering about headcanon and betrayal and broken hearts. And at first, I felt a certain sadistic glee. Ha! Now you know how it feels to watch somebody piss all over this thing you loved!

But as a couple of days have passed, I don't feel good about that feeling. I don't like that TLJ made me sick, but I also don't like that it took a movie that made other fans sick to make me happy. When people say TLJ was so thrilling and it shook the franchise out of a rut, I do not get that at all. I feel like there's no rut because I feel like I haven't seen a real Star Wars movie since 1983. The first time I saw the trailer for TFA I burst into happy tears seeing Han and Chewie in the Millennium Falcon again, and then I saw the film and it turned out Han had somehow regressed into being a skuzzy, low-level smuggler again and he and Leia hadn't worked out and everything had gone so sour for everybody that R2D2 was in a grief coma. So, yeah, I was not happy. I've badly missed the tone of the original franchise, I wanted to see those old characters as heroes again, and some people seem to see any gesture in that direction as fanservice or even a return to the Bad Old Days. Take the racist misogynist fans out of the equation (please) and you've still got a bunch of fans looking for very different and possibly irreconcilable things. I feel like this movie solved a lot of problems, and for some of you this movie is nothing BUT problems.

That pain you're feeling, right now? That's the same pain some not-evil people felt when they left the last movie. Betrayal and broken hearts. The whole franchise and the arguing around it have become exhausting and sad and unfun, and that's really not what Star Wars is supposed to be. I honestly wish they'd just let the whole thing be in 1983. The movies were done. There's been a lot of Star Wars product since then, and it's made a bajillion dollars, but on balance I don't feel like it's made the world a happier place.


*I just realized, I did the headcanon thing with the Abrams Star Trek reboot, because according to the geeky rules about time travel established in the Trek franchise the events of that movie had undone everything from TOS onward, leaving only Enterprise untouched... and I was not about to let JJ Fucking Abrams erase all of Star Trek from my head. Ironic that Abrams, one of my least favorite geek auteurs, should be the guy who'd make this Star Wars movie that felt so restorative to me.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:25 PM on December 24, 2019 [5 favorites]


Can we now Please have three prequels about the youth of Palpatine? He’s the main character of the saga, no?
posted by Omon Ra at 3:39 PM on December 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


I liked the movie. It's 100% a Star Wars movie and met my expectations.

When it comes to action blockbusters I like to imagine a graph with two axises. The x-axis is "Does the film make logical sense?" for example, can the heroes run through a hail of gunfire without a scratch? Does some quest involving the fate of the galaxy just by happenstance involve three people in the same family. Is it possible to travel to every major far flung secret mystical wizard outpost in the galaxy in 16 hours?

The y-axis is "Does the Movie make emotional sense?" Would our hero be tempted to betray her values if it meant saving her friends? Are people drawn to high profile, powerful, charismatic figures? Does an orphan want to redeem their parents? Or to find new parents?

Obviously from how I framed the questions I think most Star Wars movies fall in the upper left quadrant, along with the Fast and Furious franchise, a lot of Star Trek etc. The upper right quadrant are those super fun tightly scripted fare... honestly I think Fury Road fits there, it does a good job following its own rules. Alien does too from what I remember.

I honestly think RoS stayed in more upper left than the TLJ. But whatever, both are pretty far in the left side of the graph so It's amazing to me that so many people hate RoS and love TLJ because both have amazing problems with pacing and logical coherence.
posted by midmarch snowman at 3:56 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well ... I did not loath it quite as much as I feared I might, but I did not like it. At all.

My main impression is that I saw a potentially interesting 10-hour miniseries shown on 5x fast-forward. Unfortunately, all the parts that were skipped were the parts that showed any character development or meaningful character interaction.

Run run fight run fight zoom fight fight travel fight fight run fight fight fight christ it was boring.

Very little was ever set up, so very little ever landed.

Oh, they're on horses because speeders can be jammed? Might have been nice is we were ever SHOWN speeders being jammed, then, and that being a big problem. Maybe in that scene where they're fleeing First Order troops on speeders? No? Then the whole horses thing is just a, "WTF, horses? That's stupid." moment instead.

Rey is tempted by the fact that if she were to become Empress, she could save her friends? Interesting idea. Might have been nice if it were expanded upon. Maybe seeded somehow earlier n the movie that this would be a big temptation for her, her weak point. No? Oh, well. She was still the best thing in the film, at least.

Why do all those ships come to help them? What reason were they given that changed their minds? Nothing we see? Oh, well.

Etc., etc., etc.

I guess it's nice that I'll never have to sit through any more of these.
posted by kyrademon at 3:59 PM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


All the people who called me overprotective (I heard that word a lot) were acting traumatized now, they were sputtering about headcanon and betrayal and broken hearts. And at first, I felt a certain sadistic glee. Ha! Now you know how it feels to watch somebody piss all over this thing you loved!

This is startlingly unhealthy
posted by ominous_paws at 4:08 PM on December 24, 2019 [15 favorites]


This is startlingly unhealthy

I'd agree. It's also exactly the kind of thing that other fans were expressing with all of their HAHA FANBOY MANBABIES YOUR TEARS ARE SWEET stuff after TLJ. My point was that these movies have become bitterly divisive and I'm tired of it.

Please read the rest of my post. It wasn't about me gloating over fans being unhappy. Quite the opposite, actually.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:25 PM on December 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Since we are bringing up our neighbours' reactions, I will point out that the stranger sitting next to me greeted the opening crawl with a slightly anxious, "Please be good!"

Incidentally, a friend of mine (Bill Bridges, to give him due credit) posted something I enjoyed on social media:
George Lucas has stated that he intended for Star Wars to have the function of a myth, based off his readings of Joseph Campbell. Most of the heroes in Greek myths are demi-gods: Achilles, Hercules, Perseus, etc. With Phantom Menace, Lucas gave the Skywalkers their half-divine lineage: birthed by the midichlorians and a mortal woman.

Enter Rey. What is her divine lineage? The Last Jedi made a bold move: a Protestant Reformation, whereby her Force powers came not from divine blood but from the Holy Spirit. (“Broom boy” being another champion of this reformation.)

Along comes The Rise of Skywalker to establish the Restoration, the rightful rule by divine lineage (Palpatine, in this case). To further cement this lineage, Rey experiences an “alchemical wedding” with Ben Solo whereby she claims the lineage of Skywalker, with the approval of her adopted or spiritual parents, Luke and Leia.

The war between TLJ fans and TRoS fans is religious in nature and will not be easily reconciled.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:57 PM on December 24, 2019 [19 favorites]






I'm following this thread with much interest still, but I have no real imperative to slam this movie further irl in conversations with friends because this movie is just ... okay, and I'm going to clown myself if I spend more energy engaging with this story than the filmmakers did. Maybe that's also a difference with those who enjoyed TLJ and who didn't - I liked all the swerves not for the sake of swerving, but I felt it sincerely and imaginatively engaged with the (nonsense imo) set up in TFA (much like the Russos and Marcus & McFeely in their MCU run - unlike Whedon who completely narratively canned any of the minimal character growth for Tony between Avengers and Iron Man 3 for Ultron because those weren't his and he doesn't care as much so Tony returned to being a mess enough to build Ultron. And the Russos and M&M actually tried folding in the movie's consequences enough that by the time Tony and Steve had that major argument in Endgame with Tony's disappointed I-told-you-sos that was an emotional payoff over the Ultron programme)

And I do see TFA's ~ooOooooOooo~ mystery as nonsense because it confirmed my prediction of a typical Abrams vehicle. People here for eg were going around and around speculating and I could feel like we were getting scammed into spending unnecessary mental energy exploring the gaps from someone who's constitutionally unable to understand enough to give a shit. I double checked, I commented exactly once and that's all I needed to say.

Because eg this description of Luke in TLJ:
seeing Luke Skywalker now as this genuinely nasty, heartbroken old cuss who'd renounced everything he ever believed in, it felt so wrong and ugly
Heh, that was me in TFA. I was, like jeez, where's the lone surviving Jedi for all these years??? What is this preemptive character assassination, because whoever is doing the next movie is going to need to thread that needle, and jeez, thanks a lot JJ. and so it was a miracle TLJ and Johnson actually ran with the implications and along with the other plotlines, made an actual movie that could still echo the way ESB was as the trilogy midpoint and not just a rehash of aesthetics with little understanding of why their own characters should act that way. AND TLJ apparently gave enough thought to its story beats that it is fun going around for or against it because at least you're basing your analysis on something robustly made. But not TROS and its barely coherent story logic (which falls apart contextualising it as a trilogy capper). But really, should I expect any better from a movie whose writing credits JJ Abrams and the guy who did Bats v Supes: Dawn of Justice? So like I said, I'm enjoying the various thought exercises but I refuse to expend one more iota of energy into spackling and retconning this flimflam whose entire energy is appeasement.

So anyway, it's bombed in China. So, whatever.
posted by cendawanita at 6:28 PM on December 24, 2019 [10 favorites]


So, my best friend whom I've known since middle school and who I talk to all the time even though we're both in our 50s TOTALLY LOVED THIS MOVIE AND HE WAS GLOWING ABOUT IT and my best response was "oh, man, I'm so glad this movie did that for you!" because truly, I am glad it did it for him. It didn't for me, but it did for him, and for anyone who got that out of it, I'm totally on board for them feeling that way.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on December 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


Thanks Ursula. Your comments helped me see how some of the things I liked even in Ep. 7 could have been really disappointing. I too kinda felt bad at first that Han and Leia weren't together, but I was enjoying Harrison Ford so much that I didn't really consider how that movie's treatment of Han was really just as bleak as Luke in Ep. 8. Maybe I'm jaded from so much Sci-Fi (especially what's critically acclaimed) that's closer in tone to the modern Battlestar Galactica than the original Battlestar Galactica. (Compared with that revamp, the stuff in Ep. 7-9 seems upbeat and heroic.)

I wonder if there are any kids who watch the movies in numerical order and get to Empire Strikes Back and feel disappointed that Master Yoda has been reduced to a grumpy hobbling swamp muppet?
posted by straight at 12:22 AM on December 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


Okay so I read all the comments (because I'm that sort of obsessed fan), but not any of the linked reviews (because Hulk always says what I thought better and more insightfully so I'd rather blurt out my thoughts while they're still mine). And I only saw the films, so I can't speak to whoever Palpatine's kids were or what Leia was doing getting Force training or all the other non-canon canon stuff.

I really disliked it, it was a complete mess. But it was still better than the prequels, which isn't nothing.

What I liked:
My 11-year-old LOVED it. It was awesome watching him on the edge of his seat, cheering when he liked something, laughing at funny parts, saying "I knew it!!!" when they raised the X-Wing from the water, and cheering when he saw the Ewoks as if only he remembered them and this was a clever callback just for fans like him. That cancels out a lot of flaws for me.

Adam Driver was amazing. I was not a fan of his; I am now. I loved how much emotion he poured into it, I loved how he forced himself to walk painfully after the cliff fall, I loved his little "ouch" moment (though maybe because it was the only bit of dialogue that felt real).

I loved the horses, and I REALLY loved the horses charging the ship. That was an amazing scene.

I loved the scene where Rey was pulling the carrier ship, and the fight over it with Kylo, and the lightning strike that actually had real stakes. Wow.

I loved seeing Rey fight herself, and wished that scene could have gone on a lot longer, but I wish Darkside Rey didn't look so much like Evil Kermit.

I liked the new ex-stormtrooper character whose name I didn't catch. And I also loved that there were so many female voices among the stormtroopers in general -- it was a nice casual acceptance that there are real people inside the suits, and they're not all generic guys. Ditto for the same-sex kiss. It wasn't a Moment™, it was real people with real lives, nothing to see here, taken for granted that of course that's what would happen. And one of them was a character we had come to know, not just throwaway extras. That's progress, especially for a Disney movie.

I loved Rey's training scene, and especially that when she couldn't beat the orb with the force, she just staff-chonked it into the tree. She's just a delightful character for me.

Didn't like:
Not enough Rose, and that was shameful.

The kiss was gratuitous and dumb, and when he died afterwards the whole theater laughed. If he had disappeared mid-kiss it would have at least been shocking. But that whole scene was a problem for me. There's no way he survived that fall, only to die right after he got back up. So I guess he was already dead when he came up, and they seemed to imply that he was a Leia-created Force zombie? But then why put his emotional catharsis there - was it even real? In the movie I was making in my head, she died, really died, and he somehow managed to survive, made it to her, and couldn't save her. And that was his catharsis - that he would become the last Skywalker, and work to merit becoming the true last Jedi. But nope. No one we liked was allowed to die but Leia, and that was only because of Fisher's death

Which was handled really badly. Everything felt like what it was: cobbled together from scraps. It would have been better and more raw if they had deathstar-exploded the planet she was on. That might have felt like the gut punch that Fisher's death did for me. And been a nice callback to Alderaan in movie 1.

The dialogue. It was bad even by the standards of a series that's known for bad dialogue. I went in ready to like it, I loved TLJ, and they lost me at the crawl. "Meanwhile,"... Seriously? Meanwhile? That's some hacky unnecessary writing and he had 8 other crawls to use for reference. And all the dialogue was like that - jes' folks colloquial talk coming from characters who had their own vocal styles. C3P0 doesn't talk like that. He's a diplomacy droid. He doesn't have a sentimental streak and he would never say "taking a last look at my... friends" And he wouldn't reboot talking like a regular human. Sheesh, they could have watched reprogrammed Buzz Lightyear for how to do a memory wipe in a way that was funny and still poignant.

Chewbacca. This was probably my biggest disappointment. First of all, his name is Chewbacca. Okay, sure, anyone who knew him might call him Chewy, plus maybe everyone who knew Han. But why would random people call him that (especially when they were eulogizing him)? I couldn't believe when they killed him (largely because he wasn't given the dignity of a moment's death scene), but at least it felt shocking and raised the stakes for the film and for Rey. Only to find out that whoops! Can't kill any characters, he's just fine! Which okay, is better for fans I guess, but much weaker narratively. But then if he's alive DO SOMETHING with him. He's the last remaining member of the original rebels (unless you count Lando) - why would Poe give the St. Crispin's Day speech? That was Chewy's speech to give - let Poe or someone translate it, but he's the last hero standing and he has seen more and known more about beating the odds than any of them. And then handing him the medal? Sorry, for me it was too little too late. Fan service but not even done with any sort of invested meaning - almost a throwaway shot. It was meaningless. You can either treat Chewbacca as a main character, or as an animal sidekick. And they went the sidekick route, again - so much so that when he grieved for Leia, he was on the ground in the back of a wide shot, so it just felt like a dog howling rather than a person. That's our Chewy.

You get a force ghost! And you get a force ghost! And you get a force ghost! But not Kylo Ren / Ben. The only one who would have made a difference to Rey if he had appeared. And it would have made a nice parallel to Anakin appearing to Luke at the end of ROTJ .

The whole end hugging scene was too long and still managed to feel contrived. I got an emergency phone call right after Poe and Finn hugged and I didn't even mind leaving the theater right at the big finish - I was already done. I came back in just in time to see Rey on Tatooine calling herself Rey Skywalker, and I just - didn't care. If you are who your bloodline says you are (and except for TLJ the whole series seems to make that point, all the damn time), then she could call herself Rey Jar-Jar and it wouldn't matter. You don't get to choose who you are. Only what you do with it.

The dumb:
Three movies, multiple encounters with Leia, and Rey never changed her hair. Disappointed. But I liked Rose's new side braid things. So there's that.

TL;DR: The real Star War is the friends we made along the way.
posted by Mchelly at 7:22 AM on December 25, 2019 [13 favorites]


(Sorry that was so long; I had Feelings)
posted by Mchelly at 7:33 AM on December 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


The kiss was gratuitous and dumb, and when he died afterwards the whole theater laughed. If he had disappeared mid-kiss it would have at least been shocking. But that whole scene was a problem for me. There's no way he survived that fall, only to die right after he got back up.

Nobody could blame you for missing it, since this movie has 17 Acts that each have about a dozen significant bits of exposition each, but this is set up when she heals the snake (ugh): Force healing involves giving your own life-force to the patient. I suppose the implication is that both of them were very near death, and he barely struggles out of the pit. He sacrifices the last bit of life he's holding on to to heal her, which earns him a place in Light Side heaven as a Force ghost, or whatever.
posted by codacorolla at 9:44 AM on December 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


I thought the implication was that if healing a minor wound on the snake took a bit of Rey's life, healing Kylo of a mortal light saber wound must of taken a big chunk of her life. So when Ben finds her dead or almost dead he returns to her the life that she gave him, thus having none left himself.

I expected in the moment that we would see his light saber wound return as he died. That would have made what's going on more clear.
posted by straight at 7:14 PM on December 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


at a meta-level that introducing Force healing in The Mandalorian like 48 hours before its debut here shows a far better coordination between movie and TV divisions than the MCU has ever managed.

Eh. Season 2 episode 19 of Agents of Shield aired April 28, 2015:

Skye does save Lincoln, while Coulson discovers the base of Hydra's leader, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. He gives the location to Maria Hill so that the Avengers can defeat Hydra. Ward leaves Palamas with S.H.I.E.L.D., hoping that she can reclaim her lost life as an agent, while Raina, who is beginning to question Jiaying's leadership, foresees metal men destroying cities.


Age of Ultron was released May 1 with the avengers attacking said location. Additionally, one of the main arcs of the season was Coulson hiding a huge secret project that tests everyone's trust of him. The project was the carriers that saved the day in Ultron.

There was similar coordination to a lesser extent for winter soldier and the dark elf thor.

Finally, the death of Coulson in the avengers movie was basically the beginning of AOS.
posted by avalonian at 7:59 PM on December 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


New York Times has an interesting article behind its limited article wall, We Can’t See ‘Star Wars’ Anymore:
...seems like an appropriate time to pose a wistful little thought experiment: What if “Star Wars” — the original 1977 film — had performed at the box office about as everyone expected, in the range of a ’70s Disney film, earning, say, $16 million? Let’s imagine that some film historian or revisionist critic circa 2019 were to rediscover this forgotten gem, an oddity of ’70s cinema buried among all the Watergate-paranoia thrillers, demonic horror films and disaster blockbusters. Can we, with 40 years’ retrospect, evaluate it as a film instead of a phenomenon?

Before “Star Wars” became a commercial behemoth, most critics found it a charming diversion: The Times called it “the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made.” They were bemused to see such high production values — state-of-the-art special effects, a full orchestral score — lavished on subject matter previously associated with cardboard props. It was, unlike all the tragic masterworks of American cinema of that decade, innocent good fun...

It’s dispiriting to recall the dismal crudscape of children’s entertainment in the 1970s, the indifference and contempt with which most of it was produced: Disney at its nadir, “Benji” movies, a lot of Saturday morning TV made by people on drugs. “Star Wars” was made with evident care by master craftsmen — Ralph McQuarrie, John Dykstra, Ben Burtt and John Williams, among others. There was humor in the film, but it took its world, its ethos and its audience seriously. As almost every film that is not “Star Wars” demonstrates, it’s extremely difficult to strike this balance between treating your subject with respect but not too solemnly, being self-aware without condescension or camp...

The success of “Star Wars” has obviated a lot of its original virtues. Much of the fun of watching the film for the first time, now forever inaccessible to us, was in the slow unveiling of its universe: Swords made of lasers! A Bigfoot who co-pilots a spaceship! A swing band of ’50s U.F.O. aliens! Mr. Lucas refuses to explain anything, keeping the viewer as off-balance as a jet-lagged tourist in Benares or Times Square. We don’t see the film’s hero until 17 minutes in; we’re kept watching not by plot but by novelty, curiosity.

Subsequent sequels, tie-in novels, interstitial TV shows, video games and fan fiction have lovingly ground this charm out of existence with exhaustive, literal-minded explication: Every marginal background character now has a name and a back story, every offhand allusion a history. But Mr. Lucas’s universe just doesn’t have the depth of Tolkien’s Middle-earth; it was only ever meant to be sketched, not charted. Sequels and tie-ins, afraid to stray too far off-brand, stick to variations on familiar designs and revive old characters, so there’s nothing new to discover...

We literally can’t see “Star Wars” anymore: Its control-freakish creator won’t allow the original version of the film to be seen and has stubbornly maculated his own masterpiece, second-guessing correct editing decisions, restoring wisely deleted scenes and replacing his breakthrough special effects — historic artifacts in their own right — with ’90s vintage C.G.I., already more dated than the film’s original effects.

There may come a day, a long time from now, after Disney’s vampirically extended copyrights have expired and all the accumulated cultural detritus has eroded away, when people will have forgotten “Star Wars,” and can finally see it again. Seen anew, much of its imagery is surreally beautiful: the vast plated underside of an armored starship sliding on and on forever overhead; the dreamlike tableau, seen through a scrim of smoke and framed by concentric portals, of a girl shrouded in white furtively genuflecting to a robot; a golden android waving for help in a desert by the skeleton of a dinosaur; a convoy of space fighters opening their split wings in sequence, like poison flowers blossoming.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:46 PM on December 25, 2019 [26 favorites]


I just got back from this and am completely mystified as to why everyone hated it so much. Yeah, fine, there were some cheesy process shots (or what looked like cheesy process shots — I guess they weren’t actually process shots), and I can see the complaints about putting the return of Palpatine in the opening crawl. But than that, I don’t understand the vehement hatred. Maybe I’m not immersed in the series world enough, but I thought it was a good Star Wars movie.

Well, ok, I could have done without the scene where Chewie kills Baby Yoda by accidentally sitting on him, but other than that...
posted by holborne at 9:48 PM on December 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


FWIW I'm not seeing "vehement hatred" here. I think for once I'm smack in the middle of MeFi opinion: JJ Abrams is a hack serving up repackaged scenes, but the movie is watchable and has some legitimately entertaining moments.

The grading of Star Wars movies is kind of weird; they are the quintessential blockbuster entertainment but a lot of us commenting want something more than that out of them. So a lot of the after discussion involves criticism and disappointment that you wouldn't ever see after e.g. a Bond flick, let alone a Fast and Furious flick or something similar.
posted by mark k at 11:28 PM on December 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


I think The Empire Strikes Back is why we want more from Star Wars movies. It's not like any of them have really offered anything that feels philosophical other than that one movie, entirely through the Luke/Yoda stuff.

And I'll tell you, at the age of 12 when that movie came out, it was like I was being told, personally, if I could just figure out how to tap into this thing called The Force, if I could just feel that somehow, I'd be able to do all this stuff!

I think that experience is why, for a lot of us, we think these movies are deeper than we think think are. Kasden and Brackett and Kershner managed to invoke something sort of powerful with that part of their story, and it echoed outward in perhaps more powerful ways than might have been expected.
posted by hippybear at 11:49 PM on December 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


The war between TLJ fans and TRoS fans is religious in nature and will not be easily reconciled.

DJ: They blow you up today, you can blow them up tomorrow. It's just business.
Finn: You're wrong.
DJ: Maybe.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:05 AM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I can't really think of an analogy that would be intelligible to US people. In the UK, there's a big chain of budget sportswear retail stores called "Sports Direct". They like to buy up defunct sportswear brands like "Karrimor" or "Slazenger", commission Chinese factories to produce cheap sportswear with the old logos on, and sell it at budget prices. I buy some of it: it's good value, has acceptable quality control if you're not too fussy about stitching and don't expect it to last forever. But it's not the old stuff.

As this article explains: "Although Star Wars is the second biggest franchise of all time and globally recognisable, it is strongest with those 40+ and has relatively weak appeal outside the United States". I think to Disney, Star Wars is a useful revenue-maker in the short term, but with its aging, regional fanbase it's not really worth investing in for the long term.

