A thousand secrets live in me now that I have seen The Rise of Skywalker. I remember back in high school, after The Last Jedi had come out but just before it had turned the internet into a wasteland. Rumors of Palpatine’s return, much like in the start of this film, had begun to spread. I recall saying to a friend, “Oh no, they’re gonna do something stupid like make Rey his granddaughter, aren’t they?”
How I wish I had been wrong.
Let me just get this one out of my system. I hate that Rey turns out to be Palpatine’s granddaughter. It ruins a part of The Last Jedi that I unabashedly love, and those were already few and far between. Rey being nobody, and the message sent from that, was the best part of that film. And they throw it away with foreshadowing that hits like a brick to the head in the first scene of dialogue.
If you’ve seen the film, you know what I meant in my original review when I spoke of the films recurring backpedaling, so I don’t feel the need to break down every instance here. I’m gonna talk about what I liked instead. And I loved everything about when the crew got to Endor. I loved the fight in the wreckage of the Death Star, I loved Kylo’s scene with Han (who saw that coming, it certainly wasn’t me), I was shaken by Leia’s death, everything clicked then and there.
Yes, the third act is reminiscent of Return of the Jedi, to a near extreme. But Palpatine never stops being menacing and entertaining, the sound design creates one chilling atmosphere, and the aerial combat going on outside of that has plenty of great moments too. The final scene between Rey and Ben was also a welcome thing to see.
Like I said in my original review, I found the second half much better than the first. The ending on Tatooine with the twin suns is a great way to close the book on this trilogy. Where Return of the Jedi feels like a film about embracing destiny, The Rise of Skywalker feels like a film about forging your own path.