Rise of Skywalker: The Final Touch

The final Star Wars debuted in theaters on Dec. 20. The final installment of the series was… surprising. It also raises some quintessential questions about the franchise. Warning, spoilers ahead!


Grinning in front of the credits after the newest Star Wars installment, Rise of Skywalker, Elyse Sommer flashes a double thumbs up, a hallmark of her movie review approval. John Boyega starred alongside Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver in the final film in the franchise, hopefully, that grossed nearly $150 million in its first day. Photo courtesy of Dan Sommer.

Elyse Sommer, Managing Editor

We’ve all experienced the timeless sense of dread that usually accompanies the arrival of a new Star Wars movie, considering that they’ve been coming out since the dawn of time itself. After the latest Star Wars was announced, I totally said, “I can’t take it anymore!” So taking that into account, this one didn’t suck! The movie debuted on Dec. 20 and I saw it on Dec. 21, after it had already grossed nearly $150 million straight out of the gate.  What’s that all about, you might ask, well… The Rise of Skywalker was action-packed, like literally every minute of screen time was crammed with those dinky ray guns and the classic sounds of the ships zooming around space in a race against the clock, and also had some romance, kinda, and a lot of tension, making an interesting film that’s left me with a relatively neutral taste that leans slightly more to the “I’m a fan” side. 


Thank you, Higher Powers of Cinema, for making this last hurrah of a beaten series not so blech.


That probably had to do with the fact that amongst the top-billed cast was my boo thang, Adam Driver.  If I could giggle in writing, I would totally be tittering right now. I love that man with every inch of my movie-loving self, this is not an exaggeration.  The fact that he was in this movie definitely helps develop my more positive perspective of it. 


As my friend Sophie once said, “Kylo Ren Kylo-killed that.” And I think that, without a doubt, applies here. 


Kylo Ren’s character went on such a tailspin of growth that I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride alongst the endearingy hook-nosed actor.  He got a cape and then lost the cape, which seems symbolic beyond just being a mildly terrifying if not dope accessory. He swapped monikers, like a truly well-rounded dude in any action movie, jumping from the Dark Side (literally).  He went from bad to less bad to neutral to good… As if that’s a thing in a two and a half hour movie in a franchise that has hundreds of minutes of screen time? Which is another thing we gotta talk about.  


Who said that over 120 minutes of Star Wars was okay? I’m asking out of professional curiosity, as I had to sit in a theater of either super geeks who were totally enraptured with the film OR with a snoring audience, i.e. my movie partners. Snoring does NOT make for a fun movie-watching experience, as a PSA for all filmmakers out there. Shoot an espresso shot or pop a ton of Warheads (super sour, to the point of pain, candies), anything to not snore… I guess that should speak to how some people received the film, but I am going to willfully ignore that, because falling asleep in Adam Driver’s talented screen presence sort of feels like sacrilege to me. Thank God for the chatty nerds next to me, annoying my sister to the point of actual coherence. 


Speaking of super geeks, I have never been a fan of Star Wars in my whole life, except for the time that I stood in line for over an hour for the Star Wars ride at Disney and sort of felt compelled to be a fan after having wasted 60+ minutes of my young life for it. And I am in no position to be interested in being a Star Wars superfan, yet I found myself wanting to rewatch all the previous ones, which is a phenomenon I would bet few have experienced.  If you have ever wanted to watch all the Star Wars, including the *shudder* prequels, please reach out to friends and family, let them know you are feeling this way. You may be entitled to financial compensation. Just kidding. Anyways, there were some cool flashbacks in the film that made me rethink that I might want to attempt to slog through all 903828 Star Wars movies that came before this one.


While on the topic of things that sorta STINK about the Star Wars trilogy, can we please address the quintessential “pew-pew” guns, the little ones that always make the same exact sounds and are the size of a small handbag that are as common as air molecules in this franchise? You know what I’m talking about. These tiny pistols show up in almost every other minute of the movie and somehow, always manage to miss when being fired by Stormtroopers AND Rebels alike.  The ratio of missed shot to target landed must be like 90 to one, because these guys, despite being in a continual state of war for thirty years, can not shoot a darn gun for their lives! It’s not like the Rebels live on an abandoned jungle planet with plenty of trees for target practice and a lot of time in between saving the galaxy every other week. Oh wait. They do.  


And the Stormtroopers, those loveable little plastic minion dudes. How does one armor manufacturer, theoretically, make THAT many plastic butt coverings and black tights? Why do their cheeks need covering is all I want to know.  And we all know that white armor is flimsy AF, with every Stormtrooper getting shot turns into a smoking ball of CFCs and plastic goo on the floor. I wonder if at the auditions to be a Stormtrooper, the casting department said, “We are gonna throw a tennis ball at you. You get the job if you can throw yourself against a wall ten feet away and play dead really well.” There are a lot of people in the world who are pretty darn good at that, in regards to the amount of background guys in white plastic tidy-whities getting yeeted by afore-mentioned pew-pew guns. 


Not only are the Stormtroopers always dressed oddly, did someone not tell Rey that capri leggings and chunky boots went out of style in the early 2000s? I get the whole draping toga thing, she’s trying to look young while also predicting you to underestimate her, but I don’t get the short leggings, boots, and hidden hood thing.  If you’re gonna wear a hood with a sleeveless robe getup, my one question is, “For why?” And how are the Rebels supposed to pack for these missions accordingly when the planets they hop on for approximately two minutes run the gamut from desert to snowy tundra to giant wave pool? Does Po need to bring his sunscreen, his snow suit, or his canoe? The thought makes my head hurt. 


All I have to say is, “Adam Driver, I love you. Oh and your movie was okay.” 


If you have a thing for weirdly dressed soldiers, old guys we thought were dead actually not being dead but very much alive, and a computer-generated Carrie Fisher, then Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s a good one for you.