I've been watching some Toy Story movies with my kid [spoilers]. Those movies use, set up, and resolve long term character arcs. They establish a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep in Toy Story 1. Toy Story 3 establishes Woody's sense of loss as Bo Peep is given away. When Toy Story 4 brings Bo Peep back, it has an emotional impact becasue the emotions and relationships have been set up.

Original Star Wars established in A New Hope that Luke thinks Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father. Luke watched Darth Vader kill his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. In Empire, when Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father, it has an emotional impact becasue the emotions and relationships have been set up.

In "The Rise of Skywalker", when Rey finds out Palpatine is her grandfather, it has no emotional impact because she has no emotional connection with Palpatine: she thought he was a dead historical figure.

It's sloppy film-making, which you don't get in valued franchises like Toy Story or MCU. Ultimately I think it's just that Disney don't think the brand has enough long-term value to be worth fussing over the quality.

It's like a pair of cheap running shorts with tangles of loose thread on the inside. Most people won't even notice, at least the first time they wear them. But it won't stand up to much repeat use, and it won't build up a lot of brand loyalty with new consumers.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:33 AM on December 26, 2019 [18 favorites]


Oh, how I loathed this film.

I've spent a lot of time on Star Wars in the last two decades. I've watched the films countless times, read thousands upon thousands of pages of novels, walked down the aisle to Han & Leia's theme...

They killed my joy for Star Wars with this! It was painful!

When you make the Force a limitless font of whatever magic you feel like, there is no narrative tension. It becomes meaningless if people die or ridiculous space navies exist. We're going to force magic the whole thing!

Kylo Ren, I loathe. I started wailing in horror that the main female protagonist ended her character arc kissing the murderer whose theme song is surely "Rocking the Suburbs".

So much money and effort, all to make THIS turd? I'd rather watch Attack of the Clones again!
posted by chiquitita at 1:53 AM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


When you make the Force a limitless font of whatever magic you feel like, there is no narrative tension. It becomes meaningless if people die or ridiculous space navies exist. We're going to force magic the whole thing!

Finn: We’ll use the Force!

Han: That’s not how the Force works.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:43 AM on December 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


Disney at its nadir, “Benji” movies...

I will fight you.
posted by Mchelly at 5:53 AM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth - and that's probably not very much - for the last however many films I've only seen them when they turned up on the back of the seat in front on an aeroplane or on Netflix or something. Given that I'm not doing any long haul flying for a long time and that this movie will forever be safely ensconced behind Disney's paywall, I'm unlikely ever to see it. So I'm not really afraid of spoilers.

I absent-mindedly watched one of those YouTube videos where a professional enthusiast goes through the film and points out in-jokes and references and whatnot. Essentially a very dry list of the events of the film. Now, while that's not likely to flatter even the most carefully constructed movie, I was surprised at how random and unconnected each plot point he mentioned was as they came up. I had suspected as much when I saw the last one (on Netflix, I think - it magically appeared one day when I logged in while connected to a VPN), but this lay it out quite starkly.

Having recently seen (and hugely enjoyed) Knives Out, I know that Rian Johnson is perfectly capable of making a coherent film. Similarly, while the Star Trek reboot might have had its problems, I don't remember it as being nonsense. Therefore I can only conclude that Disney require of their film-makers that each installment of their beloved franchise be a hefty burst of highly kinetic gibberish.
posted by Grangousier at 8:00 AM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I agree that the scene with Ben and Han was supposed to be Ben and Leia, but you know what, I prefer to think that J.J. Abrams et al successfully pulled off the long con for four years.

I also thought the scene where C-3PO notes that the festival happens “every 42 years” was pretty good (2019 minus 42 equals 1977), even if it reminded me that I am old.
posted by holborne at 8:57 AM on December 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think The Empire Strikes Back is why we want more from Star Wars movies. It's not like any of them have really offered anything that feels philosophical other than that one movie, entirely through the Luke/Yoda stuff.

Just noting this is me. Empire was such a fantastic growth from A New Hope, but every movie afterward has been various scales of disappointment that have never lived up to what Empire hinted at. Thankfully, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been much more rewarding with its 22 films over the past 10 years.

Different strokes for different folks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think The Empire Strikes Back is why we want more from Star Wars movies. It's not like any of them have really offered anything that feels philosophical other than that one movie, entirely through the Luke/Yoda stuff.

It's funny, because in rewatching episodes IV through VIII in anticipation of the movie with my kid, I realized that this was pretty much my feeling about The Last Jedi. Mind, I'm a complete sucker for master/apprentice training sequences, in part because of ESB, so I was primed to love this--I thought everything involving Luke was interesting, resonant, and a lovely love letter to both Luke and Yoda and a longer history of martial arts training sequences.

But the rest of the movie does not hold up. The ship scenes were on the verge of slow and boring in the theater, Holdo was a fairly impenetrable character, Rose was fine as a character but not particularly well developed and a little oddly situated. The casino scenes were an interesting set piece, as were the suggestions of wider force powers in the universe, but it doesn't hold together in terms of plot any better than--well, any other Star Wars--but Rian Johnson paced it more like a 70s movie and in this case it really didn't move quickly enough to distract modern audiences from the plot holes and obvious McGuffins. And I really liked it when I first viewed it!

I mean, in so many ways Star Wars created the modern problems with action movie plotting--by being so dependent on the monomyth, structure becomes a framework for a sequence of required scenes and it's less important that things hold together organically or in any way sensibly. Modern movies like these, that do the monomyth/saves the cat thing are really just brisk excuses for a series of more or less appealing character interactions and scenes you're "supposed to have" in epic storytelling. But the plots are frequently . . . stupid. It's stupid that Luke is only showing training on Dagobah for a day (and yeah yeah now they've retconned it to say that time works differently on dagobah because of the force but that's stupid, too) and it's stupid that we had a master codebreaker mcguffin in the last movie and a magic protractor knife in this one. What we're left with, really, is the hope that the character moments are compelling enough and the pacing brisk enough that viewers don't care. Luke and Rey worked well for me in the last one. Rey and Kylo worked well for me in this one. Neither cases are as strong as the iconic characters in the original trilogy--you know that my five year old daughter doesn't care very much about Rey at all but squeed when Leia was shown using the force to fly in episode VIII? It's a big reason why the prequels fail, too. Clones has some stuff in it that could have been compelling, with the right characters, director, writer. Instead it's just a bunch of soggy tissue characters. I do think Finn and Poe and, yes, Rose, are underutilized in this trilogy in general. They're funny and potentially iconic, but never really fleshed out. Wish we'd gotten more, but that was a problem since TFA.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:41 AM on December 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I thought Laura Dern was disasterously miscast as Holdo in TLJ. Like, jaw droppingly, hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-hammer miscast. She didn’t ruin the movie for me, but damn near.
posted by holborne at 11:53 AM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I thought the apparent 'miscasting' was part of the point. They tell Poe (and the audience) that Holdo was an experience and proven military leader, but they dress her like a Coruscant socialite, so there's a disbelief she really has a plan. Of course she turns out to have a much better plan than Poe and also some understanding of operational security. I loved getting fooled by the siple the sleight of hand involved in that presentation. Obviously reactions differed but I am certain it was deliberate.
posted by mark k at 12:28 PM on December 26, 2019 [11 favorites]


Really wish we could've seen the Colin Trevorrow version of this movie. If you're going to commit to a Star Tours ride into a supernova, you might as well go at light speed with no switchbacks.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:41 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I should note that this movie is probably not bad enough to kill Star Wars as a franchise- The Mandalorian has breathed new life (indeed new memes) into the universe, it doesn't seem to be as cringeworthy as the prequels, and it has the luck of debuting in a season when Cats is heralded as the worst thing ever. But narratively speaking, lore-wise, doesn't its conclusions basically mess up the universe, at least as it relates to the Skywalkers/the Force/the original trilogy, as badly as the Game of Thrones finale did for its respective universe? Basically it retcons a ton, and further minimizes the actions of the characters from the original trilogy. Star Wars as a concept is not ruined, but as a story, a monomyth- yeesh.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:11 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


(re Kylo Ren's helmet)

The helmet was stupid. There was no reason for it--it's not like he fell in a volcano or something--and it existed in TFA basically because Vader had a helmet and Abrams doesn't have enough original ideas to run a movie.

I think that Kylo Ren as vader fanboy is one of the few fresh choices in TFA; vader is one of the most iconic cinematic villains of all time and none of the prequels came close to topping him. so do you roll out another space monster for your main villain or do you roll out someone who is just an echo of the bossest space monster and let his constant need to live up to the legacy of boss space monster drive his villainy?

Plus Kylo Ren rhymes nicely with all the manchildren whose childhoods are defined by Star Wars and whose adulthoods are defined by how they fail to measure up to their childhoods.

I liked how the helmet mirrored Ren's journey. He starts off as a cosplaying vader fanboy, of course he needs a helmet and a voice modulator. But then Rey gets inside his head and he takes it off, and then Snoke senses that uncertainty, uses it as abuse leverage, hitting Ren where he's soft, and bye-bye helmet. Then Palps says "hey Ren, you'll be the new Vader, better even!" and bang the helmet is back. The on-again off-again helmet shows off how Ren has nowhere to stand, he's all over the place trying to figure out what kind of Sith he's gonna be as he gets jerked around by those he serves.

It's not a journey one should sympathize with but it's definitely one I empathized with, growing up in a fucked up word with authority figures of questionable intentions and merit and trying to figure out where I belonged and what kind of face I needed to have to belong there.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:15 PM on December 26, 2019 [12 favorites]


> "They tell Poe (and the audience) that Holdo was an experience and proven military leader, but they dress her like a Coruscant socialite ... Obviously reactions differed"

It left me thinking Poe was an idiot who should have been executed for mutiny during the whole of that movie, and basically completely assassinated his character from my perspective.

If dressing Holdo in nice clothes was supposed to make me doubt her competence as a military commander, it did not work on me. I can't see why it should have caused such a reaction at all, honestly,, and I especially cannot see why it should have done so in a cinematic universe that had previously included Mon Mothma, classic Leia, and other supremely competent military minds who wore dresses when they felt like it.

So yes, some reactions definitely differed. :)
posted by kyrademon at 1:42 PM on December 26, 2019 [11 favorites]


The Wrap's list of 21 things wrong with this movie comprehensively names how exactly this movie doesn't make sense- and again, why I feel that it's done irreparable harm to the series' main plot and to the universe's structural integrity.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:06 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


So in the final battle of “The Rise of Skywalker,” the Resistance manages to take out Emperor Palpatine’s fleet, and one First Order Star Destroyer. So, uh, that means the rest of the First Order military is still out there. And the First Order military is apparently large enough that it conquered the entire galaxy in just a couple days. Which means that with the fleet of randoms that they assembled in this movie still, the Resistance still has a long road ahead it if it wants to liberate the galaxy. So, what I’m saying is that basically the entire war takes place during the epilogue of “The Rise of Skywalker,” when we see random Star Destroyers getting blown up. Yikes.

That's... a really good point I hadn't considered before. Also, they're just back to where they started before the series: a poorly organized resistance movement has taken out the main stabilizing force in the galaxy, and will probably just get stomped again in a few years, or things will fall into chaos. This is a plot line from JJ's first movie! It should probably be resolved!
posted by codacorolla at 2:30 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


If dressing Holdo in nice clothes was supposed to make me doubt her competence as a military commander, it did not work on me.

I would have preferred Leia done that lightspeed maneuver, as it would have neatly solved the issue of Carrie Fisher's death, prevented the clumsy edits in TRoS, left the series with a daring move named after the character and given us more than a few moments of Holdo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 PM on December 26, 2019 [13 favorites]


I find myself defending a JJ Abrams Star Wars movie, which only a few days ago I would have considered only slightly more likely than me voting for Trump in 2020.

It seems like the more you liked TLJ, the more you dislike TROS... and vice-versa. I really, really did not like TLJ, both for what it meant to the franchise and just as a standalone work, but (as I said above) I've come to feel some sympathy for TLJ fans who are as horrified by the new movie as I was by TLJ. The two films represent profoundly different and basically irreconcilable approaches to the franchise. But I feel like a lot of things people are calling mistakes in the new film are totally subjective.

If Leia had been the one who appeared to Ren instead of Han, that could have been a powerful scene. But I think it makes dramatic sense for it be to Han, because Han is the guy that Ren murdered and now Han is there to offer forgiveness and encouragement. Visually their meeting is also a nice echo of the moment when Ren killed Solo, with the two of them facing each other on this long craggy rock thing that kind of resembles the catwalk where they last met. I do wish we'd had some clearer idea of how Han was appearing there, if he was a ghost or a memory or what, but the force does all kinds of weird magic shit so it didn't really bother me. If it'd been Leia that would have just been her having some force face-time with her estranged son, but this way we got one last appearance from Han and the touching confirmation that even being murdered by Ren wasn't going to make him give up on his kid.

I think Leia was near the end of her natural life. She probably didn't have to ability or inclination to extend her life with the force, she was ready to go, so she was using the last of her energy to reach out to to Ren. That was also a handy way for them to use as little footage of Carrie Fisher as possible, but dramatically I think it worked. She basically used her dying breath for one last loving, heroic act.

People who are upset that Rey is a Palpatine don't seem to see all the thematic echoes this sets up. Like, Kylo was born from two good parents, and he became evil. Rey was born from an evil bloodline, and she became good. Like Luke, Rey could have gone down the evil path, but rejected it. The series is full of secret parentage and kids spirited away to be raised in secret, so Rey's parentage is totally in line with all that. What we saw of Rey's childhood flashbacks fits the revelation pretty well, there's no obvious retcon there. And how does Rey being a Palpatine even slightly negate all that "everybody can use the force" stuff in TLJ, anyhow? It doesn't take the force mojo away from broom boy!

To people who are upset about Luke's ghost being more laid-back and saying "A Jedi's weapon deserves respect" and all that, I say that the Luke we see here has found some peace in death, he's let go of all that cranky old man bullshit from the last movie. He'd renounced the Jedi and the force, but now he's come around and remembered the good of that stuff. He says it was fear that drove him to be a nasty old hermit, and he's not wrong. I don't like what they did with Luke in TLJ, but if they took him there I think this was the logical place to take him after that. If the Luke Skywalker of the original trilogy was gonna be a force ghost, this is the kind of ghost he was gonna be... a wry, wise old Ben Kenobi-style ghost.

People seem appalled that Rey would acknowledge her attraction to Ren with the kiss, and I've even heard people say there was no set-up for this, but Rey and Kylo Ren's sexual tension was all over the previous two films, especially TLJ, and anybody saying otherwise is lying or blind. (I mean, the shirtless scene?) Beyond the sexual chemistry I think Rey sensed the goodness in Ren. Like Vader, there was still a good person deep down in Ren, and Rey could sense it the same way Luke sensed the goodness in his father. I've always had the feeling that the dark side truly corrupts people, that once they start down that path it twists them until they're not wholly themselves anymore... I think that's the only way we can forgive mass murders like Vader and Ren, by assuming they'd literally lost themselves to evil and they finally regained control before death.

When Rey kissed Ren just before he died, I think it was dramatic shorthand for this weird bond they had, she was grateful he'd saved her life and that he'd come over to the good side, she was overwhelmed by the moment... and then he keels over. My audience chuckled at that too, but I don't think it was universally because they thought the scene was lame. It was shocking, and there is a black comedy to it. Ren has finally changed his ways and it seems like he and Rey have some kind of a future, but then he promptly drops dead. If I chuckled there, it was like, "Aw, no... Seriously?"

Somebody above pointed out that it made sense that Ren would revive his Vader fandom and fix his helmet when he think he has the chance to actually become Vader 2.0. He was humiliated for his fandom in TLJ, but that doesn't mean it truly went away. I do think this movie missed a trick by not having the ghost of Hayden Christensen come back to give Ren a stern talking-to, but if it was either that scene or Han's ghost I'll take Han any day.

I could go on like this, scene by scene, pushing back against the idea that this movie is full of "mistakes." A lot of these choices do make sense, if you're not determined to hate the film. This was a movie that cared more about completing a 9-film saga than following up on an 8th film that, uh, went its own way. I've heard from a surprising amount of people who seem to resent the franchise's focus on the Skywalker saga, they want to get away from that and focus on other force users or not bother with the Jedi at all. To me that's a bit like complaining that the Back to the Future movies would be better without Marty McFly in them, but whatever. If you want Star Wars without Skywalkers or Palpatines, we're probably going to get a lot of those in the future. This one is about finishing the original saga that's driven these movies since 1977.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:59 PM on December 26, 2019 [11 favorites]


I thought Laura Dern was disasterously miscast as Holdo in TLJ.

An example of how polarizing these last two movies were: I LOVED Holdo. She was awesome and one of my favorite parts of these sequels.

(and, unsurprisingly, I thought this final film was a dismal hot mess)
posted by Windigo at 4:15 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


> "It seems like the more you liked TLJ, the more you dislike TROS... and vice-versa."

Nah, I didn't like either.
posted by kyrademon at 4:28 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Heck, I think I like TFA worst of all!
posted by Apocryphon at 4:44 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Attack of the Clones wasn’t really all that bad, with the minor exception of every spoken line.

OMG perfect way of putting it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:56 PM on December 26, 2019


"Begun, the Clone War has" being the sole exception. They could do a pseudo-silent film cut of AOTC with only that line of dialogue.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:09 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


But I feel like a lot of things people are calling mistakes in the new film are totally subjective.

I don’t disagree with this statement, but the people who hated this movie understand everything in your comment about what he was trying to do. We just think it was misguided and sucks.
posted by snofoam at 5:21 PM on December 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Since we were already clear that Rogue One was the all-time best Star Wars film

No it was not
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


It was the best Star Wars movie about a star war
posted by Apocryphon at 5:25 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


it's too bad RO didn't come out before TFA so we didn't have to waste a saga movie on a soft reboot of ANH to regain audience goodwill

basically, the prequel and sequel trilogies are just nothing but squandered opportunities, though I'd argue the sequel trilogy is the bigger tragedy because you can't get original cast back again. you could remake the prequel trilogy and nobody would care
posted by entropicamericana at 5:28 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


also, this is the best star wars movie
posted by entropicamericana at 5:32 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don’t disagree with this statement, but the people who hated this movie understand everything in your comment about what he was trying to do. We just think it was misguided and sucks.

Well, I'm seeing people say stuff like, "Why did she kiss Kylo Ren? There was no romantic tension between them, it came out of nowhere!" And that particular argument strikes me as denying some stuff that seemed pretty obvious in the previous films. And when people are saying it would have been so much better if Leia had been the one who appeared to Ren, that could have only been accomplished via CGI (and probably would have looked pretty strange and awful) and I feel like people aren't getting the significance of it being Han. Han forgives Ren, from beyond the grave. Leia dies reaching out to Ren. They both get a big, dramatic moment to speak to Ren, even if Leia's had to be truncated due to Fisher's death. There's just a lot of stuff where I feel like people are arguing in bad faith a bit, they've made up their minds to see the worst in everything.

Over and over again, a lot of the objections to TROS seem to come back to people being upset about the stuff that was discarded from TLJ. But I'd argue that TLJ is a major swerve from the main franchise, and this new movie isn't a sequel to that film so much as it's meant to be the capper to the entire Skywalker saga. If you want Luke and the Jedi and Palpatine out of the way so we can focus on the adventures of Broom Boy or whatever, the last film of the 9-film Skywalker saga isn't really the place to do that.

Again, I detested Abrams' Trek movies and I didn't like TFA, so it feels really weird to be defending the guy. But for me this movie almost redeems the new trilogy. It makes them click into a place in the larger story, in a way they really didn't before.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:45 PM on December 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


How is he...building these thousands of planet destroyers ... and with nobody noticing?

This didn't bother me, but I've been conditioned to expect democracies to whistle past looming existential threats.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Loved it, cried like five times, including the end. although it was about five television seasons long.

I loved the theme of "you have more allies than you know".

I was sure that Rey was Palatine's misbegotten clone instead of a granddaughter. I still feel like you could just swap it out.

Both this one, and the Last Jedi, felt like a response to the fact that TV shows are now eight hour movies.

And JJ Abrams was like, "oh yeah, Imma make a movie made of five television seasons! Take that!"
posted by eustatic at 5:53 PM on December 26, 2019


Like how many cliffhangers and turns were there? 25?
posted by eustatic at 5:54 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I did like the Ben Solo turn, and I did appreciate that thread, which absolutely is true has been set up since the beginning. That is literally one of the few things that did have a payoff sensical enough for the trilogy. But for the rest, I agree with Apocryphon. Let's go back to that Ben Solo turn. A better told story would earn that turn AND not make me roll my eyes at his death, because I know he's going to die not because of the character choices and story climax etc etc organic to the story of the trilogy (which, let's be frank, has turned out to be a quite mediocre round robin), but simply because in ROTJ Vader died so ~obviously~ Kylo too. Great. Sure.
posted by cendawanita at 5:58 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm thankful we didn t follow the Rebels time travel thread
posted by eustatic at 5:58 PM on December 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


That article linked to: J.J. Abrams Says His Luke Moment in ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Is Not “Flipping Off The Last Jedi”
“I’ll say, I think that people who say “Oh, this film is flipping off The Last Jedi”, like when Luke says the thing he does about the lightsaber…If the scene in The Last Jedi, where Luke tosses the saber over his shoulder, was immediately followed by Luke saying “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect,” I’d think it was insane. But one of the many brilliant things that Rian did in Last Jedi was give Luke an arc. He learned something. He got somewhere. He ended that film and recommitted to the thing that in the very beginning of the film, he was rejecting. The idea that even Luke Skywalker can learn something. For a kid to hear Luke Skywalker say ‘I was wrong,’ I think is a beautiful thing.”
There is absolute beauty at the rhetorical and logical gymnastics that Abrams is performing in both ostensibly praising Johnson for "giving Luke an arc" while at the same time dismissing Johnson's ideas by claiming that Luke rejected them.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:06 PM on December 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I didn't hate it. I didn't love it.
Good:
  1. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are both joys to watch on screen
  2. Some beautiful scenery
  3. It was mostly pretty engaging
  4. Some of the light saber fight scenes were appropriately epic
Bad
  1. Almost that entire movie supposedly took place over 16 hours? what?
  2. So much predictability
  3. Rey killed so many people without turning to the dark side. As did other Jedi before her. Why couldn't she kill Palpatine to save her friends. Not out of hatred, but out of necessity?
  4. And this one isn't specific to this movie, or even the Star Wars saga. I hated that Zorii's survival negated most of the emotional impact of the destruction of her planet, with the loss of millions(?) of lives.

posted by Tabitha Someday at 8:09 PM on December 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen a film with a MacGuffin budget quite that high. The magic thingamajig leads to a rare map to the enchanted whatsit which contains the secret doohickey that unlocks the Flagon with the Dragon that reveals the Vessel with the Pestle, etc.

After reading a lot of spoilers, my expectations could not have been lower, which means that I enjoyed the good parts VERY, VERY MUCH. I just wish there had been more emotional resonance and less... stuff. It was like a meal that tastes fine but leaves you hungry an hour later.

Like Luke, Rey could have gone down the evil path, but rejected it. 

That's kind of why I disliked it, though - we've already HAD the story of the Darksider's kid choosing the Light. We had a great NEW story about the girl with no special heritage who was thrust into the game out of nowhere and had to forge her own destiny out of nothing, and instead of running with that opportunity they just pissed it away to tread the same tired old ground. It feels cheap and lazy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:00 PM on December 26, 2019 [13 favorites]


I agree with a lot of the above complaints, but I'm not going to let it bother me too much, since I've now seen ten Star Wars movies in theaters (I skipped Solo), and I had to suspend disbelief to enjoy the first one in 1977 as an adult. But a few days after seeing TRoS twice, a different conundrum occurs to me:

How come Ben disappeared into the ether when he died, but Rey did not? They are both strong in the Force, they were both half-ass trained as Jedis, neither were masters. Cosmologically, they were fairly equivalent. Hmm, must have been the plot.
posted by Miss Cellania at 5:09 AM on December 27, 2019


Rey... didn't die?
posted by hippybear at 6:20 AM on December 27, 2019


I can't wait until the next Trilogy when they have to defeat the Emperor again.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:42 AM on December 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


just to kill a theory bouncing around earlier in this conversation: Rey's lineage is confirmed outside of Palpatine's boasts by, bafflingly enough, Luke, who then says that Leia knew the whole time. and didn't tell her. because of reasons.

anyway:

I find the "it's a soap opera, get over it" thread for people who liked this movie to be a little tiresome. there is, in 2019, no shortage of empty-headed blockbuster noise and no lost appetite for such. not every movie has to say something important; not every movie must aspire to be Cinema. this is a conversation about laser sword movies; I think we can start with that all being assumed.

the "it wasn't Star Wars and I hated it" response to TLJ also baffles me because TLJ doesn't do anything that empire didn't do decades ago. Luke has a variation of Poe's story, in which he is revealed to be too sure of himself, too impulsive, and too easy to assume that "run off and save people" is a sufficient plan, and he fails because of that. yoda is an explicit rejection/subversion of expectations and expands upon the Force as a philosophy and spiritual way of living in actually coherent, thematically resonant ways that the first movie only hints at. Vader being Luke's father (in the time before Skywalkers were the whole fucking show) is a violent act of re-traumatizing orphan Luke, obliterating his presumed motivations, upending his whole journey to that point. the movie's apparent thief-with-heart-of-gold Han Solo sequel betrays the heroes.

star wars doesn't have to tell a reductively simple kid's story; space operas don't have to be junk, whether you mean that in the "positive" or negative sense.

and christ does this movie do so much worse for itself by wallowing in the junk. the worst thing the prequels did was shrink the SW universe into the story of like three people who matter and a cartoon supervillain who is evil just because and is behind every bad thing that ever happens to a degree that obliterates the stakes and emotional resonance of the universe. rise then re-shrinks the universe that had been expanded in interesting ways even just by TFA. even if it had been a well-made, well-paced and competent piece of film (it wasn't), this would have sunk a lot of the joy for me.

film crit hulk's thing someone linked to above does a much better job than I care to outlining how Abrams' approach destroys what it pretends to honor and turns this whole franchise into a cyclical, redundant shambles...

...so I'm just going to stop with that and instead focus on the tiny English-speaking droid that suffers from post-traumatic stress due to an abusive former master, who essentially just exists as a plot device to get the non-Rey characters to the Final Boss Room, but whose context is unnecessarily and bafflingly upsetting. this is a movie where mindwiping 3PO is a joke (until it isn't, until it is again when Poe asks for a volume control on the dude's confused amnesiac rambling); the humane treatment of droids in this universe is a source of consternation for many across the franchise.

that's all whatever to me, but this robot exhibiting signs of trauma is so far beyond the bounds of what I want or need in a fucking star wars movie, particularly one with no capacity to understand or deal with the implications of that trauma (compare to the racehorse creatures in TLJ, whose abuse is a pointed and sympathetic commentary on the abusiveness of power). there's a joke-y bit somewhere in the third act I only half-remember where someone/something startles the little guy badly, and he starts going "NO THANK YOU NO THANK YOU," and it broke my heart in a way that intensified my anger at the movie far beyond all the other shit like making every single person have Royal Blood, or making all the black folks sit at the same table.

it is in the details where you find a creator's love. TLJ may have its issues, but even if you hate it you cannot argue it is not lovingly crafted and carefully, intentionally made. ROS is a sloppy disaster, and in the details it ends up careless at best, and just as often carelessly cruel or stupid.

just... ugh, man.
posted by Kybard at 6:45 AM on December 27, 2019 [27 favorites]


You know they didn't think that robot through, who btw was voiced by Abrams himself.
posted by cendawanita at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


1) When the treadspeeders launched the stormtroopers into the air, I immediately thought, "How toyetic!"
2) I was actually mad for a second when it looked like Poe was going to rescue Finn with his X-wing, because rescuing people is what The Falcon does.
3) I kept expecting that the Kylo in the Death Star throne room was a force projection
4) I was hoping C-3PO would get all his memories restored and have a moment freaking out that he was assembled by Darth Vader.
5) Why didn't Rey just force lift herself and her buddies out of the quicksand (other than plot)?
6) C-3PO ran for what I'm guessing is the first time ever
7) I would feel better about the RotJ style happy ending if the sequel trilogy hadn't spent so much time hollowing that out.
8) Kinda surprised that baby (or by this point toddler) Yoda didn't show up
posted by ckape at 7:02 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


At the time, I was under the impression that Rey died and Ben brought her back, but in hindsight I suppose she must have just been very nearly dead?

(Need to write a fanfic where each of them dies and gets revived by the other over and over until they get sick of it.)

(PyrReymus and ThisBen?)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:28 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


She was only mostly dead
posted by Fleebnork at 7:32 AM on December 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


(Need to write a fanfic where each of them dies and gets revived by the other over and over until they get sick of it.)

Here's the immediate post-viewing one my friends and I riffed:

"No, you go on..."
*giggles* "No, you!"
"No baby, you!"
"No, y--"
(Luke & Leia) "Will you kids both hang up!"
posted by cendawanita at 7:42 AM on December 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


Richard E. Grant was born to be a Star Wars officer baddie. "We've gone to a galaxy far, far away by mistake!"

What a waste of Jodie Comer, buried in a few seconds of flashback as Rey's mother.

I found it impossible to buy into the Leia scenes, knowing how they were cobbled together; tiny snatches of phrases shoehorned into made-to-order dialogue were never going to have the impact of the first two movies.

Lots of good bits, though. 3PO's memory wipe. Hux being the spy for the most Hux-like of reasons. The flashback to young Luke training young Leia. Han's cameo. Luke's force ghost. And far better that Rey was a Palpatine than a Skywalker, even if keeping her a nobody would have been best of all.

The Ren/Rey battle on the remnant of the Death Star with waves crashing over them was truly epic - more than the finale with the Emperor, I thought.

The Last Jedi was the best of the three, and this was the least - which echoes the original trilogy nicely - but I still liked it.
posted by rory at 7:48 AM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think out of everything that has been raised, I am lost astonished that there was no agreement on any very basic facts or plot points over the trilogy just utterly staggers me. Especially given Disney's ownership, especially given the pretty much literally incomprehensible amount of money at stake, that they didn't at least agree on Rey's parentage beforehand is... staggering.

I'm not saying that this would be better (or worse!) for artistic reasons or anything else like that, I'm just... gobsmacked by how cavalier they were with this.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:11 AM on December 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm just... gobsmacked by how cavalier they were with this

All of the films, except for Solo, have grossed a billion dollars, so as products that packaged and sold to consumers, the new Star Wars movies have done pretty great, bottom line wise. The particular narrative that some, including myself, wish for from these movies, just isn't going to be there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


The ability of Star Wars movies to earn billions of dollars seems to be somewhat divorced from whatever narratives the movies actually carry.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:08 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh I strongly disagree! It's a different style of story telling that resonant with many, but not all people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


a billion dollars

I feel like this is a bit of a non-sequitur to what I was saying, to be honest.

Did you see the film in the end or not, btw?
posted by ominous_paws at 9:30 AM on December 27, 2019


Richard E. Grant was born to be a Star Wars officer baddie.

I'm surprised it took so long honestly. It feels almost as inevitable as Burn Gorman one day showing up as the Imperial/First Order version of his character from Turn: Washington's Spies because seriously, it's low hanging fruit just waiting to be the easiest decision some casting director will ever make.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:32 AM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Abigail Nussbaum at LGM has a very good piece. She dislikes the current movie more than I do but I don't think I disagree with any of her points.

I'd recommend the whole thing but highlight one bit. The metaphysics of the Force has always been incoherent, and the ending to this movie with it's "Kill me and you become evil" point being resolved by "Kill me and the 100,000 spectators in this room and it's OK." The movies never offer a distinctive light side alternative to problems caused by war and Sith totalitarianism, and this is not just an Abrams problem. She suggests the way out of this mess was to pick up a plotline in the movies since TFA: Storm Trooper clones who won't blindly follow orders and could be turned instead of killed.
posted by mark k at 10:38 AM on December 27, 2019 [11 favorites]


An update to a discussion early in this thread:

> From the Darth Vader comics, Palpatine manipulated midi-chlorians to impregnate Shmi Skywalker:

This turns out not to be the case.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:13 AM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


I feel like this is a bit of a non-sequitur to what I was saying, to be honest.

Did you see the film in the end or not, btw?


Yep, saw it!

My point about the billion dollars most of the latest films have made is that Disney understands that a tight plot with few holes really doesn't matter to a lot of people. They pretty much can make it up as they go along and as long as they make it look good and have enough plot threads to make people feel something, they're gonna make decent money.

Folks have their own opinions on whether that's good or bad, but Disney gonna be Disney.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


the ending to this movie with it's "Kill me and you become evil" point being resolved by "Kill me and the 100,000 spectators in this room and it's OK."

It wasn't clear to me what the spectators in that arena actually were. I mean, they didn't seem like people.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:46 AM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


This turns out not to be the case.

I always assumed that Palpatine just regular-raped Shmi and used the force to MIB flashy-thing her afterwards. I mean, the "no father" and "conceived by the force" are just too stupid to be meant to be taken seriously.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2019


Yeah, I don't know if I expressed my point great, and certainly don't sweat plot coherence at the expense of all. I'm just surprised that they didn't see plotting this out as the conservative safe play, especially given the panic the reaction to Johnson's choice seems to have invoked.

I don't especially love "the film made box office, therefore Disney knew what it was doing at all times and everything went to plan" as a take - apologies if this is a gross simplification of what you're driving at. I suppose that only real insider account that hopefully will be forthcoming can confirm if The Mouse did feel that missteps were made and if the firing of the first director and etc indicated any real problems. I'll be gawping furiously, natch.

It does seem that it takes a LOT to make a lot of people stay home from these films, recasting Han Solo the only real way they've managed it so far. I do kind of feel like this first weekend of the last film proper was gonna be what it was gonna be whether it was this film, a teeth-gritted continuation of the last film's direction, or two hours of Mark Hamill chugging blue milk lattes. Will be interesting to see how sales carry on - personally saw the last two twice, decided against a second time for this one to see Little Women instead. Anyway I'm rambling by this point.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:57 AM on December 27, 2019


I have to wonder if some of the flaws of the sequel trilogy are rooted in trying too hard to escape the problems of the prequels.

1. Instead of a single vision dominated by one man, the sequel doesn't seem to have tried to establish any consensus. They didn't need to find a new Lucas, or use Lucas' sequel ideas. They didn't need to hire too many people who worked on the originals, as those guys seem to have outdated notions of what Star Wars is about or can be. They could've taken the LFL Story Group and gotten them to hammer out a framework. They could've hired teams of sci-fi writers to work on a vision together. Instead it feels like Disney plucked out three flavor of the day directors- remember the third one was originally helmed by a man best known for Jurassic World- and do it. And worst of all, the three don't seem to have talked to each other to actually figure out the narrative framework of this series!

2. Related to its disjointed narrative, the overall plot of the setting- the war itself- also makes little sense. I've complained about this previously so I won't rehash it here. Suffice to say when the central conflict is a mishmash of evolving yet meaningless factions (New Republic/Resistance/new Rebellion? vs. First Order/Final Order), you kind of lose the point of why the characters are fighting at all. Granted, it's a desire to avoid the parliamentary exposition of the prequels that people found boring. But that's no reason to just give up and tell no story at all!
posted by Apocryphon at 12:11 PM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Instead it feels like Disney plucked out three flavor of the day directors...

I do get the feeling that Disney was going for spectacle and myth, yeah. That way they're not constrained by hard and fast rules, which the fandom is watching for like a hawk. Trying to do a tight plot/narrative is probably considered too limiting.

And clearly Disney recognizes they've made a few missteps, since they're not doing any new movies for a while.

So Disney probably isn't "fuck plot, we don't need that," but more "we're making myths here people, make it big and beautiful, make'em feel something, don't sweat the details too much"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


The problem with spectacle and subversion and fan service is that these things can become a sleight-of-hand that ostensibly gives audiences what they want, while papering over the structural flaws and trivializing the story. We definitely saw this with the GoT finale- D&D threw a bone to fans by making some of their theories right, gave them the much-ballyhooed Cleganebowl, poured in a ton of CGI and special effects spectacle, tied it up with some plot twists, and the end result was something that few fans actually liked because they didn't really think through their choices. Not to mention, has somewhat caused a collective psychic shrug across both fandom and mainstream audiences, as no one seemingly cares about Game of Thrones anymore: the final season(s) destroyed the goodwill engendered by the series' start.

I feel this seemingly parallel evolution across different sf/f franchises to be fascinating, and so is the age-old problem of wrapping up a saga in a satisfying way, and would like to read thinkpieces on it.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:07 PM on December 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


Did anyone else find the cinematography really claustrophobic for a lot of the film? Like everything was filmed with a super long lens from a low angle really tight in on the actors faces? I kept wanting to somehow step back from the screen so I could see what was going on.

I found the framing and editing of shots a disorienting mess but it sort of worked somehow. Like it (unintentionally?) conveyed Rey's disorientation with having Kylo in her head all the time. I felt it worked especially well during the fight where it cuts between her in the white room on the ship and Kylo down on the planet.

I feel like the opening scenes on the jungle planet may have been reshoots or something because the "banter" was so weirdly flat as if the actors were acting against nothing. But then on the same set at the very end of the film there is so much genuine emotion.

I don't know, it was a mess but by the end I was enjoying it a lot.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 1:12 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's cool that Reylo was telegraphed from the beginning, I guess, but Rey saying "I don't want this" while Kylo Ren forced himself into her mind might be the most triggering thing I've seen on screen in the past several years.

Having it followed up with Ben kissing Rey until he dies ... did not make it better.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:18 PM on December 27, 2019 [10 favorites]


The problem with spectacle and subversion and fan service is that these things can become a sleight-of-hand that ostensibly gives audiences what they want, while papering over the structural flaws and trivializing the story.

Indeed, I'm very curious to see how TRoS does box office wise over the long haul. And whether it'll matter in the long run. The Skywalker films are done, but no doubt some new SW movie will be out in a few years. That might be enough time to bring crowds back out.

I didn't care for any of the recent films overall (while enjoying bits and pieces), but I'd be cautiously curious about a baby Yoda movie guest starring the Mandolorian.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:36 PM on December 27, 2019


It wasn't clear to me what the spectators in that arena actually were. I mean, they didn't seem like people.

The thing is, I honestly doubt Abrams could give you a convincing answer either way. They (to Abrams) looked cool, and added... something to the scene, so there they were. And then they died (?) to show the good guys won. It’s another example in a movie full of them that spectacle > plotting that is Abrams style.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:50 PM on December 27, 2019 [9 favorites]


Sith fanboys
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on December 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


It was shocking, and there is a black comedy to it. Ren has finally changed his ways and it seems like he and Rey have some kind of a future,

Fanfic will of course unite them, give them a kid and fill in the details of Rey's mother. Soon we will have novels featuring their offspring who is descended from every Star Wars character with a speaking role save for Jabba, Space Benicio Del Toro, and Gold Leader.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Giving three movies to three different directors to do their take was not a horrible idea. You could get strong entries with individual creativity instead of the flattening effect of a single story chopped into three and locking each entry into some plan.

It didn't work out that way. You ended up with two directors instead of three, and Abrams' creative vision was not a response or even reboot but instead basically remakes. The truncated release timeline also limited how you could take advantage of the last movies' best elements. At that point you might as well have gone for coherence (And 100% non-Abrams directors, as the guy makes up everything as he goes along.)

I do think online people tend to overemphasize "fan reaction" and online complaints with audience reaction. The movie will do a billion dollars of business and most people will feel they got their money's worth, and there's no revolt against any of the new lore or characters.

And clearly Disney recognizes they've made a few missteps, since they're not doing any new movies for a while.

That's not what your link actually says--they talk multiple movies in development, but have not announced any. They could announce some next month for all the info that particular article gives.
posted by mark k at 6:24 PM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Kybard, I did my rewatch and left with a >:( on my face that Luke corroborated the ancestry thing. I'd forgotten. I have no idea why Leia would have known, that doesn't really make sense to me either, but I don't think Luke would lie about something Leia had told him, and I don't think Leia would make it up or unquestioningly believe some vision from Palpatine without third-party corroboration, so I guess I have to accept that this is not just 100% Palpatine Fake News in canon. I'm hoping the novelization and/or some future movie throws in a bit more detail about why anyone believes this horseshit and/or discredits said horseshit.

On rewatch, I had a drink or two in the theater and found the movie still to be trash but to be much more enjoyable due to the combination of 100% appropriate expectations and 100% delicious libations. I am disappointed in how Disney executed this, the single most cowardly film I've ever seen, but Star Wars has disappointed me before and will likely do so again.

In a way, this was a loss of innocence for many of us, I think. I didn't see Return in the theater (wasn't born at the time), but I get the sense that people who did had a similar feeling of disappointment that it didn't live up to what they thought it could achieve after watching Empire. I had real hopes that they'd find a way to close things up in a way that honored the time, energy, and emotion I'd put into Star Wars over the years. I felt like, well, Disney COULD have afforded the best talent in the world to make this movie, so of course they WOULD do that, and of course all the people involved WOULD rise to the occasion...

Yeah, no. Like anyone else tasked with a big, scary job, the folks making Star Wars are just imperfect humans with not enough time and not enough energy and maybe not enough raw interdisciplinary talent to deliver what they've been asked to deliver, and constraints they can't meet without disappointing some subset of the people they want to please. And I should have expected that that would be the case, and it was childish that I didn't.

Star Wars has given me so much over the years. I've put a lot in, but I've gotten more out. I was always going to forgive this movie for not being what I wanted it to be, and I already had even before I walked into the theater (honestly, I had a single dealbreaker, and whatever other disappointments there were, IX did not break the deal). And that's how these movies are going to keep making billions of dollars, I guess. No matter how annoyed I may be, I'll keep spending money, time, and energy on this dumb ass franchise for the foreseeable future. I mean, I saw that movie, emerged furious, and a couple days later Santa brought my kid Darth Vader underpants and a TIE fighter that screams and spins when you pump the handle. *shrug*
posted by potrzebie at 11:12 PM on December 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


> It wasn't clear to me what the spectators in that arena actually were. I mean, they didn't seem like people.

The ghosts of Sithmas past…
posted by Pinback at 12:01 AM on December 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've seen it now, and enjoyed it even though I agree with the majority of criticisms in this thread. It could have been more than mere entertainment, and it's a shame they didn't go deeper. But that's true of most movies & tv.

Now I'm going to do my best to never watch a JJ Abrams thing again.
posted by harriet vane at 12:32 AM on December 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


What comes to me after reading so many well-considered takes on the most recent trilogy (here and in linked articles), is that we as an audience are giving the films and the stories they tell way too much power when it's clear that the studio will deliver the least ratio of coherence to spectacle that will sell tickets and merchandise.

As myth making, it fails for a lack of intetnal consistency and a lazy habit of breaking old rules and making up new rules whenever it suits without concern for what that means for the whole work (which sounds about right for the current political climate). It fails because a lesson delivered is that choices don't matter since the storyteller is going to force the story along a path without regard to a character's tendencies, experience, desires, or aspirations and that everything will turn out well in the end regardless because that's the way the story must go. That's an awfully subtle and destructive message to deliver.
posted by kokaku at 3:13 AM on December 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


I just realized The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker both have scenes where our heroes crash in the desert and find themselves in quicksand. has JJ Abrams never been to a desert before? What the fuck is it with him and quicksand?!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:15 AM on December 28, 2019 [10 favorites]


The Half in the Bag review brought up that JJ hates space as well. The final battle was at some planet that somehow you can only get to through a nebula. The atmosphere extends into space far enough to ride space horses and run around on top of spaceships with no spacesuits. Travel times are nonexistent, even with no hyperdrive. Lando can fly around the entire galaxy and collect everyone for the big battle in an hour, etc.

The whole thing was just so sloppy and ham fisted, especially when it would have only required a tiny bit of effort to correct. My suspension of disbelief and appeals to nostalgia can only stretch so far.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:39 AM on December 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh, I also forgot, the Death Star II was exploded above the forest moon of Endor, yet the wreckage landed on some other moon entirely.

I mean... why? The forest moon could have had an ocean, or the destruction could have caused weather cataclysm that turned part of it into ocean.

Just a few words. "The war really wrecked this moon" or something.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:45 AM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I feel like having the Death Star crashing on a different moon was an Um Actually to the Endor Holocaust theory that the debris from the Death Star wiped out the Ewok way of life, if not the Ewoks themselves.
posted by ckape at 8:27 AM on December 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


I chuckled a bit at Penny Arcade's take. For me the cultural shock wave (including Metafilter posts and Fanfare threads) that each Star Wars film releases as it debuts is increasingly more interesting than the film itself.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:55 AM on December 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Honestly fuck those guys forever though.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:46 AM on December 28, 2019 [10 favorites]


As much as I don't want a "Fuck Penny Arcade" derail God damn how does Mike Krahulik's art get even more hideous every time I come around to reading another one of his strips? I used to like his chunky geometric way he drew characters for the strip but he's really run it off the deep end. I wonder if he draws everything like that now or if it's just the strip, but I can't find where he posts any non-PA art these days.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Terrific thread on all the stupid plot points in the film:
Movie: .. and then Rey takes Luke and Leia’s sabers to Tattooine.
Me: Why?
Movie: So their spirits will be home. You know, closure.
Me: Leia wasn’t from Tattooine.
Movie: ....
Me: Leia primarily remembered Tattooine as the place where she was a giant slug’s sex slave.
...
Movie: Oh, hey, we also gave Poe! A love interest!
Me: Sure.
Movie: It's a WOMAN. Wanna stress that.
Me: Lame but okay.
Movie: The chemistry is PALPABLE. They have HISTORY. She SMOLDERS.
Me: Okay.
Movie: Of course, you can't tell because she always wears a motorcycle helmet.
...

Worth reading the whole thread.
posted by octothorpe at 1:16 PM on December 28, 2019 [21 favorites]


Hey, that’s Mr. liet’s Twitter thread!
posted by liet at 2:03 PM on December 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


^ It’s a very funny thread 😁
posted by LooseFilter at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Link to thread posted again, because it is gold!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 PM on December 28, 2019


Hux being the spy for the most Hux-like of reasons

See, I found that *so* out of character that even after the movie ended there was a part of me that still couldn't quite process that it actually happened. They spend two whole movies establishing him as a rabid idealogue motivated by ruthless ambition, and he pops into the third just long enough to suddenly throw away everything he's spent a lifetime building out of petty, childish jealousy? Heck, I'm one of the biggest fanwankers I know and I can't talk myself into anything that reconciles that for me.

I mostly enjoyed the viewing experience, but I don't feel the urge to see it again. (And I'm the one who watched The Last Jedi once a week for over a year.)

The "it's just a kids' movie" line I keep reading on other sites doesn't wash with me, either. Just because you *can* entertain a toddler by chewing with your mouth open doesn't mean you *should.* Plenty of movies, including others in this series, prove that it's perfectly possible to entertain kids without sacrificing depth, emotional resonance, or cohesion.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:24 PM on December 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


Kids deserve good plotting too.
posted by octothorpe at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


Those YouTube videos where Spider-man steals Elsa's clothes have a clearer, more believable plot than this movie.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:29 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I feel like if Rey was All Of The Jedi then for a trilogy of trilogies finale, they should have summoned all the Jedi Force ghosts and have a light saber/force fight in that room. It needed a more epic ending, somehow. Lightning battles are unexciting, they really need physicality like with earlier Trooper shuttle scene, or like in Thor in Ragnarok / Endgame.

As a Trekkie, I felt like The Last Jedi was an actual, understandable story. With The Rise of Skywalker, I have not been able to make sense of the ending and outcome, and so I've just been feeling sad about all the abrupt deaths. And it's not even clear if Rey will be in future stories?
posted by polymodus at 10:57 PM on December 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


depends on how many toys she sells?
posted by kokaku at 2:12 AM on December 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Saw it yesterday. It was fine. I have no strong feelings about it either way, but it was a decent way to spend a couple of hours.
posted by knapah at 6:50 AM on December 29, 2019


depends on how many toys she sells?

I know this is a running gag re: Disney and Star Wars, but there is really very little merch for this movie. I tried to find my wife a Rey T shirt or something for Christmas and there's just almost nothing. Aside from some Lego sets, there's very little actual toy merch too.

I think Disney got burned pretty bad on the Solo merch so they dialed it way back.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:55 AM on December 29, 2019


As a Trekkie, I felt like The Last Jedi was an actual, understandable story.

I mean, was it? The codebreaker stuff, really?

I say this as someone who largely enjoyed TLJ.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:05 AM on December 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Saw it on Christmas with my mother, who has no idea what is going on in these movies and not only said "Aren't stormtroopers the good guys? They're always walking around Disneyland in white...." but also, during the Rey/Kylo kiss, said "Are they brother and sister?"

Anyway: I was reading spoilers as of 8:30 the night it came out, I hated it less than I thought. It was okay. I definitely dislike certain things:

(a) The emperor is somehow not dead, and we don't explain why.
(b) Kelly Marie Tran's treatment.
(c) The Rey/Kylo kiss.

I rolled my eyes on:
(a) Chewie death fakeout
(b) droid memory wipe fakeout
(c) Zorii and Tiny Hacker Dude death fakeout
(d) Kylo Ren's Japanese ceramic art helmet mending
(e) Oh, just spit it out, Finn.
(f) Zorii goes from wanting to kill Finn to liking him again to what?

I was still amused at:
(a) Hux is a traitor and gets himself killed purely out of petty revenge
(b) The various sniping at each other done by the trio at the start
(c) Zorii doesn't want to bang Finn or remove her helmet
(d) The tiny hacker, whatever his name is, I forget
(e) The younger trio, especially Poe, don't so much care about Threepio, and Poe's line about "the one time we WANT him to talk?" and "Not that anyone asked, but I'm fine!"

I'm still confused on however the hell Leia died. I am not thrilled with what went down but do get that they had very, very little to work with and all the other demands mentioned above there.

That said:
(a) Rey still knocking it out of the park
(b) Kylo's dead, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY even if I had to deal with that kiss bit (yuck)
(c) At least Lando lives. Does he have a kid now? I got that vibe.
(d) I would be fine with Finn and Jannah as a couple, not that that is likely to go down, but they had some kind of ex stormtrooper chemistry.

I am actually fine with the retcon about Rey coming from a Force family because families with the Force is A Thing in these movies and frankly, coming from nothing was totally uninteresting to me (and really, they're doing that with the guys already).

JJ Abrams has always been "meh" at best and I am unshocked at that going on again.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:32 PM on December 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


The ability of Star Wars movies to earn billions of dollars seems to be somewhat divorced from whatever narratives the movies actually carry.

Darn, I was looking forward to what you were gonna say it is insignificant compared to.
posted by straight at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Terrific thread on all the stupid plot points in the film:

Several good points that made me laugh (especially the quicksand and burying Leia's saber on Tatooine and the "ancient" knife) but also a few cringes at the self-own of the author just missing places where the movie clearly explained the thing they claim is a plot hole. Always of the peril of trying to dunk on plot holes.
posted by straight at 1:54 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


The level of confirmation bias in people hating on this movie is kind of amazing. I keep seeing people ignore the obvious, twist the facts, accentuate the negative... people want to hate this, they enjoy hating this, so it becomes a Matrix Reloaded/series finale of almost every genre show ever situation where you've got this pretty good, B+ pop culture thing but people are trying to top each other with just how much they hated it. Please, deal with what the thing actually is, instead of guzzling the hateraide.

Just to answer a few criticisms of the film (and note that I'm not trying to start a flamewar with any of you):

What the hell were all those shadowy sith guys in Palpatine's throne room? It made no sense!
Sith ghosts. Palpatine said something about all the Sith living in him, and I think we were seeing generations of dead Sith who were there to witness this big moment. Until now we only saw light side ghosts, but Palpatine has always gone on about the dark side having the power to cheat death.

Speaking of. Palpatine being back? That felt like the most cliche thing ever and an utter lack of creativity.
He was the big bad in the first trilogy and the second. He's one of the most iconic villains in film and I don't think a movie is ever worse for having Ian McDiarmid in it. An argument could be made that it was logical and necessary for him to come back to complete the saga. I was surprised he came back, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense.

Somebody asked why Rey didn't kill Palpatine, and that's because it's just what Palpatine wanted her to do, so he could possess her. He said so. She was stuck in a situation where she could either join him by choice or kill him and become him. (And his preference was clearly the latter.) It was only Ren's arrival, and the blowback when Palpatine tried to force lightning them both, that led to him destroying himself.

Others have said that Hux turning out to be the spy was out of character, that it was too petty... But while Hux was clearly acting out of personal hatred and jealousy over Ren's power, I don't think his motivations were entirely petty. Remember the creeped-out look he gave Ren at the end of TLJ? Hux thinks Ren is insane and dangerous, and has no business ruling anything. He believes in the First Order to the end. As he put it, he didn't want the rebels to win... He wanted Ren to lose.

To the people who say Ren's treatment of Rey in the previous films was triggering, well, I'm not dismissing that... but I hope you can understand that those same scenes gave some people major submissive tingles. It's kind of a Harlequin Romance-y dynamic between them, with this cruel, powerful male pushing around the feisty young damsel and all that, and while it's problematic as hell it's a thing that still really gets some people off. As somebody whose kink awakening came partly from the realization that she really wanted to wear Princess Leia's gold bikini and get led around on a chain, I'm not gonna judge anybody who's swooning over Ren and Rey snarling at each other. I'm sorry that stuff was traumatic to you, but I hope you can appreciate that for some people it was the best part.

I wouldn't say the younger characters don't care about Threepio. (I know this wasn't a criticism, but I felt like addressing it.) He considers them friends and I think the feeling is mutual. But I think Poe was Han Solo-ing at Threepio, expressing annoyance with the droid's endless fussing and nattering. But I loved Threepio's arc in this one. It felt like the first time I've seen the original character onscreen in a really, really long time. The gag where everybody stares at him and he turns around, thinking there's something behind him, was so Threepio.

Can we please drop the half-jokey thing about how Poe and Finn are secret boyfriends, and it's an abomination that either would have a romance with a woman? I mean, I'm down with guys banging and all, but there's literally nothing in the films to suggest that Poe and Finn are anything more than friends. If you want to write your little slashfic that's fine, but stop hollering about the betrayal of it all when Finn makes eyes at Rey the same way he's been doing since the instant they met. It's 2019 and if you want stuff where guys are actually getting moony over each other, it's out there.

And while I'm picking everybody else's nits, I may as well pick one of my own. Way back in this thread, I commented that it was weird how Finn's coma from the last movie was never dealt with. Well, the coma was actually the cliffhanger at the end of TFA, and he woke up from it in TLJ. So, double dumb-ass on me.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:40 PM on December 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


I forgot to mention that Mom then asked "what about the red stormtroopers?" To which I was all, there are red ones? (She bought a red stormtrooper costume for my baby cousin.) I still haven't gotten an answer on what that's about.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2019


I think the "red stormtroopers" are the Knights of Ren, which is the dark-Jedi/Sithy organization Kylo Ren formed around the time of his fall into darkness. None of the movies really explore precisely what they are, though, e.g in relation to the Sith, the First Order, the various stormtroopers, or Kylo himself.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:00 PM on December 29, 2019


Please, deal with what the thing actually is, instead of guzzling the hateraide.

Just to answer a few criticisms of the film (and note that I'm not trying to start a flamewar with any of you):


I had typed out a lengthier response trying to discuss plot points, but... nah. There's no debate to be had when you're accusing most of the people in this thread of "guzzling the hateraide".

I forgot to mention that Mom then asked "what about the red stormtroopers?" To which I was all, there are red ones? (She bought a red stormtrooper costume for my baby cousin.) I still haven't gotten an answer on what that's about.

Yeah, they are visible on screen for about 3 seconds when everyone is running around on top of the Star Destroyer breathing air in space. They're Sith Troopers I guess? Recoloring Stormtroopers/Clone troopers/R2s has been a marketing favorite since the prequels.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:06 PM on December 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


The red stormtroopers are Sith Troopers.
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Eh, its Nights of Ren, they’re just strippers from Tatooine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A few comments removed. If you're making jokes that people aren't getting are supposed to jokes, probably best to just retire that approach. More generally, if your argument is with a general dynamic in fandom, pointing that at fellow MeFites in a FanFare discussion feels like firing well off target and is also a pretty good thing to avoid.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:57 PM on December 29, 2019


The people manning the ships and pretty much everyone on Exegol are the Sith Eternal: 1, 2
posted by LostInUbe at 6:34 PM on December 29, 2019


Oh, they built the armada of Death Star Class Star Destroyers!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jenny Nicholson's 1-hour review: Oh No! The Rise of Skywalker was real bad :(
posted by cendawanita at 9:21 PM on December 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Eh, its Nights of Ren, they’re just strippers from Tatooine.

Oh no, they're hot
posted by polymodus at 11:16 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've seen movies that weren't so great, and I'll just shrug them off, but they disappointed Jenny Nicholson, and THIS MUST NOT STAND.
posted by MrBadExample at 11:41 PM on December 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Interesting bit in Vulture on Kelly Marie Tran's disappearance

Tl;dr - she was in a string of scenes at the base with CGI Leia, which were all too uncanny valley creepy in the end to use.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:09 AM on December 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


(sidebar who is Jenny Nicholson, apart from someone whose giant Porg I now envy furiously)
posted by ominous_paws at 12:20 AM on December 30, 2019


Tl;dr - she was in a string of scenes at the base with CGI Leia,

Sounds legit, tho it probably isn't helped that JJ helped a Lost pal out for his cameo and gave him her lines. 😬

Jenny N is a fandom youtuber basically. I really have no additional info other than she does funny reaction/review videos.
posted by cendawanita at 1:03 AM on December 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


has JJ Abrams never been to a desert before? What the fuck is it with him and quicksand?!

JJ is much of an age with me and other leading edge Gen X sorts. We all saw the same entertainment growing up, and it prepared us for a world where quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be in reality.

With a tiny nudge to another curiously frequent trope, we could have had two Star Wars movies where our heroes have to dodge falling baby grand pianos.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:53 AM on December 30, 2019 [17 favorites]


little known fact: in the first draft of rots, rey was originally going to defeat palpatine by offering him an exploding cigar
posted by entropicamericana at 6:32 AM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Tl;dr - she was in a string of scenes at the base with CGI Leia,

It just shows how dumb and creepy the whole idea was in the first place. No one wanted a re-animated Carrie Fisher awkwardly stuck into scenes that had been written around her lines from deleted scenes in TFA. They should have had the grace to let the character die offscreen before the movie started. Then maybe Poe would have been promoted to lead and his character arc would have been his struggles to rise to the moment and to atone for his screw-ups in the previous film.

That way Poe would have stayed behind as a the leader and Rose could have gone off on the fetch quest.
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on December 30, 2019 [15 favorites]


With a tiny nudge to another curiously frequent trope, we could have had two Star Wars movies where our heroes have to dodge falling baby grand pianos.

Holy CRAP do I ever want to see this trilogy
posted by potrzebie at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


With a tiny nudge to another curiously frequent trope, we could have had two Star Wars movies where our heroes have to dodge falling baby grand pianos.

One of them could have been Solo.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:24 AM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


There's more than a little Laurel & Hardy in C3P0 and R2-D2 so the falling piano stuff would have fit right in with them.
posted by octothorpe at 11:32 AM on December 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


(sidebar who is Jenny Nicholson, apart from someone whose giant Porg I now envy furiously)

The video detailing how she got that Porg home from Target is a cautionary tale for our times.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:01 PM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


OMG that porg video is the best star wars content I've seen all year (note: haven't watched The Mandalorian).
posted by dinty_moore at 12:14 PM on December 30, 2019


You should totally check out The Madalorian at some point!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:29 PM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


OMG that porg video is the best star wars content I've seen all year (note: haven't watched The Mandalorian).

She also has a video where she rates all the different porg merchandise based on cuteness, fluffiness, and overall porginess.
posted by Mchelly at 12:32 PM on December 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


update

Oh lol

Though, you know, not hard to believe both that it was a spurious excuse AND that whatever they'd done to poor Carrie Fisher was way too creepy to see light of day
posted by ominous_paws at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


To me, the Leia scenes were still off, nobody was really interacting with her despite trying pretty hard. They're all good actors, so I surprised they didn't quite pull it off.

Respect the effort and idea, but in retrospect it wasn't a good choice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:55 PM on December 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


"That army of dudes in robes wasn't just an unexplained nobody out of nowhere, they were the sith eternal."

click wookiepedia

scroll scroll scroll


>Appearances
> Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker (First appearance)

>Sources
> Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary (First identified as Sith Eternal)"


There's honestly more evidence in the movie itself for them being a bunch of cardboard cutouts that Sheev animated with the force as there is of a sith army, spooky robes division, existing.
posted by fomhar at 3:40 PM on December 30, 2019 [7 favorites]


I wonder, now that there aren't looming mainline Skywalker Star Wars movies on the horizon, is expanded universe Star Wars gonna go 90s-style convoluted nuts again? Because I am here for it.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:46 PM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


An interesting comment over on BMD by gogoschka-1, which I'll paste in full because I'm on mobile and I'm not sure if I got the linking correctly:

Grab your tinfoil hat and listen up, cause here's an internet conspiracy theory that for once doesn't seem entirely implausible: Already back in November and even October several internet commenters and bloggers cited sources inside Lucasfilm who claimed Abrams had to ditch his ideas mid-production and Iger essentially imposed a completely different film on him that had to be hastily put together in a gargantuan effort to make the release date before Christmas. To give some context: those same sources were also able to describe scenes of the movie in great detail months in advance, with all their descriptions turning out to be accurate once the film was released. I guess this makes them somewhat more credible in hindsight.

As per those sources, Abrams' film was too divisive among test audiences, and although Abrams' tried to explain to Bob Iger any SW film would be divisive at this point, Iger declared Episode IX just couldn't be, it was too important for the future of the IP. So entire plots and sub-plots were ditched and new ones introduced and several different cuts of the film put together (reportedly each coming with several different endings to make matters even more complicated) which were then tested and re-tested until a version emerged that satisfied Iger because it worked for the majority of test-audiences.

I normally don't pay much attention to the internet rumor mill, and I didn't know any of this when I watched Episode IX, but upon seeing it my immediate reaction was this must have been another Justice League or even Ayer's Suicide Squad or Trank's Fantastic 4 scenario. Like JJ or hate JJ - but Ep IX lacks any natural flow or rhythm; the editing/pacing is all over the place, and those things are decidedly not Abrams' weaknesses. More power to anyone who liked TROS, but this thing barely qualifies as a movie. Nobody will spill the beans about this mess anytime soon because there's too much at stake for everyone, but I expect eventually we'll hear about it.

(edit) some links: Matt Smith's Deleted Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Character… — disq.us
https://boundingintocomics....
https://boundingintocomics....
https://wegotthiscovered.co...
Rise of Skywalker Leaks Confirmed | Worse Than Last Jedi — disq.us
https://www.reddit.com/r/st...

posted by cendawanita at 6:36 PM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


RELEASE THE ABRAMS CUT, DISNEY!
posted by straight at 7:26 PM on December 30, 2019 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't go so far as to say that ROS was as bad as Suicide Squad but it does have a similarly disjointed feel of a movie that was edited by studio mandate into something far from what it had started out as.
posted by octothorpe at 7:58 PM on December 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also, they cut Matt Smith?
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 PM on December 30, 2019


Evidently, as I recalled the news of his casting.
posted by cendawanita at 8:05 PM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I didn't see this mentioned, so I'll just add: How stupid is it that there's a chip that anyone can put in their ship that lets them bypass all of the First Order's defenses? Didn't they foresee any problems with that? Also, if the chip is so hard to come by, and Keri Russell's character says it's the only way off the planet, how did she get off the planet before it exploded if she didn't have it anymore?
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 8:07 PM on December 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Palpatine coming back in this movie makes the most sense of any of its creative decisions, because at least it retcons the lazy and indefensible decision that started off this entire trilogy, namely, that the OG crew were all just incompetent and let everything go to shit again just so we can watch JJ Abrams remake A New Hope.

What was the point of any of this? The original trilogy is an enjoyable action adventure romp featuring fun archetypal characters. The prequel trilogy is a glorious trainwreck that gets more fascinating every time I rewatch it, that at least was trying to do something different with Star Wars. The Disney trilogy just remade the original one with less interesting characters and this last installment especially was straight-up multi-million dollar fanfic.

But hey, at least apparently Disney still hasn’t recouped its total investment (original purchase plus cost of new movies plus marketing) so lol I guess

I do know that I will never again pay to watch another JJ Abrams movie.
posted by Automocar at 8:13 PM on December 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Looks like my decision to skip this (preserving TLJ as an open-ended finale full of possibilities) and engaging with Abrams' petulant mess of a plot solely by skimming Wikipedia (just so all the negative reviews would make sense) was the right call. What a waste.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:33 PM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't go so far as to say that ROS was as bad as Suicide Squad but it does have a similarly disjointed feel of a movie that was edited by studio mandate into something far from what it had started out as.
Hey, at least Suicide Squad had Viola Davis.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:28 PM on December 30, 2019


I think this quote says it all on Kelly Marie Tran's omission:

"In that window, it seems that it never occurred to Abrams or Terrio that Tico’s Leia-dependent scenes would be a problem, nor did it seem to occur to them that Tico could have some scenes that didn’t heavily feature Leia."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:45 PM on December 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, if the chip is so hard to come by, and Keri Russell's character says it's the only way off the planet, how did she get off the planet before it exploded if she didn't have it anymore?

I don't think they said it was the only way off the planet so much as a first class ticket. "With this we could go anywhere we want..." A vital help if you're in a hurry and the First Order is looking for you, but not the only possible way for anyone who wanted to get out.
posted by straight at 11:01 PM on December 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


So according to cendawanita's rumours links, J. J. Abram's original edit had two baddies, Palpatine and another played by Matt Smith. After it did badly in test screenings, Disney chief Bob Iger insisted in major story changes being made at a very late stage in edit.

I'm inclined to believe it. Despite his weaknesses, I've never seen anything as sloppy in Abrams previous movies as having a surprise return of a baddie but revealing him at the start. But if the previous reveal scene involved a now-deleted Matt Smith, it makes sense that they would have to do the reveal cheaply in the opening crawl. Similarly the "I've got to tell you something" that never gets told is just so unprofessional that it has to be late editing.

The studio taking late control also fits what happened with Rogue One and Solo.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:47 AM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm inclined to believe it

If you dig deeper, some of those "leaks" claim JJ huddled up with George Lucas himself and came up with a story where the Son (one of the Mortis gods) was the main antagonist. That sounds like weapons-grade prequel-fan wishful thinking. I'd sooner believe JJ planned to have Ahsoka train Rey.
posted by The Tensor at 1:59 AM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


fwiw, JJ confirmed the Lucas consult (el oh el) during this movie's promo cycle, though we can only speculate the actual details. But I don't know who the heck is Mortis or his son (I was too poor growing up to do anything but borrow the EU novels when I can, and post-prequels I legit never cared for the non-movie stuff, so I genuinely have no clue).
posted by cendawanita at 2:05 AM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Mortis gods are a mystery-breaking Force explainy thing that should rile up fans as much as midichlorians but somehow don't. A rare misstep in the usually excellent Filoni shows imo.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:38 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looks like my decision to skip this (preserving TLJ as an open-ended finale full of possibilities) and engaging with Abrams' petulant mess of a plot solely by skimming Wikipedia (just so all the negative reviews would make sense) was the right call. What a waste.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:33 PM on December 31 [+] [!]


It seems so weird that you would think that saying that you won't see the movie has any relevance to a thread which is all about the movie. It's like voting, if you don't do it you don't get to have a say in it.

You're a great poster and I like most things I've read you say, but in this case I really believe you gotta see it before you criticise it, it's the law apparently.
posted by h00py at 5:52 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Finally saw TROS last night. I too have Some Feelings, but nothing that hasn't been said a dozen times upthread. What I came away with the most was: forget about releasing the cut Abrams originally wanted. How about releasing the cut where Ben force-magics Rey back into consciousness, she flutters her eyes open, the camera hangs for a few seconds on the two of them looking directly into each other's eyes for the first time... and then the credits roll. Ben doesn't evaporate into force-mist, we don't get the useless denouement of the Ewoks rocking the fuck out (why was there an exploding star destroyer in orbit around Endor, BTW?), we don't get the obvious setup for a Billy Dee Williams spinoff, and we don't get the lightsaber fetishism on Tatooine. Just cutting the last five minutes would remove 25% of the shitfuckery of this damned movie.
posted by Mayor West at 6:17 AM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ah hey, BMD just posted an article on how the sausage was made, which I found fair overall, and not just heated fan talk.
posted by cendawanita at 7:08 AM on December 31, 2019 [10 favorites]


"We can fix the dialogue in post." --J.J. Abrams, probably
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:25 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Mortis gods sound . . . not great.

I've been mulling over the film since we saw it. I still think it's largely fine for a Magical Space movie. I still think the plot problems with it are not worse than any other modern splashy sci-fi/action feature, which are almost always incomprehensible, rushed, and cheesy. I still think these movies largely sink or swim not based on plotting but because we are either moved--or not--by their character moments.

Still, Jenny Nichols' review brings up a lot of salient points about how this movie undermines its own themes. Actually, in a way, the prequels made this same mistake. The original trilogy was about our need for human connection and love, and how this--not the presence of fear or anger or some inherent "badness"--is what distinguishes a Jedi from a dark force user (we didn't have the word sith back then!), a good person from a bad person. It's not our fears but our choices, and we can choose to make better choices at any moment, even if we've made poor ones frequently. In the original movie, Vader is saved because of his human attachment to his son, and so when we see, in the prequels, human attachments like love positioned as bad for Jedi, it feels like a bizarre contradiction--and when we have Ben Solo and Rey end up ultimately dead or alone, it seems like we're weakening these themes even more. I mean, Rose Tico gave us these themes in the last movie: "We're going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love!"

If I were going to rewrite this trilogy of trilogies to be thematically coherent, first I'd rewrite the prequels to act in service of this, first and foremost, because we have a really muddy, shaky narrative base because of them even though some of the scaffolding is there for cromulent movies, with themes, and stuff. The Jedi order should not be huge and flourishing but rather dying a slow death due to their own restrictive rules about who can love who. Show them as well-intentioned, but corrupt. Maybe they are bringing in fewer and fewer padawans because you need to be recognized at birth as having a high midichlorian count--and those children are torn away from their parents and raised in isolation as force users and then expected to forgo romantic relationships because the Jedi are afraid that attachments like love are corrupting. Suggest that this helps them at diplomacy on a surface level but isolates them as human beings, causing them to lack empathy in their political dealings. I'd have Obi-wan encounter Anakin as an actual young adult, an actual war pilot during the clone wars, and Obi-wan realizes that he wasn't properly identified as a force user at a young age and, more, that he's more powerful in the force than even Obi-wan. Give them a friendship, maybe with Padme as a space princess who they both love. Have Yoda and co refuse to train Anakin, and so Anakin is trained truly in secret by Obi-wan. That way, when Anakin and Padme start to fall in love, they can have an argument about whether he's bound by the rules of the jedi or not, and more, whether Obi-wan's objections to their relationship are fear-based--is Obi-wan jealous?--or justified. The larger political machinations can work in a similar way to how they do in the prequels, with the emperor rising in the ranks, and tempting Anakin with the power to heal his dead mother. But instead of Anakin being a sniveling, whining creeper, let's show that he's kind of right about the Jedi. You can't understand justice without understanding love. The idea is corrupt, fundamentally. Make this a tragedy not just because of one boy, but because of the mistakes the Jedi are making, too.

(I would also probably not have his wife die of a broken heart, because that's stupid but also because her love for her children should count for something--parental love is as much a theme in these movies as romantic love, if not even more of a theme. She takes Leia into hiding, and should fight to take Luke, too, but Obi-wan convinces her that it's not safe for him, and it should be painful, because the Jedi have a habit of taking children from their families, and we need to doubt the wisdom of this--later, in the sequel trilogy, this is echoed with stormtroopers.)

So, like, that brings us to the sequels, and if we have a firm foundation to see the end of the previous Jedi order as the start of a reformation, what we need to bring our characters to is an understanding that "balance in the force" is a matter of synthesis of our positive and negative human emotions. In this trilogy as we have it aired, both Luke and Leia succumb to the same kind of mistakes that were made in the prequel trilogy. Fearing power. Fearing emotional connections to people. If anything, Ben's downfall lies mostly on the shoulders of Leia and Luke. Leia stops her Jedi training and pushes him off to Luke because she's scared she'll lose him. Luke fears his power and nearly murders him. Both of these things isolate him and allow Snoke/Palpatine to groom and manipulate him. This is in the movies already, and I get that no one wants to openly criticize Leia because of Carrie Fisher's death and because having Luke dwell on his mistakes in TLJ is unpopular, but it's thematically consistent. Luke's isolationism--his leaning into those sort of old school Jedi ideas that we don't need other people--and then his coming to realize that he does need to help people he cares about--that's a powerful, interesting idea for a big dumb popcorn movie.

I like Jenny Nichols' idea that Kylo needs to defect sooner. What if we didn't kill Snoke at the end of TLJ--what if he's about to send Kylo Ren off for the wayfinder, which is in the emperor's old throne room, and which is rumored to lead to a place of great sith power, and there's only one wayfinder and Ren knows that the resistance is chasing it down and that this is a way for him to find Rey? What if Ren kills Snoke then, and goes to intercept Rey and company on the moon of Endor--and they meet in the throne room and the wayfinder is already gone. They have their great ocean/wreckage battle there, and Rey is pissed and Ren is relenting, and Leia calls out to him, and he's stabbed, and then healed, much as we saw here. Rey runs off to Ahch-To and is consoled by Luke, who convinces her that she's not evil for having dark thoughts, that she needs other people, that he made a mistake in cloistering himself. He helps her leave, but she still has her doubts. She is a nobody, she's struggling with the darkness, maybe she blew up Chewie's ship in this version but we hold off for a lot longer on knowing whether he's alive. Is she as bad as Kylo Ren, really, with this kind of darkness inside her?

Meanwhile, we have Ben Solo either talking to Han (because it's one of the scenes that worked for me), or, better, Carrie Fisher is still alive (if I'm imagining a better universe, I'm imagining that) and Leia talks to Ben as a force ghost. And she admits that she made a mistake in pushing him away, that she loved him, she always did, that she should have trained him herself. We would have, like, mirroring, characters admitting mistakes, characters admitting they need each other. We could get some more, like, themes, of darkness being present in the light, as Ben Solo struggles to reintegrate with the crew, while we find out that Poe is a spice runner. But Ben is unsure if he's really redeemable, he's done such awful things. And meanwhile, even though Snoke is dead, the First Order is still mounting military attacks, but they don't know who is ordering them. Maybe Ben and co go to the London bombing planet and things are horrible and getting worse and there's a mass evacuation because the planet is going to be destroyed. I would still have Ben and Rey interact through the force, but now he's trying to convince her to join them, but she's scared--she thinks she needs to face and destroy this evil alone to atone for her mistakes. Maybe he still has a secret about her parentage. She doesn't want to hear it. She's scared. She's hiding something too.

And I'm taking a lot of this from Jenny's youtube, but here's what I think: I think if Rey needed to be a legacy character, she should have been a Kenobi. That Obi-wan found love for himself after the fall of the jedi order. And I think it's compelling, the idea that maybe Rey killed her parents as a small child in a moment of fear. What if we went with that? The trauma of it, the fear of being a Bad Person aligned with the Dark Side. That her parents were good, and she killed them.

And in my version, the big bad, when they get to it--it would be Hux. Like, hear me out. We don't need supernatural big bad. It doesn't even match with the themes of these movies, which is that the dark side is a temptation that always exists in all of us, but that the choices we make out of love are what saves us. Hux is a true believer in the First Order, rising in power, hates Kylo Ren. So he gets the wayfinder first, gets to a planet of Ancient Sith Evil, and there's no palpatine but there is a shadow arena of Sith, and there are weapons he can use to take over the universe, so we get a space battle. Rey gets there to confront him alone, and he's going to use some sith ritual to drain her life force, and we could have a line about how the dark side isn't just force lightning and cheating death, it's the fear and anger that exists in all of us. Like Obi-wan, who was weak and betrayed his vows, creating Rey's mother, creating Rey. Like Rey, who killed her parents in a moment of fear, and she lived in such denial that she believed for decades that they would return to her because she couldn't even face the terrible thing she'd done. Like Hux, who was jealous, who always wanted to be in Kylo Ren's place and will now take the sith throne as a user of the dark side, creating a new jedi order where the jedi can take over the galaxy. But first he needs her force powers, so Hux starts draining her life force, and Rey sacrifices herself to prevent it, killing both of them, and you see Ben, running through Exogol, and we can even let him give a big "No!" He's too late.

He gets to her. Hux is dead, but the knights of ren are closing in. We get echo of the "be with me" line that jenny nichols gives us, which is great, and that's when the force ghosts rally for Ben Solo, who needed his family, all this time, and they defeat the knights of ren, while Ben Solo heals her. While the space battle plays out overhead. And they're both greatly weakened, but they live.

Because the whole point of these movies is the redeeming power of love, how community and family are what saves us. How that is how we defeat the darkness.

We see these themes echoed in the space battle. Finn almost sacrificing himself, but being saved by his friends. A disregard for personal gain, a focus on martyrdom and love as a concept.

And then the ending would be a founding of a new Jedi order, Ben and Rey together, Finn with force powers, kissing Rose Tico, broom boy and a bunch of new padawan learners, but they have family now because they're being cared for in a way that they would not have been, in a society where children were stolen as slaves and stormtroopers. And the thing we need to establish here is that family is important--connections are important. They don't make us weak. They make us human. And so we could have a full fledged story over three trilogies, that with a high degree of personal cost, the jedi have learned not to be lonely old space wizards, or space monks. They've connected with their humanity. Maybe Rey does go bury the Jedi lightsabers--after all, Luke and Leia tried, but ultimately they failed, to bring the force into balance after Vader's sacrifice. When the old woman asks her what her last name is, she can look to her friends, including her romantic interest, and tell us that her last name doesn't matter. Her friends are waiting for her. And then she can show some humanity to this lonely old woman, some lovingkindness. She invites the old woman to join them, showing that the Jedi have come full circle, that they won't make the same mistakes again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:25 AM on December 31, 2019 [30 favorites]


But how does all that make new rides?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2019 [8 favorites]


Last two paragraphs, BMD article above:
Conspiracy theories abound regarding this film, but the truth is probably dumber and more well-meaning than angry fans love to hate to believe. Terrio’s post-release explanations have only aggravated matters, failing to adequately explain the film’s perceived slights against The Last Jedi and exposing some weird leaps in logic taken by the writers. All the backtracking and re-explaining is testament to the fanbase’s willingness to nitpick, but also to the messiness of a film pieced together like a mechanical puzzle, where emotion is a mere tool to advance the plot. Like an improv scene whose performers keep having to justify random offers, The Rise of Skywalker came out feeling written backwards, reverse-engineered from a laundry list of micro-level goals.

We all make bad decisions under pressure. We don’t all have billion-dollar movie franchises riding on them. I don’t presume to know the full story, nor to claim that I could have done a better job - films are made under the circumstances they're made under. But Lucasfilm would be wise to heed the lessons of this film and its surrounding trilogy. Stories will always play out most effectively with an ending in mind, but they have to come from the characters, and they have to be given adequate time to gestate. The Rise Of Skywalker's whiteboard bullet points might have hit their targets, but they also shot the movie full of holes.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:49 AM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


But how does all that make new rides?

oh, we still have the big pew pew space battle. that's the least consequential part of all of the new movies, anyway.

plus you get to build a jedi training academy at disney.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:05 AM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


But seriously, PhoBWanKenobi, thanks for the thought exercise, it does sound a lot better than what we got.

Though I'm still bothered by Rey accidentally kills parents' idea. Much like Ben Solo and Vader getting redemption after murdering millions or billions, the idea feels too weighty for SW. Not that redemption can't happen, but there are serious questions that can and should be looked at about how redemption occurs on those scales. Or just lower the states, so that maybe Rey could have saved her parents with her power, but didn't know how and there's guilt form that? Similarly, Ben and Anakin just being able to go forward with seemingly no repercussions from their bad deeds reads as wrong to me, though it might just be a personal thing.

Based on your idea, I would have liked to have seen more exploration of what family is and means, as opposed to romantic love. That would probably need a bad family example, so maybe Palpatine's son or daughter would play some role? I dunno, just random thoughts.

Plus there's the way SW was delivered to us, being out of order, so it might have been better if go linearly in a better world. Yes, one that has Carrie Fisher with us for much longer.

plus you get to build a jedi training academy at disney.

HOLY SHIT, is that a thing currently? If not, Disney should hire you, 'cause that's gold!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 AM on December 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


HOLY SHIT, is that a thing currently? If not, Disney should hire you, 'cause that's gold!

they do, like, a brief thing you can sign up your kids for (like a show where they dance around ineffectually with toy lightsabers) but i have wanted to walk through an actual jedi training academy since i was 12 and read some bad kevin j anderson novels how bout it disney

Not that redemption can't happen, but there are serious questions that can and should be looked at about how redemption occurs on those scales

Well, I think that a mistake an untrained tiny child makes even with disastrous consequences is not something they should be inherently viewed as irredeemable for. Kylo's dicier, but the EU novels tell us about how thoroughly Kylo was groomed, we see in the movies that he struggles with the light the whole time. I'm torn on it--like, I am no contact with an abusive parent and sometimes I think you can predict someone's terrible behavior and protect yourself while holding space for change. But I also struggled with violence and darkness myself as a young person before learning I could do better. I think with the right writer--not JJ, not Johnson, Rebecca Sugar, maybe?--they could have set it up in a way where we really believe it and it feels earned.

Or maybe Ben still dies but we see how loved and supported Rey is, anyway. She needs to not end these movies alone. That's the most important thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 AM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


but i have wanted to walk through an actual jedi training academy since i was 12

I not a huge Star Wars fan, but hell yeah, I'd be interested in this. NASA runs a space camp, which lets anyone from kids to adults "work" on simulated mission, I'd imagine a Disney Jedi Academy could do similar.

Man, that idea is solid gold.

Well, I think that a mistake an untrained tiny child makes even with disastrous consequences is not something they should be inherently viewed as irredeemable for.

Oh yeah, totally, probably just my own shit wondering if SW is the place to really do that storyline justice. But anything is possible. I just personally never really bought Kylo's redemption 'cause he killed Han Solo and the scope of these films just can't do the ramifications justice

One of the things I really liked about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that she was so good and longer-lived than other Slayers because she had a circle of friends to lean on and help her. These later trilogies should have definitely played up that idea more, it gives the audience a lot of buy-in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:39 AM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


I just personally never really bought Kylo's redemption 'cause he killed Han Solo and the scope of these films just can't do the ramifications justice

Yeah, i mean, agreed that these films can't really tackle that. But, hmm. We already have a lot of theming about Christ-like martyrdom and sacrifice. Thinking about, like, Christian debates about Judas and whether he can be held accountable for killing the big J if it was what had to happen. I'm not Christian, but I think we could poach some of those arguments. What if Han Solo, in his pep talk to Ben, said something like, "I knew you were going to kill me that day. I knew, but I wasn't afraid. I had to ask you to come back with me. Your mother loved you, and I loved her--love her, still." Then we get a line from Ben saying something like, "You loved us? You left us. I hated you for it. You never loved us--" and then memory Han says, "No, I loved you. I always did. I ran away because I was afraid, but I'm here now, with you. In your memory. You know I never stopped loving you, Ben. And now you know what you need to do."

Like, let's directly grapple with these ideas of martyrdom and predetermination head on, because it could be powerful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:53 AM on December 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


So, I just read that it's been established via the comics that Ben *didn't* kill his classmates and burn down Luke's temple after all? Like, isn't that something that ought to have been in the freaking movie where he gets his redemption arc?!? Ghost Luke leaves that off the list of things he was wrong about?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:31 AM on December 31, 2019


It seems so weird that you would think that saying that you won't see the movie has any relevance to a thread which is all about the movie. It's like voting, if you don't do it you don't get to have a say in it.

I've spoken with several people who have said similar things, it's part of the discourse surrounding the film. It's notable that people who have nominally enjoyed the series in the past aren't tempted by it now.
posted by StarkRoads at 11:15 AM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


I really liked Nicholson's take, and there's a lot in it that really resonated with me. But one thing she brought up that hadn't even occurred to me, was Kylo Ren's (non) reaction to Rey's blowing up the carrier and screaming out for Chewy as it went down. Because Ren had to have not only known but largely grew up with Chewy as a major presence in his life. He could have loved him, or hated him, but it's hard to believe he would be so indifferent to his death as if it was happening to a stranger. I know he was also just as indifferent to the lives of however many hundreds of people were also on the carrier, but that's still a really unthinking choice.
posted by Mchelly at 11:59 AM on December 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


I know he was also just as indifferent to the lives of however many hundreds of people were also on the carrier, but that's still a really unthinking choice.

Huh, cause I've been citing Adam Driver's reaction to that as an example of nuanced acting in an un-nuanced film. It's a brief shot but he definitely is having Feelings in that moment, I think.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:03 PM on December 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hmm, could be -- I only saw it once and I might have been swayed by Nicholson's take since I didn't have a clear memory... but I'm pretty sure I'll wait till it's streaming somewhere before finding out.
posted by Mchelly at 12:38 PM on December 31, 2019


I like Jenny Nichols' idea that Kylo needs to defect sooner.

The whole previous film is him trying to convert her and it would have been great if this one had flipped it and had her try and finally succeed to convert him. They could have made lemonade out of Fisher's absence by having her death jolt him into questioning his choices in the first act; joining Rey in the second and then both of them defeating the First Order in the third. I mean I'm just throwing ideas out there but there are hundreds of possible plots that would have been more suspenseful and had better character arcs than the one we got.
posted by octothorpe at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Huh, cause I've been citing Adam Driver's reaction to that as an example of nuanced acting in an un-nuanced film. It's a brief shot but he definitely is having Feelings in that moment, I think.

Interesting, I took it more as Kylo having thoughts about this sudden expansion of Rey's powers. But I definitely like your take better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]






‘Star Wars’ Box Office: ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ Won’t Top ‘Last Jedi’

But will Disney (read: Bob Iger) draw the correct conclusions from this? I'm going with no. I just hope that this at least means Johnson will actually get his SW trilogy.

I'm not going to go through my reactions to this film in detail, but the FCH and Jeannette Ng pieces linked above pretty well express how I feel about it. I'm mostly just disappointed.

A few years ago I would have laughed at someone who told me that in 2019 Damon Lindelof would make one of the best pieces of genre media in existence while JJ Abrams tanked one of the greatest genre franchises, or that a Star Wars TV show would be a far superior experience to the last Skywalker movie.

Happy new year, all.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:09 AM on January 1, 2020 [5 favorites]


@RussellLatshaw: It hasn't even been two weeks and the film's key creatives are locked in a desperate battle to throw each other under the bus. - referring to this IGN headline: Palpatine's Return Was Apparently Kathleen Kennedy's Idea

Oh and Boyega was on Twitter/IG finally unfurling his anti-reylo flag

Imagine if we had socmed during the prequels.... #quigonntruther
posted by cendawanita at 10:10 AM on January 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Boyega is right, I just can't with people wanting Rey to get with the genocidal fascist warlord incel.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:26 AM on January 1, 2020 [9 favorites]


But will Disney (read: Bob Iger) draw the correct conclusions from this? I'm going with no.

Will any of Hollywood? Franchises are exceptionally hard, especially ones that are more than reiterating the same formula (e.g. Fast and the Furious). Cameron is currently salivating over the prospect of nine or whatever Avatar films within that wonderful toy landscape of uh... Navaari? Maybe if he launches a 500 million dollar failure, then people may finally take notice and stop chasing the MCU dream. The MCU, for all its many faults, seems unique in being able to successfully plan and execute one of these things, and now its main cycle is done, and fatigue seems to be increasing. Unfortunately there's so much residual good will towards Star Wars that even diminishing billion dollar returns, Solo flopping, and interest lagging in merch and "experiences" won't dissuade Disney from continuing to take their shots.
posted by codacorolla at 11:18 AM on January 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Ok, gotta get this out a bit more. Thinking about the kiss just makes me more upset every time I think about it. Rey could have been an all-time great character and aspirational figure, and instead ends as someone willing to overlook genocide because she's got the hots for a bad dude. I was looking forward to showing my daughter these movies in a few years. Now, not so much.

Of course, this fits right in with Disney Star Wars merchandising - in the store the other day I saw toddler pajamas with First Order aesthetics and "Join the Dark Side" printed on them.
posted by Gaz Errant at 2:27 PM on January 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Imaginary Worlds podcast had an episode on redemption, released just before this movie came out (so they speculate some about Kylo but don't know anything.)

One of the people they interview says they hate the Vader "redemption" example, since he basically doesn't do anything to come to terms with what he's done. He helps his biological son for a few minutes at the end. I have to agree with this--the story in the original trilogy really makes emotional sense only from Luke's point of view. How do you combat someone that evil without giving in to hatred? Retconned as an Annakin redemption story it's empty.

I was curious about how they'd handle Kylo, and him dying immediately after performing a single good act is narratively convenient and is again really the only option but means it's throwaway theme as well that they can't do anything interesting with. I'd say it's even shallower than the ROTJ but Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley bring a lot more to their conflicts than the actors could in the first trilogy.er Still, I wish they'd tried an original plotline instead of a remake.
posted by mark k at 2:42 PM on January 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


I rewatched TFA with my son and I'm rewatching (present tense) TLJ before I take him to TROS. Watching those two movies back to back really brings out for me the beats that were set up, the ones that were discarded...

In TLJ, Kylo says "Let the past die - kill it if need be" - and that was the movie's thrust, a deliberate break from the past. "This is not going to go the way you think it is." The Force is all about balance? Ok, so if a child of Force royalty turns to the dark side, a champion of the light will arise from nothing and nowhere. And - if one, why not more? Maybe there are force-sensitive stablehands all over the galaxy, just waiting for the right spark.

But that's not the movie arc JJ was intending, was it? If the Force is all about balance, a child of the light side turning to the dark must be balanced by the grandchild of the dark side championing the light. And given his beat-for-beat homage to ANH in TFA, and to ROTJ in TROS, he clearly intended the middle volume to parallel ESB - Rey would encounter an "I am your father" moment. That's why TROS feels so rushed - JJ (or whoever) is fixing the continuity and getting things patched up before they can continue the intended arc. If things had gone according to JJ's vision, the Palpatine reveal would have been at the end of the middle volume, not halfway through the third. (I still think that's a hot mess of a story. But at least it was a coherent story, right?)

So - what a mess. The biggest failure here, I think, is on the part of Disney management. They should have demanded and decided on a full story arc, before they started filming any of the movies. Or they should have trusted JJ and stuck with him as director for all three installments, instead of flailing around with story edits and changes. The way they went makes all the rabid fans unhappy. "Tell us that we have a plan!" Poe screams in frustration at Holdo, and I really really agree with him.

On the other hand, Disney is laughing all the way to the bank, and I'm paying to watch it a second time in a couple of days, so.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:45 PM on January 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


In that, we can attribute to the insistence to the punishing schedule of a movie every other year. Neither of the directors discussed here wanted the stress and time sink - Abrams didn't want to do the full three apparently, and Kennedy et al did approach Johnson about doing 2&3 (probably after how well and smooth the TLJ shoot was - they had a full year+ of prep based on a complete script) but that was such a time commitment to a story that's not fully his. I'm speculating on the story ownership part because he did agree to his own trilogy (though if it's true Iger didn't care for TLJ, I fully expect for it to quietly die, unless of course there's real world $ consequences with TROS then that conversation will be kept alive for as long as the pro-Johson ppl are around).

It begs the question of how uncertain the Trevorow script/story concept/production prep must be that he was removed (though he still got story credit), leading to this cascade of events. That Johnson wasn't even more involved at least in thrashing out the story in that short turnaround time also feels off to me (it's not like he swore off Lucasfilm/Disney, there's still that trilogy etc), because with Carrie Fisher's death as well, this was an all-hands situation.
posted by cendawanita at 4:30 PM on January 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


In that, we can attribute to the insistence to the punishing schedule of a movie every other year.

Marvel puts out 2-3 movies a year and has done so for years, so Disney has zero excuses. The MCU's planning isn't perfect, damn if they haven't gotten the greater arc thing down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:54 PM on January 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


I agree but we're not talking about the quite the exact thing - MCU (with the notable exception of the IW/Endgame two-fer) does that with different titles, so the production cycle is different. To be more accurate we should compare with in-title sequels and trilogies. The turnaround time is a lot more forgiving per each creative team.

Disney thought they could shorten the cycle with the non-saga movies coming out in the 'rest' years eg Solo, Rogue One. Turns out it didn't benefit anyone. Yearly SW movies of middling quality leads to audience fatigue, while the main trilogy burns out trying to make their alloted debut.
posted by cendawanita at 5:03 PM on January 1, 2020 [4 favorites]


There may be a certain amount of audience fatigue, but I think there is also waning interest in the younger generations. My son wasn’t interested in seeing this movie and told me none of the kids at school care about Star Wars. That’s my sample size of one, but kids have a ton of competition for their attention nowadays.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:29 PM on January 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


To add to Fleebnork's point: We were shopping today and I heard a young lad ask, "Who's George Lucas?"

Not a question I'd ever considered would need to be asked, but I also was the exact target audience when Star Wars came out.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:39 PM on January 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Which is why it's a bigger imperative to be a good story than just leaning on nostalgia. Like, to go back to MCU, who would've imagined Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy would be a hit outside the commited comics fans?
posted by cendawanita at 5:40 PM on January 1, 2020 [10 favorites]


At some point, I had decided I wasn't going to be worried about spoilers, nor was I going to rush to see the movie. So I've been reading this thread and went to the movie tonight with expectations lowered probably to about the exact right point. I enjoyed myself, in that I wasn't checking my watch, but there was never any moments of wonder that the previous films have given me (even some of the prequels, although I don't remember them nearly as well.) Sometimes even a bad movie can be redeemed for me with just one moment of connection that I make with it, and it maybe says a lot that even though I wanted several things that this movie gave me, I never really got that moment of connection.

I had not been worrying about Leia in this movie because I believed they actually had enough material to actually build a plotline. They didn't, and as soon as they realized they didn't, they should have changed their plans.

Finn not leading a stormtrooper rebellion is so goofy that I can't actually wrap my head around why they just let that awesome plot idea go unused.

Oscar Issac, like only a handful of other actors and actresses, has chemistry with pretty much everything and everyone. His storyline was a relief after I really loathed how he was written in the previous movie (he straight-up mutinied!? And even there I was like, "Leia took you to bed at some point, didn't she? Good for her.")

The sixteen hour business was stupid, and unnecessary.

I am happy with how Rey and Ben's storyline played out, in general. I'd have preferred he live. One of the best parts of the movie was continuing the tension between them that TLJ set up so well. I guess at heart I'm a shipper, which shocks me because I didn't have any Adam Driver context before this besides clips of Girls where I think he had a terrible mustache?

Finally, writing out Rose was just shameful. I don't know if they stuck her in a Leia plot that didn't work, or what, but it was jarring to see her in the background not doing anything.
posted by PussKillian at 8:03 PM on January 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


We're living in the world steeped in forty years of Star Wars. The problem with the sequel trilogy is that at its core it's nothing original. Four decades of sci-fi, fantasy, action adventure, and perhaps even more genres have been shaped by the original monster blockbusters that the trilogy embodied. The new movies don't offer anything new that you couldn't get from say the MCU, or say Harry Potter, or any other modern day space opera, even some throwaway video game where the baddies are masked Space Nazis or there's dashing outlaws in outer space.

So yeah, you talk to a kid growing up today in a future where nerd nostalgia consumerism has swallowed pop culture, and what does the sequel trilogy really offer them that almost every other piece of fiction already does? It doesn't create stunning new sci-fi backdrops (how many times is Abrams going to recycle Tatooine), its war is mostly unexplained and of genre convention, and its characters are fairly stock. Even the visuals are relatively unimpressive- the novelty of Ralph McQuarrie just isn't there any longer. The monomyth is a victim of its own success.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:04 PM on January 1, 2020 [7 favorites]


Yeah I think having a good story is imperative, or your movie just fades into the background noise.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:26 AM on January 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


I saw the film a few days ago and I am still bothered by how bad it was from a storytelling perspective. Even the action scenes seemed badly edited, like the film was rushed to theaters before it was fully baked.

I wrote a long rant about it which I won't inflict on you except to ask why is the film called The Rise of Skywalker?

The Skywalker line is completely ended with Kylo's death. Rey declares herself a Skywalker at the end but this is a) a lie and b) nothing to be proud of. Between Anakin turning evil and Luke screwing Kylo's (his nephew) training, the Skywakers have been directly responsible for subjugating half the galaxy and blowing up the rest.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:02 AM on January 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


Finn not leading a stormtrooper rebellion is so goofy that I can't actually wrap my head around why they just let that awesome plot idea go unused.

I love this! It could even have been the basis for the entire movie, and certainly would have made for a better surprising-additional-forces-arrive-on-the-scene-to-save-the-day ending than having Lando something-something fighters from all over the galaxy.
posted by Mchelly at 8:19 AM on January 2, 2020 [9 favorites]


I think that this is what my final dissastisfaction with this movie comes down to - it wasn't a star wars movie for a new generation of fans. All of those fan-favorite moments were callbacks to the original trilogy, not the first two movies. It treated the trilogy it was in as the lesser work. Finn and Poe didn't get their arcs because they were ultimately deemed not that important.

I've only been half paying attention to this thread because ultimately I don't think that RoS deserves this much thought and discussion (and believe me, it takes a lot for me to come to that conclusion), but that's what I keep on coming back to - who this movie considers a fan and who isn't. What this movie thinks is important about the last nine movie, and who the audience is.

At least we have porgs (I really liked the visuals and character designs of 7 and 8, The Last Jedi especially)
posted by dinty_moore at 9:08 AM on January 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


> Rey declares herself a Skywalker at the end but this is a) a lie

Chosen family, not biological family.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 AM on January 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


The Skywalker line is completely ended with Kylo's death. Rey declares herself a Skywalker at the end but this is a) a lie and b) nothing to be proud of. Between Anakin turning evil and Luke screwing Kylo's (his nephew) training, the Skywakers have been directly responsible for subjugating half the galaxy and blowing up the rest.

It also makes no sense, as Rey only spent a couple of days with Luke, she spent the past YEAR of elapsed time before this movie with Leia. Leia Organa Solo, not Skywalker.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:05 AM on January 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


Leia Organa Solo, not Skywalker.

But if you buy into the Star Wars destiny/chosen force user thing then it matters more that Leia was born a Skywalker. Plus, wasn't Leia separated/divorced from Han? I forget.

I can see the thematic point they were going for but, like the whole film, a bit ham-fisted.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 10:12 AM on January 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


This video goes into more detail as to why it makes no sense for Rey to have chosen "Skywalker" except for cheap nostalgia with the audience.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:14 AM on January 2, 2020


surprised they didn't get for maximum hacktitude by writing it thusly:

Tatooine Elder: What's your name?
Rey: Rey.
Tatooine Elder: Rey what? Who are your people?
Rey: I don't have people. I'm alone.
Tatooine Elder: 'Rey... Solo.'
[Rey and the Elder turn to look the camera, iris out, John Williams arrangement of "Yakety Sax" plays over credits]
posted by entropicamericana at 10:39 AM on January 2, 2020 [28 favorites]


This video goes into more detail as to why it makes no sense for Rey to have chosen "Skywalker" except for cheap nostalgia with the audience.

Interesting, I guess I can see why Organa/Solo probably makes more sense in-universe but I think would have faced a fairly big issue with casual audience members used to seeing "Luke Skywalker" + "Princess Leia" as siblings and not really hearing Leia's last name that much (that I recall)?

Either way, I think if they were going to go for the chosen family thing* at the end they really needed to have laid the groundwork in the films previously, but that would have required an overall direction the lack of which is at the root of all the new trilogy's problems...

*Which I thought was quite a nice idea.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 10:42 AM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


This thread is waaay to long for me to review, so forgive me if I repeat an observation or two.

1. The resurrected Palpatine is literally a marionette.
2. When the Improbable Fleet is warping in, a voice shrieks “They’re everywhere.” I was not expecting to hear a Marathon fanservice clip, but here we are. One hopes for a Marathon / Durandal SW film as one of the infinite forthcoming annual SW films.
3. If frame-by-frame analysis of the Improbable Fleet does not reveal a JJ-verse NCC-1701, eat my hat I will.
4. Was that Cloud City? Why? Is it a spaceship?
5. Presumably covered upthread, but I guess film-universe sources are denying the Anakin-Palpatine geneaology thing
6. Gawd, that fucking dagger-protractor thing. My wife was among the viewership that did not even understand the single rapidfire shot of it matching the profile of the wreckage.
7. Oh come now, the Endorian Holocaust definitely happened
posted by mwhybark at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


PS. My wife is the Star Wars head in our household, not me. When the film gave us the short Jedi training bit with digiLuke and digiLeia, she turned to me and asked, “When did that happen? Was it in another movie?” I could only shrug, I’m not the expert here.
posted by mwhybark at 11:30 AM on January 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


(we didn't have the word sith back then!)

"Dark Lord of the Sith" has always been one of Vader's titles from the very beginning and appears in the 1976 novelization as well as other errata of the era, but I think the concept of the Sith being an organization diametrically opposed to the Jedi wasn't formally established until the prequels.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:44 PM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Boyega is right, I just can't with people wanting Rey to get with the genocidal fascist warlord incel.
This is why the movie failed in its attempt to undo all of TLJ's big ideas. Luke was right about the Jedi being terrible, and Rey demonstrates it here by not caring about all the non-Jedi nobodies that Kylo murdered. Seemed totally in character.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:40 PM on January 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


Also, filksters, re: “Kettle of Snoke,” a bon mot above too deep to be easily link’t in iOS.

Have at it.

(fuxake, the Google results archaeology I went t’ru ter get a proper site link, give us a drink)
posted by mwhybark at 2:33 PM on January 2, 2020


I definitely have all the wrong instincts as a Star Wars fan*, because I'd be perfectly happy if they turned to camera and gave a five-minute lecture about how wonderful Bail Organa and Alderaan were so we all accept that Organa would be the best name to randomly, unnecessarily adopt if you wanted to honor a legacy of being brave enough to help others.

*How wrong are these instincts? Well, I rewatched The Last Jedi and found that I really don't mind spending a third of the film in Canto Bight; it's much less of a momentum suck when you already know the ending.
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:40 PM on January 2, 2020 [6 favorites]


i mostly liked the film. it was fun! also, Rey is awesome.
posted by numaner at 3:07 PM on January 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


I think somewhere along the way we've let the expanded universe which are now "legends" and all the fanfiction perpetuate this idea that this world that Lucas started was well-thought-out at all. The early movies were way simpler than the current ones, and when Disney cut off so much EU to preserve a more unified "canon", it was kind of the right call to keep all these lores from conflicting and letting loose some universe that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense with so many details under scrutiny. That is, Disney understands that this is a fantasy, and you can't start nitpicking a fantasy if you want to retain any sort of imagination about it.

I was disappointed at the things that are more culture/production/Hollywood specific than character/plot related. I lamented how diminished Rose's role was, which might be plot related, but it didn't make sense that they kept her at the base when she was so good on adventures in the last one. I'm chalking that up to disappointing fanservice (see: all the fanboys crying about a woman of color being front and center) as well as studio decisions (Hollywood is known for cutting down on Asian actor's screen time for budget reason).
posted by numaner at 3:30 PM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Seems like they didn't really learn there lesson after Solo, because a lot of complaints are the same: major female character gets uncomfortably sidelined, another female character you were expecting to have a bigger part is barely onscreen and then dies, going out of the way to patch up complaints about the original trilogy, a bunch of fan-servicy references, ham-fisted last name reveals, and a Sith Lord last seen falling down a deep shaft to their apparent death is actually alive somehow and has been pulling the strings the whole time.
posted by ckape at 5:10 PM on January 2, 2020 [6 favorites]


The problem is, even if you ignore the extraneous stuff from the EU, you still have to connect a sequel trilogy to the previous movies. Abrams and Johnson basically ignored all of the setting that came before- the New Republic that the classic heroes fought so hard to create was basically undone by writer fiat and yet another superweapon, and the Force acts differently now too. But they can't ignore the legacy characters, so they have been struggling with how to incorporate them all trilogy, including Carrie Fisher's passing on. Lucas had the freedom to make it up as he went along, until the prequels, and these sequels are even more hamstrung. Fans were always speculating about Rey's parents, coming up with half-serious theories that Jar Jar was behind it all, guessing how this development is connected to something from the original movies or EU. You're never going to break free of that legacy unless you have a clean reboot.

But this movie heralds a brave new era for this series. Finally the Skywalkers are no more. Finally Star Wars can be free to tell new tales.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:12 PM on January 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


This is a very full movie, in terms of having too much going on - plot moments happen and are gone in seconds (for example - Hux is the spy! This could be interesting in terms of showing that people inside an authoritarian structure might work against it even for selfish reasons - oh wait, he’s dead). We’re talking about it over dinner after just watching it and there are plot points being mentioned that some of us legitimately forgot about until someone brings them up.

On another front, the movie takes a couple of moments to make it clear that the First Order “recruits” (harvests is the actual word) children to make up the people on the ships and the ranks of stormtroopers. It reminds us that Finn was one of them, along with his new group of friends...and then everybody goes and blows up shiploads of them and celebrates.

Anyways. I have seen this movie.
posted by nubs at 6:02 PM on January 2, 2020 [6 favorites]


Finn not leading a stormtrooper rebellion is so goofy that I can't actually wrap my head around why they just let that awesome plot idea go unused.

I love this!


Boyega was a leader of 'rebel scum' in Attack the Block, so you know he was cast to be 1) the lead 2) head of the stormtrooper rebellion. None of the writers followed through on the casting, and Finn got shoved out of the limelight by the second movie. I mean, I like the canto bight scene, but imagine it had been a scene of Finn infiltrating First Order recruiters. Sets up the fight with Phasma a lot better...

Or imagine Finn as a Harriet Tubman type, organizing the resistance equivalent of the Combahee Raid. Writes itself
posted by eustatic at 6:21 PM on January 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


I mean, I can fanwank reasons for Rey taking the Skywalker name, but none of them have the emotional resonance necessary to justify it being the name of the movie.
>
(The best one I can come up with is that the locals are more likely to be OK with her taking over the farm if they think she's related to one of the last known occupants, but that's about as pedestrian as reasons come. Still, my headcanon is that she's going to metaphorically turn her sword into a ploughshare and farm moisture until trouble comes a-lookin' for her again. I have a soft spot for space hicks.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:32 PM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Saw this a week or so ago (it just took me a while to get through this thread!) and thought it was a fun ride. I dug it. Lots of eye candy. Didn't care much for the eye-rolling kiss near the end, but it's a Hollywood blockbuster. They're pretty much all trite like that in my experience, so I just roll with it; I know what I'm paying for. And that's why they sell booze at the cinema—to get you through the rough parts.

Still, I choose to believe that Rey poisoned him with that kiss so he'd stop stalking her. It works better for me that way.
posted by heyho at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


None of the writers followed through on the casting, and Finn got shoved out of the limelight by the second movie.

That's extremely not what I took from TLJ, which built on the TFA setup for Finn. That was the point of the Canto Bight storyline, and the whole him reclaiming the 'scum' epithet Phasma spat at him, into 'rebel scum'. That was the climax for his fleeing the Order, and then to the final lesson exemplified by Rose, that he needs to also overcome that 'trooper thinking and think he's expendable.

Johnson handed the tee-off just fine. It's not his fault Abrams, Terrio and apparently Iger wasn't interested by that plotline in so far as they only saw it as the 'Rose Tico' thing.
posted by cendawanita at 6:56 PM on January 2, 2020 [8 favorites]


They're pretty much all trite like that in my experience

Some of them have a story that makes sense, with whole character arcs and everything.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:08 PM on January 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


7. Oh come now, the Endorian Holocaust definitely happened

The quest to the DS2 wreckage (along with several other sub-subplots) struck me as worthy of a whole movie in its own right. If JJ hadn't decided to shoehorn two trilogies worth of story into one movie, this one could have led up to an awesome, Wrath of Khan-style, "THIS is the Forest Moon of Endor!" reveal.
posted by The Tensor at 7:59 PM on January 2, 2020 [5 favorites]


"Dark Lord of the Sith" has always been one of Vader's titles from the very beginning and appears in the 1976 novelization as well as other errata of the era, but I think the concept of the Sith being an organization diametrically opposed to the Jedi wasn't formally established until the prequels.

Yes, I have this book. It's bad and very few people have read it!

Strange, come to think of it, that "whills" never passed into movie canon.

I ended up posting a version of my rewrite to medium and then boosting it as a facebook post for new years-resolution related reasons, forgetting what people who say they like "star wars" are like. I don't precisely regret it, but I've gotten a bunch of dudes (almost entirely dudes) ungrammatically cursing at me for saying I fixed Star Wars. It's interesting, in an anthropological way. They're mad both in that I liked Star Wars and that I didn't like it enough. They're mad at Rian Johnson for "castrating" Star Wars and at JJ Abrams for "not having new ideas." Overwhelmingly, what they want is to "bring back George Lucas." I am baffled by this. They believe the prequels are good movies! The sequels certainly are obligatory but they're not bad the way the Phantom Menace was bad.

Here for Storm Trooper rebellion. Was talking to my husband, who cares more about space battles than I do, and we decided that in our version, Exogol is home to a stormtrooper clone army that has been frozen in carbonite and that's why our big bad Hux needs to go there. A land battle between clone troopers (sure, call em "sith troopers" and dress them in red) and liberated stormtroopers fighting for the resistance would be pretty cool.

The monomyth is a victim of its own success.

Agree with this and I also think it's relevant to audience reactions to movies. Johnson paced his movie more like a 70s-era Star Wars movie and at this point, viewers are so spoiled by Blake Snyder-style plotting (which says we need to have, like, the hero resisting the call on page 3 or whatever or else a movie is bad) that we don't have patience for anything else.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:44 AM on January 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


I definitely remember "Dark Lord of the Sith" from publicity materials when I was a kid (I *feel* like I've been making my "Cesare Borgia was the dark lord of the syph" joke for decades).

As far as mythpoetic storytelling goes, I felt like TLJ was super-Arthurian, as well as continuing the Christlike radical love & sacrifice motif from ROTJ.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:38 AM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


I definitely remember "Dark Lord of the Sith" from publicity materials when I was a kid (I *feel* like I've been making my "Cesare Borgia was the dark lord of the syph" joke for decades).

Yeah, but these weren't in the movies until the prequels and so could have been subject to change. At least that's what I remember about canon before the prequels/TFA--anything outside the movies was canon until/unless the movies contradicted them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:17 AM on January 3, 2020


"Dark Lord of the Sith" definitely appeared in the photonovel of Star Wars I read as a kid.
posted by ckape at 7:17 AM on January 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Y'all, I'm telling you, I wrote and read a lot of fanfic and EU stuff and before Phantom Menace the term Dark Jedi was considered equally canon because Sith was largely undefined and nothing was considered 100% canon until it appeared in the movies. Back then, people thought that maybe Yoda was a "Whill" because that was another word that appeared in Star Wars books. It was a wild time.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:30 AM on January 3, 2020 [5 favorites]


Okay, but imagine Baze and Chirrut being the guardians of like a dozen baby yodas and tell me that's not the best thing ever
posted by dinty_moore at 7:39 AM on January 3, 2020 [13 favorites]


From the level of context given in the original materials, The Sith could have just as easily been a place as an organization, and I do remember some speculation about what it actually was back in the '90s
posted by ckape at 8:00 AM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


Knights of Ren cover art -- I thought the KOR group shots were just calling out to be turned into metal band cover art, so I did (somewhat hastily -- I thought it would be a quick thing, but I got twitchy about it and put more time than I had anticipated).

I'm now tempted to "remaster" these images once better stills come out.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:15 AM on January 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


Yasss, let the snarkiness flow through you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on January 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


MarchHare: Jesus I'm just so glad it's over and that I have no intention of introducing my toddlers to Star Wars. They can have their own generation's myths, like, I dunno, bees and icebergs.

I hate to burst this grim-glorious bubble, but the Star Wars empire is as broad as the Marvel empire, and those mythic universes are now our collective pop culture myths. And with both under the umbrella of the Mouse, the house of eternal copyrights and trademarks, these aren't going away any time soon.


fomhar: Imagine a version of this movie where Poe or Rose or stormtrooper lady end up on the ground, listening to Sheev talk about how "If a jedi kills me I possess you lol!" and thinks "hey I'm not a jedi!" and the character who actually did come up from nothing snipes the emporer while he's distracted.

So earlier I said I was looking forward to fan-editors working with the glut of new material. But then I realized ... what about deep-edits? Deepfakes + fanedits = deep-edits, where fans insert characters and dialog as they see fit. I just made this up name, but it's already happening. If you can type, you can now create a convincing deepfake. Watch Deepfake AI change a famous "Apocalypse Now" quote to include a favorite breakfast food. (Futurism.com, June 7, 2019).

See also: Shrek does a good job at the dog show, Mike Wazowski rides a pony, and more weird edits from chanbanhi on twitter (MetaFilter, November 1, 2019).

Some years back, Wired had a short future-vision article, where a writer imagined a point when a kid could be watching a movie, but changes the main character from a person into a talking dog mid-movie, modifying elements in real-time. We're just about there.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:55 PM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


curious nu: Watching C3PO get essentially bullied/ordered into suicide because I guess these people don't see droids as people was super, super fucked up.

Interesting counter-point: in another recent Star Wars video product (not named to avoid cross-media spoilers in a recent product), a droid sacrifices itself with the justification that it was never alive, and exists to only serve a purpose. The people around the droid try to convince the droid otherwise, but the droid sees its duty to protect others above all else, so it's not just a bot throwing itself away.


Construction Concern: Are black people aliens who all know each other?

SNL had the same question in the sketch Lando's Summit (2018, after Donald Glover was a young Lando in Solo).


Construction Concern: Aside from alien burning man, few tastes of exotic lands or peoples.

Surely that was Holi (Wikipedia), which felt super weird to me, seeming to turn Indian people into strange aliens with an odd language -- at least they're welcoming aliens! -_-

Fun fact: In 2016, Star Wars recognized the holiday:
The Star Wars has wished its Indian fans on the occassion of Holi, the festival of colours. The epic space fantasy shared the greetings on its official Facebook page. The post featured a photo of Stormtroopers with colours splashed on them and the post read, "Celebrating the most colorful festival in the galaxy today. ‪#‎HappyHoli"
So, that's a thing that happened. Not sure if it's canonical. (Sorry, dumb joke.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


Interesting counter-point: in another recent Star Wars video product (not named to avoid cross-media spoilers in a recent product), a droid sacrifices itself with the justification that it was never alive, and exists to only serve a purpose. The people around the droid try to convince the droid otherwise, but the droid sees its duty to protect others above all else, so it's not just a bot throwing itself away.

That same media property had a character blow the head off of a service droid that's probably about as smart / sentient as R2D2 because they were frustrated with it literally 10 seconds before the scene you describe. My hypothesis is that this is because Star Wars is a bad universe that is the exact reverse polarity to interesting storytelling, coherent themes, or new ideas.
posted by codacorolla at 4:35 PM on January 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the vibes was more Holi than anything else, not to mention the sari-type outfits the aliens were wearing.

Lol what is going on: ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Editor Opens Up on Rushed Production, Agrees Film Is Fan Service
posted by cendawanita at 5:18 PM on January 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


Huh. In the shooting script for A New Hope the word Sith is used several times. But only in screen descriptions and such, never by a character.
posted by hippybear at 5:52 PM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


Watching C3PO get essentially bullied/ordered into suicide because I guess these people don't see droids as people was super, super fucked up.

C-3PO has never been seen as a person all across the entire set of movies. We first meet him with no skin on, just wires and servos exposed all over the place. In fact, when we first meet him, he's seen first inanimate, and then switched on by Anakin, who is building him to help his mother. He's been a machine since the beginning. He's been disassembled and carried in a backpack, he's been given away as a token gift...

I don't think people in the Star Wars universe anthropomorphize mentally about their anthropomorphic droids because their droids are all built to the appropriate shape for the purpose they are meant to serve. If you think about the giant variety of droids you've seen across the Star Wars movies, one thing is certain -- few of them look as human as C-3PO. But that makes sense. Few of them are meant to be in contact with humans like protocol droids are.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I think about the amount of effort expended by folks trying to fix Star Wars and what the world would be like if it was instead spent on creating original Sci-Fi stories. The real answer how to fix Star Wars is the same as how to get rid of a body: "Be smart from the very beginning"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:08 PM on January 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


(Some of us do, in fact, create original Sci Fi stories :) But my hope is more that all this passion for better stories is also being channelled into finding and supporting the excellent original Science fiction that already exists)
posted by Zumbador at 10:07 PM on January 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


Some years back, Wired had a short future-vision article, where a writer imagined a point when a kid could be watching a movie, but changes the main character from a person into a talking dog mid-movie, modifying elements in real-time. We're just about there.
Any linear narrative film, for instance, can serve as the armature for what we would think of as a virtual reality, but which Johnny X, eight-year-old end-point consumer, up the line, thinks of as how he looks at stuff. […]

Somewhere in the countless preferences in Johnny's system, there's one that puts high-rez, highly expressive dog heads on all of the characters.
William Gibson
"Up The Line"
A Talk for the Directors Guild of America
Los Angeles, May 2003

Collected in Distrust That Particular Flavor.

As for the actual topic, as a lapsed Star Wars fan who didn't even bother to see Solo and saw The Rise of Skywalker more out of a sense of duty than anything else, the only thing I truly enjoyed in the film was the very brief appearance of Denis Lawson as Wedge again, even if I simultaneously questioned why he was serving as gunner on the Falcon instead of piloting an X-Wing and hoped that Disney had thrown a ludicrous amount of money at him to get him to change his mind.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 10:07 PM on January 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


(As I read this thread I kept dictating my responses into a Google Doc. That Google Doc is now 6 pages long so I'll try to summarize instead).

I liked it, I give it a 6/10, but I liked it in the way I like Dude, Where's My Car? so that's not much of a compliment. Sure it's just space opera, and it's fun, but tRoS is purile space opera and that made it a lot less fun. It was primarily McGuffin Madness. At least in RotJ the McGuffin was Han so we really cared what happened to him.

TLJ was a bit of a mess, but it had meaningful themes, showed some character development, and created a path forward for Star Wars to remain relevant. In addition to having no meaningful themes or real character development, tRoS threw away that path forward and rehashed stuff we've seen before. "The bad guy is your ancestor" was awesome the first time, but now it's clichéd. If this keeps up I suspect Star Wars will slowly fade into irrelevance rather than being a cultural touchstone for a new generation.
posted by Tehhund at 7:06 AM on January 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


hippybear: " We first meet him with no skin on, just wires and servos exposed all over the place. In fact, when we first meet him, he's seen first inanimate, and then switched on by Anakin,"

Gonna big time nope you right there. We first meet C-3PO when he and R2-D2 are trying to escape from an imperial boarding party on a starship belonging to Princess Leia.
posted by signal at 7:19 AM on January 4, 2020 [24 favorites]


Star Wars treatment of droids is weird, but mostly consistent (though everyone loves BB8 and R2 so maybe not consistent). That the character pushed to suicide and seen as inherently annoying is coded as a total fop and played by an openly gay actor bugs me tho.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:36 AM on January 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


The Rebecca Roanhorse novel that comes between TLJ and ROS is all about the machinations of getting Wedge back into the resistance, so that was one thing I was pleased to see pay off!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:41 AM on January 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


Anthony Daniels is married to a woman and as far as I can find via a cursory google has never identified himself as gay.
posted by chrchr at 3:01 PM on January 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


Huh. The internet led me astray on that one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:57 PM on January 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


Huh. The internet led me astray on that one.

....Were you maybe reading a garbled interpretation of Simon Pegg's undergraduate thesis?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on January 5, 2020


Metafilter: Were you maybe reading a garbled interpretation of Simon Pegg's undergraduate thesis?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on January 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


Saw this movie yesterday, and have since spent twice its running time reading this thread and various linked reviews. Almost all of my opinions, both positive and negative, have already been expressed above, so I’ll just add:

1. Rey actually accidentally killing Chewy would have been a bold move, but clearly not a move this series would ever make. Too bad, the end of a trilogy of trilogies is the best time to be bold.

2. It’s surprising how well they used C-3PO, though I would have preferred it if his sacrifice wasn’t immediately undone. It would have been great if creepy red-eyed Sith-3PO had remained a character on their journey to the point where Poe missed the original and wanted to get him back.

3. Not enough B-Wings.
posted by ejs at 12:09 PM on January 5, 2020 [14 favorites]


Metafilter: Were you maybe reading a garbled interpretation of Simon Pegg's undergraduate thesis?

Ugh, I can't believe someone did a good one of these
posted by ominous_paws at 12:15 PM on January 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Ugh, I can't believe someone did a good one of these
posted by ckape at 2:03 PM on January 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Not enough B-Wings.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:41 PM on January 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Brandon Blatcher
posted by heyho at 3:06 PM on January 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


Just saw it, so a few thoughts:

1. Rose was robbed, and so were we.

2. Kylo Ren was just not interesting. I guess he got his wish of being a Vader cosplayer.

3. Hux just getting killed was hilarious. So much spite and side-eye eliminates so quickly.

4. Paul is proof that a straight white cis man can fail over and over again and still get rewarded.

5. I like the way the crawl basically began with “weirdly, Palpatine his back,” because that is exactly how I felt.

6. I was enjoying all the star destroyers blowing up at the end, and then I thought “oh shit, those are pretty much entirely crewed with kidnapped traumatized child stormtroopers,“ and then I felt pretty bad about myself and the Rebellion.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:06 PM on January 5, 2020 [11 favorites]


4. Jesus, AutoCorrect, that’s Poe in #4. I mean Paul, too, but....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:49 PM on January 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


I would have really liked to see Rey steal Palpatine’s power and use it to undo the conditioning of the stormtroopers who would seize control of the Star destroyers and crush the First Order/Last Order and then go home to their families who miss them very much. And the Force-drained Palpatine could be put on trial for war crimes then, I don’t know, shot at Hux with a rail gun.

A boy can dream.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:13 PM on January 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


Man an ending where Palpatine is reduced to an old decrepit man who is made to face his crimes would be incredible. I don't think you'd be able to sell the idea he can live on without his link to the force, but I'm all for more endings where the big bad is taken alive rather than extrajudicially murdered.

Maybe likewise for Ben Solo, where instead of him dying heroically he lives and willingly turns himself in for his many war crimes.

Also what if instead of Rey saying "We're supposed to be here, actually you're glad we're here" she says "You don't have to follow the First Order. You're your own person and you have your own destiny" and the shocked stormtroopers look at each other and bolt away. And then everyone wonders why this wasn't the strategy from the very beginning.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:10 PM on January 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


Another thing. I was annoyed by “everyone will come when we need them,” “they want you to think that you’re alone,” and so on, because, when it came down to it, it was all about Palpatine and Rey (and a bit of Kylo). Even the Rebellion could have stayed home in the end.

I would have preferred if Rey’s big breakthrough would have been that the Jedi and Sith aren’t that special and everyone is connected and were all in this together. You can’t defeat fascism with superheroes, because the heroic individual is a fascist talking point.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:07 AM on January 6, 2020 [8 favorites]


Man the more I think about the "Lightspeed Skipping" scene the angrier I get. If Oscar Isaac had looked directly into the camera and said "Actually Hyperspace is exactly like dusting crops, only a fucking idiot would disagree" it would have been less of a slap in the face. I hope at some point in the production a scene like this played out:

Some Poor Intrepid Soul: "So, uh, I think we should rework this chase scene, it doesn't fit with 40 years of story evidence about how lightspeed works."
Whoever Was Responsible: "What are you even talking about? Evidence? This is a movie for children, and children like bright colors and frenetic action."
SPIS: "Uh, okay, what about the part where the heroes lead their enemies right to an alien ally and get him killed due to their ineptitude? Who would want to work with people like that?"
WWR: "I don't understand the question. People work with the good guys because they're the good guys, this is a kid's movie, we're writing this movie for their level."
SPIS: "So when we show the alien's decapitated head, is that for the kids too?"
WWR: "I think you need to leave."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:13 PM on January 6, 2020 [7 favorites]


In fairness, they're just following George's lead from the prequel trilogy:

SPIS: Sir, I'm not sure these movies make a lick of sense.
GL: Filmmaking isn't about the small details. These are just movies for kids!
SPIS: What about the scene where Anakin is being burned alive and you can literally see flaming, molten human fat dripping off him?
GL: It's like poetry. It rhymes! Monomyth!
posted by The Tensor at 1:01 PM on January 6, 2020 [8 favorites]


but i have wanted to walk through an actual jedi training academy since i was 12

As long as you don't spend time in a jedi training academy as a 12 year old, because sometimes that shit is bad news.

The Skywalker films are done

Gonna have to correct this: the Palpatine films, because with him turning out to be the evil jeanyus behind everything here he has now turned out to have been behind everything in the galaxy for basically forever, as far as the movies go. I guess if you're gonna double-down on the Star Wars philosophy of only a few special people mattering at all and reject the open-ended setup that TLJ put down you may as well go 100x on it.

The Palpatine thing - and the bits around it - is the only part of this movie that really just pissed me off. This guy's been a big fuckin no-show for the last two movies and all of a sudden it turns out nope, he effectively drove it all by virtue of Rey's lineage and the fact that she was in place to do what she did in 7 & 8 because of her being hidden from him. Then the amazingly hand-wavey "oh actually we've just been building ships these last 20 years." I'm willing to look the other way on the fact that the Empire (or whatever it is this week/movie) doesn't make a whole lot of sense as an organization and the fact that the Star Wars universe somehow has access to a quantity of materials that defies sense without matter replicators. But making this sort of thing pivotal makes it hard to avoid viewing it head-on.

The rejection of the TLJ setup with the rebels down to a skeleton crew and a potential universe full of force users doesn't so much make me angry as it just confuses me. I'm not a watcher of the cartoon serieseses or much of a gamer anymore but I'm aware of their existence and how they basically just ignore the whole "last jedi" thing and have these other folks wandering around with lightsabers and force powers. TLJ helps that! It helps create a more open set of possibilities moving forward! As mentioned above, this movie doesn't even handle the remaining F* Order ships and staff issue so it's not like you resolved that point in your rejection of the TLJ setup. It just makes up a whole new other threat then dispatches it.

But I guess if you're gonna want to grind the same thing all over and over again you may as well have a fleet remaining that can just find a new leader and a new last jedi to start up a whole training academy and... I'm bored just thinking about it. I mean, fine, they make pretty space battles and laser sword space wizard fights to watch. But I loved science fiction much of my life because of its chance to tell interesting and difficult stories through metaphor. I don't feel like Star Wars has any interest in telling any.
posted by phearlez at 1:13 PM on January 6, 2020 [4 favorites]


It does seem like there are way too many people out there creating official content that contradicts other official content for there to be any hope of one cohesive canon, even disregarding the EU. But I don't think we can put all the blame on Disney; it's been that way since long before the Lucasfilm purchase.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:03 PM on January 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


It seems like Star Wars needs to be nationalized and then we can really have consequential fights about storylines.

Slow down, jacobinmag.com.
posted by The Tensor at 3:24 PM on January 6, 2020 [4 favorites]


disregarding the EU

Starwexit!
posted by Grangousier at 3:26 PM on January 6, 2020 [8 favorites]


It seems like Star Wars needs to be nationalized and then we can really have consequential fights about storylines.

Or how about Star Wars enters the public domain so we're all free to tell the kind of Star Wars stories we want to tell.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:18 PM on January 6, 2020 [7 favorites]




Here's What Directing a Star Wars Movie Is Really Like (Emma Grey Ellis, Wired)
The Rise of Skywalker's second unit director, Victoria Mahoney, opens up about bringing the Force from secretive sound stage to screen.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:27 AM on January 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


The Rise of Skywalker Wants You to Know That Consent Is Necessary (and Also Very Sexy) (Emmet Asher-Perrin, Tor)

The franchise treats consent more maturely these days.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


So I think I'm the last person to see this movie in a theater as the people in the same showing as me last night chatted throughout it. So here's my super freezing cold take: what a mess.

That said, if you remember that Star Wars is basically a pulp serial and not an attempt to enter the Western Canon, it was fine.
posted by GuyZero at 11:29 AM on January 8, 2020 [5 favorites]


The consent article was interesting, but it also reminded me that I did not see C-3P0's agreement to the mind-wipe as anything but being bullied and even guilt-tripped into it and finally giving in despite his fears.
posted by PussKillian at 1:48 PM on January 8, 2020 [5 favorites]


For posterity's sake, this post is about the rise of #ReleaseTheJJCut/#ReleaseTheAbramsCut, a conspiracy theory surrounding TROS that has appeared in the past week, because we live in an era where everything has a truther movement.

WIRED: #ReleaseTheJJCut Brings Conspiracy Theories to Star Wars
an incendiary Reddit post went viral on January 2, 2020. The post was from user egoshoppe, a moderator of the r/saltierthancrait subreddit, which is, by its own description, “a community for those who are critical of the recent new Star Wars revival from Disney.” According to egoshoppe, the fans weren’t alone in finding Rise of Skywalker mediocre. Supposedly, J. J. Abrams didn’t like it either.

In the (extremely unverified) post, egoshoppe claims to have had contact with an unnamed source who worked on Rise of Skywalker. The source alleges that Abrams made a three-hour cut of the film that Disney and Lucasfilm edited and released without his permission or involvement. The “why” of it all gets a little hazy, though, since motives for the changes to the purported #JJCut range from appeasing parts of the fandom to making Abrams look bad as revenge for signing with Warner Bros.
BuzzFeed News: The “Star Wars” Misinformation Hell Is The New Future Of Everything
the message claimed director J.J. Abrams’ original cut of The Rise of Skywalker was 40 minutes longer than the film’s two hour, 22-minute theatrical runtime and contained a large chunk of material that would have made some fans happier, including a scene featuring actors Hayden Christensen and Samuel L Jackson, reprising their roles to help fellow Jedi Rey defeat the resurrected Emperor Palpatine.

[...] According to egoshoppe, the reasons were twofold: to make the film more palatable to the Chinese government and to damage the professional reputation of Abrams, whom Warner Brothers was courting to work on films set in the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, which includes characters like Batman and Superman.
[...]
The Star Wars fandom is now a nesting doll of speculation, paranoia, and anxiety about corporate overreach — growing more insular and reactionary in the eight years since Disney took over Star Wars.

The misinformation and anger inside the Star Wars fandom is what happens after decades of corporatization and anonymous decentralized networking. It is a glimpse of a future in which anxieties over the motives of the megacorporations that drive our culture — down to our very mythologies — set off conflicts between warring information tribes who inhabit their own artificial narratives. What began with small but vocal insurgent online communities like 4chan or the alt-right has now come for the mainstream.
[...]
The earliest archived Usenet posts about the movies date back to at least 1983, the year that Return of the Jedi came out. “Are you sure other scenes showed an abnormal (or no) star field while in hyperspace,” one user writes in a thread — which wouldn’t look out of place on Reddit in 2019 — titled “Continuity error in STAR WARS - the ANSWER."
[...]
It isn’t just Disney. As corporate monoliths amass more money and power, consumers become more feverish, fanatical, and paranoid. Supreme hypebeasts, Fortnite players, PewDiePie commenters, VSCO girls, K-pop fans, Tesla evangelists — there seems to be a divided fan community for nearly every form of media or product or service.

And as quickly and strangely as modern fandoms form, so are they mutated by Han Shot First moments. These schisms are rarely deliberate — rather, they are sparked by a director's cut of a popular film, an offhand remark made in an interview. They are willed into existence by conspiracy theories, by fanfiction, by leaks of material never intended to be seen.
The post itself (linked above) is a hoot, and I recommend everyone who's seen this movie skim it for a laugh. It's a covert "J. J. can do nothing wrong" fan fantasy. Its framing of the powerful man in charge as made helpless by a confederacy of dunces is downright #QAnon.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:04 PM on January 8, 2020 [4 favorites]


Uh, link to the WIRED article above.

Bonus: The serious editing that went into the BuzzFeed News piece.

Additionally, from the Huffington Post: That Viral ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Conspiracy Theory Gets The Kiss Of Death
But again, when we asked [TROS editor Maryann] Brandon about FinnPoe, the longtime Abrams collaborator said she’d never even heard about that possibility. To her, the characters were always just friends.

“I think, again, they’re best of friends,” she said. “There is a kind of brotherhood there where they understand each other, and they’ve got each other’s back.”
In conclusion, J. J. is a hack made entirely of mystery boxes stuffed with red herring.
Finally, the Reddit post claimed the J.J. Cut has Finn specifically telling Rey he’s Force-sensitive and includes a scene showing Finn using the Force.

If that’s true, Brandon didn’t appear to be aware of it. When we asked the editor what Finn tried to tell Rey — which is a joke that goes throughout the movie — she said she thought it was supposed to be left up to interpretation and didn’t seem to know herself.

“It’s one of those things I think is cool in the movie that’s up to interpretation, and I think that’s exactly what was meant by it,” she said. “I think what you want it to be is what it is. One person said, ‘Oh, he’s gonna tell her he’s in love with her,’ and I thought maybe he was, or, ‘He’s gonna tell her he understands the Force now and he believes in it.’ Maybe it’s that. I’ve never asked J.J. or [writer Chris Terrio]. I just always took it as one of those humorous ... because it’s a joke, that keeps going through the film.”
posted by Apocryphon at 2:23 PM on January 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the trilogy of links, but Vox's article about the #ReleaseTheJJCut is also comprehensive, and brings up similar (non-GamerGate) fandom conspiracy theory memeplexes from Outlander to One Direction to an extended discussion on the Johnlock conspiracy of Sherlock, which piles on the crazy to greater heights:
So entrenched did TJLC become within the fandom that, in 2017, something truly extraordinary occurred: After the show’s final episode aired without making a queer relationship canon, the conspiracists immediately came up with the truly strange scenario that Moffat and Gatiss had filmed an entirely different alternate version of Sherlock’s final episode. This “lost special” would, they believed, air the week following Sherlock’s end, in Sherlock’s same time slot.

The problem was that there was already a television show scheduled to air in that slot, the BBC miniseries Apple Tree Yard. So Sherlock fans, like cultists pushing back the date of a predicted apocalypse after it fails to arrive, used intricate close reading to devise a theory that Apple Tree Yard was an elaborate hoax — a code for the secret Sherlock episode that would air the next week.
The Vox article brings up the good point that alleged suppressed director's cuts are just one type of conspiracy- in the lead up to TROS, fans also spread rumors about whether or not their romantic pairing of choice is substantiated by new leaks, and sometimes the 'shipping is based on one's political/ideological beliefs. It then links to the original Twitter thread by Ryan Broderick (the author of the Buzzfeed News piece), which neatly summarizes this conspiracy kerfuffle with a few bleak observations:
The Star Wars community is so polarized and so old that they've evolved past the idea of "post-truth" or whatever into something even weirder. The leaks and the "planted leaks" have all become just part of the normal fan discourse. It's like one meta level up from even QAnon.

There's basically now:
• Stan armies creating fictitious redeeming backstories about movies they don't like set in the universes

• Directors/director supporters spreading fake leaks about studio interference

• Studios revving up fan armies against actors and directors.

Soooo...

[deep breath]

I think what's happening in the Star Wars (and other) fandoms in regards to mass disinformation becoming literal information wars will hit an inflection point pretty soon and, like Gamergate before it, probably have huge sociopolitical ramifications.
So in creating a both highly imaginative fantastical universe, yet making it both open-ended and incoherently-written enough to have plot holes that fans will be planting theories inside for decades, Disney unintentionally replicated within fandom the very conflict that Star Wars depicts: a world where persecuted plucky heroes bearing truth and light fight the deception of shadowy plotters, where legions of bots and brainwashed clones march, all the while their gleaming totalitarian empire conquers.

Star Wars is dead. Long live the Star Wars.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:02 PM on January 8, 2020 [2 favorites]


I don't doubt that there was a three hour or longer rough cut of the movie at some point, that's how big movies are made. They cut a print with everything in it and then the director, various producers and studio executives make notes and the editors go back and re-edit. Often there's reshoots and subsequent re-edits. There's no conspiracy, that's just how it works.
posted by octothorpe at 3:52 PM on January 8, 2020 [5 favorites]


I feel like they just made the three-hour cut into 2.5 hours by making every single scene a few seconds shorter rather than actually removing an entire scene. The whole movie is on fast forward the entire time.
posted by GuyZero at 4:09 PM on January 8, 2020 [12 favorites]


Fans are the Final Order. A useless and unnecessary group answering to a power no one asked for, but still capable of enormous destruction, if they don’t listen to a woman’s simple request that they stop already.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:08 PM on January 8, 2020 [8 favorites]


Oh man, I'm looking forward to learning more about film making thanks to these truthers. I'm only half-joking -- there was a lot I learned from actually informed people during the Snydercut heyday. #bepositive2020
posted by cendawanita at 7:34 PM on January 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


I don't doubt that there was a three hour or longer rough cut of the movie at some point, that's how big movies are made. They cut a print with everything in it and then the director, various producers and studio executives make notes and the editors go back and re-edit. Often there's reshoots and subsequent re-edits. There's no conspiracy, that's just how it works.

But from the podcast interview with Maryann Brandon that's not how it worked.

The reshoots dragged on for too long for a conventional editing process. So on every set, they set up two "editing tents". Maryann Brandon was the chief editor, with two assistants. They abandoned the usual rule that one person works on one part of the film: anyone could edit anything. The movie was literally edited as it was shot, at the very last minute.

That doesn't explain everything that people don't like about the movie, a lot of that was deliberate decisions.

But at least part of what was clunky about the movie, I think came down to the filmmakers literally not having enough time to edit properly.

If you listen to the equivalent Avengers: Endgame interview, the editors there say it's a mistake to edit a scene too early, as you often need to change scenes in the light of the overall movie. That part of the process couldn't really happen the way "The Rise of Skywalker" was edited.

For instance, I think things like the lack of tension in the "Chewbacca is dead" subplot may have been affected by that. With more editing time, they might have been able to make the actors look sad during the period when they supposedly thought he was dead.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:41 PM on January 8, 2020 [4 favorites]


Man, those ancient Usenet posts that Apocryphon linked to are a super fun read! I thought this post from 6/20/83 was especially prescient:
Here is a question slightly off base. Since Lucasfilm is part of the usenet (nee dagobah) they by default get net.sf-lovers and net.movies.sw and I assume SOMEONE there reads it. When I went to Octocon this year, Howard Kazanjian gave a film/slide presentation on 'Revenge of the Jedi' (nee Return...). He also got a lot of 'Jedi's don't belive in revenge' flack.

My question is: did the massive amount of verbiage, planning, and thought that went through the net (and other fannish groups) affect RotJ, and if so, how much. It seemed to me as I watched RotJ how CLOSE the movie was to how I felt it should be, and I recently realized that the reason might be because they were actually listening to all of those wierd (and occasionally) wonderful schemes here on the net. If that IS the case, should we have gotten screen credit? (Just joking, guys). Anyone from Lucasfilm/dagobah wanna tackle this one?
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:40 PM on January 8, 2020 [7 favorites]


“It’s one of those things I think is cool in the movie that’s up to interpretation, and I think that’s exactly what was meant by it,” she said. “I think what you want it to be is what it is. One person said, ‘Oh, he’s gonna tell her he’s in love with her,’ and I thought maybe he was, or, ‘He’s gonna tell her he understands the Force now and he believes in it.’ Maybe it’s that. I’ve never asked J.J. or [writer Chris Terrio]. I just always took it as one of those humorous ... because it’s a joke, that keeps going through the film.”

Huh. For me it's just a thing that the movie sets up and never pays off; at some point, the joke needs a punchline.
posted by nubs at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


I had forgotten the bizarre "there is a secret, fourth episode of Sherlock that will make it retroactively not suck in ways specific to my own desires for the show" conspiracy theory. Wow, those were some rough times.

One of the things that has been hardest to watch in this trilogy is how they first bring up the idea that a lot of the First Order Stormtroopers are unwilling participants. Then they spend boatloads of time chewing through them like so much cannon fodder and feature lots of lingering shots on their corpses.

The film never does anything with the idea of indoctrinated soldiers taken as children, other than to kill heaps of them. It's really fucked up.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:28 PM on January 9, 2020 [13 favorites]


I’ve read before that TFA sets that all up to fail with Finn and Poe’s escape: as gunner in the TIE fighter, Finn gamely blows away his former comrades, indeed his former family, without hesitation nor remorse. He even does so with glee a moment later against the turbolaser turrets, though maybe those were at least uncrewed.

Yes, stormtroopers are faceless dehumanized cannon fodder and Star Wars is a whiz bang kid’s movie. But it shows that J. J. Abrams didn’t think through the implications of his setting and writing choices. Especially when a scene ago we had Finn’s big emotional development where he sees a fellow trooper die in his arms, and he decides he can’t stand killing. Abrams could just decide not to write things that he would undermine right after. Or chose not to undermine them by writing their escape in a different way.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:41 PM on January 9, 2020 [7 favorites]


I finally saw this (in a completely empty theater, which was fucking bizarre), and I was surprised to come back and discover that it seems like the Metafilter consensus is actually more positive than mine!

Anyway, it's an unbelievably awful film, but in a hilarious way and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We may never see fanwank of this magnitude on screen again.
posted by selfnoise at 3:57 PM on January 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


One thing I was really puzzled by: the strange variance in cinematography. TFA had the same director and DP and is a really good looking film with a really artful approach to refiguring the cinematic style of the original trilogy. Not QUITE as good as Rogue One's, but still.

This movie's photography is utter trash. Like, almost something you would expect from The Asylum. There's so much movement that any action scene with more than two elements is a mess. The space battle is such a smear that I'm not even sure there was a battle.

Why is this movie such a frenzy? Why does it feel like everyone making it was sweating furiously?
posted by selfnoise at 4:05 PM on January 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


A frenzy! Yes, absolutely. I felt as though all the action scenes were playing on fast forward.
posted by Coaticass at 6:12 PM on January 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


Why does it feel like everyone making it was sweating furiously?

From all the behind the scenes reports, that's pretty accurate. They were hella rushed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 PM on January 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


Well, Disney is still pretty cash strapped, so they had to keep it on schedule. Waiting longer could have very likely put the company under.

/sarcasm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 PM on January 10, 2020 [4 favorites]




That writer needs to stop talking, he’s made several comments that make him sound ridiculous.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 AM on January 11, 2020 [5 favorites]


Amazing, that guy's got an Oscar for writing.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 AM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]


We may never see fanwank of this magnitude on screen again.

From your lips to God's ears.
posted by hippybear at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]




From cendawanita's link:
within 48 hours, Rey has had a Force-back to her parents and then the very next day is told "your parents were no one and they were junk traders. None of that matters." And we thought in a way that would be too easy because of the idea that Rey had been longing for her parents for so many years. We just felt like there was something more going on.
Yeah, because having your parents abandon you into slavery when you're five years old is only a significant, traumatic event that affects the rest of your life if they happen to be the heirs to the Empire. If they're commoners you just shrug it off and never give it a second thought, right? It's totally not a factor in the makeup of your future unless they've got royal blood.

What a maroon./
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:02 AM on January 14, 2020 [8 favorites]


I’ve read before that TFA sets that all up to fail with Finn and Poe’s escape: as gunner in the TIE fighter, Finn gamely blows away his former comrades, indeed his former family, without hesitation nor remorse. He even does so with glee a moment later against the turbolaser turrets, though maybe those were at least uncrewed.

I think it's psychologically believable that it could take some time for Finn to progress through several stages:

Wait, this is wrong!
It's all wrong. Everything I was raised to believe.
It's evil! The Empire...all of it.
I can't let anyone know what I'm thinking. They'd kill me. I can't trust anyone.
I've got to get away from these people. I've got to get out of here!

...and maybe much later...

Wait, maybe I wasn't the only stormtrooper who felt that way?
It's not like I told anyone what I was thinking. Who knows how many others might have similar doubts?
But, no, if they felt like I did, they wouldn't still be there killing people for the Empire.
But they were just indoctrinated like me... Maybe if they knew it was possible...?
posted by straight at 3:03 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


> The Original Star Wars IX Script Has Allegedly Leaked.

Turns out Colin Trevorrow’s version of Star Wars: Episode IX was good, actually
posted by homunculus at 3:41 AM on January 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


I need to take a moment to take in that such is this movie's ... consequence that even Trevorrow is having a positive moment. Not to mention if Rian Johnson actually wins Best Original Screenplay... Of course these are very unrelated things.
posted by cendawanita at 5:15 AM on January 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


yeah it's pretty damning to TROS that trevorrow's script is being well received when it itself sounds terrible:

* fans would gnash teeth about it disregarding the rule of two (which was a dumb idea anyway, sorry, george)
* why has the lovecraftian dude been sitting out the fall of the republic, rise of the empire, and the galactic civil war?
* the aping of the dagobah scene is fan servicey and dumb
* his face is repaired with mandalorian armor? could this be any more usenet fanficky?
* the return to jedi temple to activate another hidden beacon is also very fan servicey

also, no babu frick? sounds doubly terrible.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:59 AM on January 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


the return to jedi temple to activate another hidden beacon is also very fan servicey

Even worse, the definitive "lighting of the beacons" film scene was already done by the Lord of the Rings. It was beautiful visually, and using lit beacons to summon troops actually has historical precedent in the Byzantine Empire, but the fact that they couldn't rain magical fire down on the beacon or perhaps toss a smoldering ember up into it really strained credulity. This would have been even worse: now we have a device that can communicate across unimaginable distances of light years but can only be activated by physically touching it? There's literally nowhere else in the galaxy where they can send out this call except the Jedi Temple, one of the most obvious places to stash a very important device?

Even this better script indicates that "Star Wars cannot have new ideas, ever" is a law of physics. Everything must be a copy of a copy of a copy.
posted by Tehhund at 6:37 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


Abrams reportedly had to make a lot of changes for the studio, I doubt that Trevorrow would have escaped that fate either. I'm not sure what magic Johnson pulled to get what seems to be his director's cut or close to it released since Rogue One, Solo and Rise all had pretty massive rewrites and reshoots.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


On non-edit, what I was trying to say is that even if Trevorrow had directed, I doubt that much of that screenplay would have survived. I'd love to see what the actual shooting script of RoS looked like, especially how it ended.
posted by octothorpe at 6:57 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


Theres reports/rumors that Disney changed Abrams cut without him knowing, sonit so it sounds like this film was fucked no matter the director
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


then he must be quite the admirable company man because he ran the full promo gauntlet this cycle.

re: johnson - my suspicion is that kennedy really liked what he was doing and he was so agreeable and on time that she gave him a lot of cover. tbh this mode would've continued if not for disney getting cold feet post-tlj. rogue one is definitely a good point because that came out in the interval, but could it be that lucasfilms only had so much political clout to spend?
posted by cendawanita at 7:13 AM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


From what I understand Rogue one had about 1/4 of it reshot and Solo was almost totally remade by Ron Howard after they fired Lord and Miller six months into the shoot. Disney really doesn't seem to know what the want from a Star Wars movie and constantly second guess themselves.
posted by octothorpe at 7:18 AM on January 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


then he must be quite the admirable company man because he ran the full promo gauntlet this cycle.


You don't get a lot of new gigs if you start badmouthing the studio and Disney owns most of Hollywood now. Abrams isn't dumb.
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 AM on January 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


It is only rumors, so take it with a grain of salt, but it's about the only insane rumor that explains the chaos of the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 AM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


and it's a rumour that's meant to give him an out, so.... no. i mean, did universal pull the same stunt for Not!Khan!Trek? I'm more likely to give credence that this was a planted rumour because they're in quite the damage control mode right now.
posted by cendawanita at 7:53 AM on January 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


Pity me. For after months of middle-aged-schedule-dithering, my old college friends have finally arranged a time to go see it, and I don't want to bail out, so I'm going to watch the damn thing again tonight.

At least with this plot it doesn't get any worse from not having surprises.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:45 AM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


TheophileEscargot, maybe this is the chance to see if the film improves while high? It seems about the only thing left to write about for this film.
posted by nubs at 11:02 AM on January 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Maybe try watching with Dark Side of the Moon playing in earbuds, TheophileEscargot.

Alternatively, pair the visuals of TROS with the full audio track for Cats (2019).
posted by sugar and confetti at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


drink every time someone does something out of character for plot expediency

(j/k, don't do this, you'll die in the first 20 minutes)
posted by entropicamericana at 11:38 AM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


entropicamericana: * fans would gnash teeth about it disregarding the rule of two (which was a dumb idea anyway, sorry, george)

Many people interpret the hooded figures in the film we got as hundreds/thousands of Sith, and Palatine's dialogue heavily implies as much (plus you had him, Snoke, and Kylo alive simultaneously at some point, but I guess Kylo was technically never Sith).

Tehhund: This would have been even worse: now we have a device that can communicate across unimaginable distances of light years but can only be activated by physically touching it? There's literally nowhere else in the galaxy where they can send out this call except the Jedi Temple, one of the most obvious places to stash a very important device?

I haven't read this script (or is only a video of someone describinig it available?), but I think it works if the beacon is considered more mystical than technological. As in, it requires the energies of the temple and/or its planet -- or its existence on that planet is a main reason the temple was established there in the first place.

In any event, planet "obviousness" doesn't seem to be a matter of concern in this trilogy, what with both Ach-To and Exegol being simultaneously places of grand historic importance (for the Jedi and Sith respectively) and places you can't find without going on a JJ Abrams scavenger hunt for the right map.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:08 PM on January 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


The Rule of Two was bypassed for decades in the EU by explaining that the hordes of Dark Side minions, inquisitors, assassins, prophets, and secret apprentices were not really Sith, but partly-trained henchmen or fallen Dark Jedi who were not properly initiated into the Sith. The distinction makes them basically ex-Pralite monks who are Sith in all but name, but for what it's worth they're usually depicted as neither as powerful as the Darths, nor in line for succession to be the biggest bad in the galaxy.

The sequel trilogy, like the originals, doesn't even really dive into what a Sith really is anyway, nor do I think they even refer to Kylo Ren or Snoke as Sith(?) because the audience already knows that they're villains and Dark Side users. They also give the former the meaningless title of leader of the Knights of Ren, which is even less explained. Finally while previously the general public knows even less about the Sith as a concept than they do about the Jedi or the Force, TROS now makes it into something that droids can get mind-wiped for trying to speak their language. It's mystery boxes and bad worldbuilding all of the way down.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:56 PM on January 16, 2020 [4 favorites]


I remember thinking when I first saw Episode I that the rule of two meant that there was never a unit of fewer than or more than two. Like, they always came in pairs, and those pairs didn't band together to form larger groups. That made more sense to me than the idea that only two ever existed at the same time in the galaxy. Especially given the whole "strike me down" thing, the Klingon Promotions would make for constant turnover.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:11 PM on January 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


This leaked concept art that seems to flesh out a lot of the original script (possibly even real!) is pretty awesome...
posted by ominous_paws at 12:03 PM on January 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


VADER: So then he says to me, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
PALPATINE: Ha ha, oh man
PALPATINE: I am totally going to steal that line.
posted by ckape at 12:54 PM on January 18, 2020 [9 favorites]


Finally saw this. Hated it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:56 PM on March 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


I almost totally forgot that I'd seen it until this thread popped up in my recent activity just now.
posted by octothorpe at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'd read some of this thread and my expectations were lowered, but I did like TFA, and I expected I wouldn't like some of the story but it'd still be a fun movie. But I got bored. I almost just stopped halfway through.

I love Rey and she was always good. The fight on the Death Star with giant waves was very good and hugely cinematic. The weirdness of the Kylo/Rey fight when he was in town and she was in his quarters was very nicely done and felt genuinely new.

Everything else was just stuff happening and it was boring. I enjoyed both Finn and Poe on screen in the previous two movies. In this one, they were just kind of there.

I paid twenty dollars for this. Why did I do that? Ugh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:55 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


Maybe they did us a favor by making it such a forgettable piece of garbage that it’s easy to just drop it from mind entirely and then make up your own headcanon about how it all went down.

One of the The Watch guys said that basically everyone gets to decide where this all ends for them now, and that he'd settled on the shot of the kid with the broom at the end of the previous film. I figure that's as good a place as any.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:59 AM on March 15, 2020 [8 favorites]


oh yeah I gotta see this again now that we need more things to watch at home. I liked it!
posted by numaner at 1:58 PM on March 18, 2020




Holy shit I just finally watched this last night and it was GARBAGE.

I grew up in the 80s/90s LOVING star wars and jesus christ did this movie suuuuuuuuuccckkk
posted by weed donkey at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


Yes, this was no good.
posted by porpoise at 1:22 AM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Maybe they did us a favor by making it such a forgettable piece of garbage that it’s easy to just drop it from mind entirely and then make up your own headcanon about how it all went down.

It's a small mercy, but I'll take it. On the escalator away from the theater, I remembered enough of it to agree with the folks walking behind me that the Reylo kiss was dumb and bad. On the stairs down to the train, I could feel the movie sliding off my brain and by the time I got home, I barely recalled enough of it to review with my roommate all of it's many shortcomings. Now, a few months later, I can't generate a stronger feeling about Rise of Skywalker than "Eh, let's just watch Last Jedi."

When I was little, my first memorable contact with Star Wars was Empire Strikes Back. For a couple years, I thought the entire saga was just that one weird, downbeat picture that gestured towards a vaster galaxy beyond it. My brothers and I watched it over and over again for a long time, and it took my parents to clue me in that there was more Star Wars out there. Then for years after watching the other two pictures, the most fun Star Wars thing there was to due was to speculate with my friends and brothers on that larger galaxy and timeline that the trilogy mentions but did not illustrate.

We wondered what the "Clone Wars" could have been. We compared our ideas for beta test versions of Darth Vader's armor. We wondered what would make Obi Wan lie to Luke like he did, how the Emperor rose to power, and what a galaxy with an active Jedi council would look like. Then the prequels came in and paved over all our speculation, and I began to suspect that all those recesses spent in ad hoc amateur Star Wars pitch meetings with the other kids was the most fun there was to be had with Star Wars. I liked Force Awakens for being as vague about the original trilogy as the original was about the Clone Wars. I liked Last Jedi because it was a necessary call out of the Star Wars fandom, and I felt its thesis was proven by what a poor job certain fans did of rising to the occasion. Rise of Skywalker? Idk, Babu Frik was great, let's hope he turns up on Mandalorian or something.

Broom Boy was the last frame of Star Wars, far as I'm concerned. Those vague margins of the Star Wars universe are still there to imagine and speculate about. He and his friends had some big adventures ahead of them, no doubt. I'm in no hurry to see any movies about them though, I think I'd prefer to keep that wonder to myself and my brothers and my friends for as long as we can.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2020 [12 favorites]


Hooray for Disney Plus! I finally watched this silly movie!

So: Luke searched the whole galaxy for decades, and Our Heroes had to find that guy's ship, to find the post-hoc pseudo-encrypted Evil Knife, then jailbreak C3-PO, then do the dumb protractor thingy...all to figure out that the Emperor left his car keys on his desk at work? That's the second* most obvious place for the thing to be! The more surprising thing is that Kylo went to get the backup pair from the Mushroom Kingdom in the first place!

Also, lots of Grand Theft Land/Space Ship in this one...

* first most obvious being "in his pocketses" of course, but that's not a viable search plan anyway.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the random hooded masses in Sith Stadium are, I assume, the same guys who would go on to fight the Undertaker for about 10 seconds in the Boneyard match.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Luke actually failed to find two of the MacGuffins, which were 1) at the Emperor's office and 2) at Vader's house.
posted by ckape at 11:35 AM on May 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


...all to figure out that the Emperor left his car keys on his desk at work? That's the second* most obvious place for the thing to be!

Makes me think of the combination to President Skroob's luggage in Spaceballs.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:40 PM on May 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Finally saw it on Disney plus.

Ok so chewie fake dies. Then threepio fake dies. Then Rey fake dies. If everything can be undone then nothing matters ugh.

It was SO obvious that it was NOT the same Chewie; I had forgotten that Peter Mayhew had passed. Gah all the mannerisms were all wrong! Chewie does NOT nod his head, Chewie has a loping gait like his shins are too long, Chewie does NOT move like a human in a hair suit. Gah! Would it have killed that guy to do some bodywork study? Yuck.

On that note, by seeing the eyes of Zorii Bliss I was like “dude call me crazy but that looks like Keri Russell” was that revealed before because if so my subconscious is hella accurate.

Could not take that Empire guy seriously. All I saw was Posh Nosh. “Supper is dinner with its shirt undone.“

That party in the desert where they find Lando was like an international burning man.

But it hit me in the feels to have Ben say “Dad” to Han. Like all his toxic masculinity fell away and he was able to feel vulnerable and be supported and loved unconditionally by his family. And leia dies saving him. There was so much they could have done there but sadly they had to work with the little footage they had.

Wish they hadn’t kissed at the end but just lovingly hugged and clinged to each other. Like, we made it, I know you and what you’ve been through. Hold me. Adam Driver mr Easter island himself gah love him.

And I loved Palpatine, creepy as ever, and when he absorbs the energy of them and glows RED EYES and gets that lovely silk red lining to his robe it was great. That whole part was great. Too bad we didn’t get to see more dark side Rey... she looked zingy!

Ultimately... the plot was ridiculous fast they were insane planet hopping, I just went with it and don’t regret spending the time watching it and I have two small kids and am reading my books one page at a time that’s how little time I have these days.

Can they take the series anywhere now? Is it finally done?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:16 AM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]


Oh and yeah the threepio red eye scared the bejeesus out of me, for a second I thought he’d start channeling palpatine and they’d have to blast his head off but then remembered I was watching this on the Disney channel.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:31 AM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]


K one more: when palpatine was blathering on about of you kill me my spirit will possess you etc etc and my husband says “she should just go give him a hug”
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:46 AM on May 11, 2020 [6 favorites]


What a terrible movie. Well actually I liked most parts; good effects, good characters, decent acting (for once). But the story was just awful.

Start at the beginning. Five minutes of expo to introduce the enemy: Emperor Palpatine. You may remember him from such films as every previous Star Wars Trilogy. Seriously, that's the best they could do? "Uh let's bring back the big bad guy from before." In whatever studio debacle led to the fracturing of the story between the previous two movies, someone forgot to set up the third movie.

Fast forward to the middle. Quicksand. Literally TV quicksand, like this is some Gilligan's Island episode. Seriously? Maybe they could have played it off as an absurdity, something we were supposed to find funny. But oh no this is very serious quicksand leading to snake tunnels.

Fast forward to the final scene. Riding horses on the surface of... an Imperial Destroyer? Which now somehow has gravity pointing down and an atmosphere? A friend of mine suggests that makes sense because the destroyers were in orbit around McGuffin Planet. Which, um, OK. But then that's an awfully low orbit and that atmosphere is really thick. Those ships gonna be OK? Look, I understand Star Wars isn't hard sci-fi and trying to make everything make science sense will lead to disappointment. But shit's gotta be at least vaguely plausible.

They finally ground Star Wars up into little enough pieces they no longer taste like Star Wars. Just one big weird processed lump of pink Star Wars slurry with a wookie sticking out here, a lightsaber there. And totally robbed of its magic.
posted by Nelson at 6:49 AM on June 15, 2020 [11 favorites]


Seriously, that's the best they could do? "Uh let's bring back the big bad guy from before." In whatever studio debacle led to the fracturing of the story between the previous two movies, someone forgot to set up the third movie.

Kylo Renn was setup as the villain for the third movie but the studio or Abrams ditched that idea. Maybe they thought that fans would be mad?
posted by octothorpe at 4:38 AM on June 16, 2020 [1 favorite]


Fast forward to the final scene. Riding horses on the surface of... an Imperial Destroyer? Which now somehow has gravity pointing down and an atmosphere? A friend of mine suggests that makes sense because the destroyers were in orbit around McGuffin Planet. Which, um, OK. But then that's an awfully low orbit and that atmosphere is really thick. Those ships gonna be OK? Look, I understand Star Wars isn't hard sci-fi and trying to make everything make science sense will lead to disappointment. But shit's gotta be at least vaguely plausible.

One of the things the Red Letter Media guys pointed out is, J. J. Abrams hates space. Hence, all of the fighting on the outside of Star Destroyers that are somehow inside an atmosphere. Also the secret planet that they somehow need the antenna things to leave instead of just... flying away from it in any direction.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:01 AM on June 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


J. J. Abrams hates space

That's hilarious. The TIE fighter/Falcon chase, the X-Wings arriving to save Han, and the final battle in The Force Awakens are in atmosphere too. I think the only purely space-based battles in the sequel trilogy are in The Last Jedi?

But then that's an awfully low orbit and that atmosphere is really thick. Those ships gonna be OK?

Don't want to get too apologist for this mediocre film but it's been canon from even before Attack of the Clones (which has proto-Star Destroyers landing on Geonosis and Coruscant) that Star Destroyers are designed to enter planetary atmosphere.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:59 AM on June 16, 2020 [2 favorites]




The saga started with an old man who kidnapped his enemy's son, saw him raised as an "orphan," established himself as a father figure, and trained him in combat.

Then he pointed him at his own father with some made up tale, let himself get killed in front of the boy to cement the boy's hatred. All the while hoping to finally get his revenge as the son killed his own father, the man he'd hated all these years.

A dark ending seems fitting for this bloodthirsty saga.
posted by mark k at 11:37 PM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


It is surprisingly dark for the saga to end with the Palpatines killing off the Skywalkers for good and then stealing their family identity.

The author's Tweet stream isn't publicly available.

However, that won't prevent me from commenting! After all, Rey turned away from the Palpatines and chose to become a Skywalker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2020


J. J. Abrams hates space

Sure, but Abrams is also one of the few filmmakers to treat space and air as having three dimensions. See also Nicholas Meyer in ST2, but that's sort of one very limited trick.

That first shot of Kelvin where you only realize a second later that she's upside-down, Enterprise moving underneath the Space Wreckage, so much maneuvering in SW7 and 9... good shit, even when the story is crap as in SW9.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:11 AM on October 7, 2020


Finally saw it, and I think I'm with the new little conedroid: No thank you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:58 PM on December 20, 2020


Fast forward to the middle. Quicksand. Literally TV quicksand, like this is some Gilligan's Island episode.

I had brought along a selection of airplane size liquor bottles in case Rise of Skywalker turned out to suck. This scene was when I opened the first one.
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:52 AM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


On Twitter, Gallus Ren has a thread of excerpts from "The Art of The Last Jedi" and "The Art of The Rise of Skywalker". The contrast between the thought processes behind the two films is really something.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:37 PM on December 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


We finally got around to seeing this, and maybe this is covered here or elsewhere, but: Isn't Rey evil now? I mean, wasn't Palpatine's plan A to have her strike him down and become the new Sith emperor? He was temporarily distracted by plan B (absorb the Rylo power), but when that failed, they went straight back to plan A as far I could tell. Palpatine threatens and kills, Rey becomes enraged and strikes him down. Plan A complete. This was the same plan as in RoTJ, except there Darth Vader stepped in and kills him, so Luke was protected. But Kylo doesn't do that here, and Rey is the one who strikes down the emperor, thereby completing the plan as attempted in RoTJ and again here. So now we get another trilogy of her becoming the evil emperor, right? Which would be perfectly appropriate, since it would be yet another remake, this time of the prequel trilogy.
posted by chortly at 4:33 PM on December 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Well, but she had all of the Jedi force ghost mojo and two lightsabers and reflected the lightning and uh...

I just don’t know. None of this movie made any sense at all.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:03 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Well, there was nothing in the movie that indicated a change to evil, so Imma go with nope.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


The ending felt so unfinished that I doubt even the writers could tell us what happened there. Swear to God when the soundtrack dropped for Rey's last line, I about expected her to say "and I am Iron Man."
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:44 AM on January 1 [4 favorites]


I would watch that movie
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:01 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


Have it running in the background now, which isn't a defensible critical position, I confess. But it's struck me that this film is literally nonsense - one random thing happening after another for no good reason, stitched together with largely content-free declamations. Very kinetic, very pretty, but in terms of normal understanding of cinema it's gibberish. Would it, perhaps, be useful to watch Star Wars films on that understanding, as a sort of light show? As a piece of cinema it's not tremendously successful, but it's a triumph at being ... whatever it is.

I have no idea what that might be, though.

Perhaps one might chop it up into its constituent scenes, then randomly rearrange them in software. All sorts of meanings could be derived from the correspondences between scenes. Even, perhaps, one in a million times, a coherent movie.
posted by Grangousier at 4:18 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I notice that Rey demonstrates Jedi powers greater than that we've seen before, but still manages to lose a fight with the robot shooty training-softball, which is a day one exercise. I suspect I'm not the first person to notice this.
posted by Grangousier at 4:20 AM on September 6


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