Review: ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’ Further Tarnishes The ‘Star Wars’ Legacy

I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. My first experience with Star Wars was when I was 7 years old, watching the original trilogy back-to-back on VHS. When I first saw Obi-Wan Kenobi get into a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader in A New Hope, I was hooked. As I got a little bit older, the prequel trilogy was released and I fell in love again after the beautifully-choreographed lightsaber duels upped the ante. By then, I was able to understand that these film’s were more than just that — they were about legacy.

When Disney announced that they bought Lucasfilm and were doing a sequel trilogy with the original cast, I was thrilled but I didn’t know what to expect. With the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my Star Wars love was rekindled and I looked forward to what would come next. However, what came next was a film that would spit on the legacy of the franchise that I held dear and little did I know that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would become an alienating experience and drain most, if not all, of my enthusiasm for the franchise, leaving Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as my only hope.

Recently, I got the chance to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and while it satisfies the fan in me, I have a ton of issues with it. Regardless of my feelings for The Last Jedi, there’s no denying that it was a well-made film.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker just isn’t. The film that is supposed to be the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga gets muddled down with shoddy editing in the first act, fan service and a crummy antagonist. There’s no time to breathe, no character development and a lot of things are left unexplained. J.J. Abrams and co. seem to sacrifice the story to appease Star Wars fans that didn’t enjoy Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi and that ultimately becomes their downfall. While I definitely enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker more than I did The Last JediEpisode IX is a mess.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker picks up a few years after The Last Jedi. Rey is continuing her training to become a Jedi Knight, Finn and Poe are working together in the resistance and Kylo Ren is on a very secret mission that gets revealed at the very start of the film. General Leia Organa and The Resistance fighters have had their numbers depleted, but they aren’t giving up on finding a way to put an end to the First Order and they might just have a spy helping them from within.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return to conclude the saga as the next generation of heroes and they do what they can under the circumstances. For the first time in the sequel trilogy, the trio works mostly together and the chemistry is so great it almost makes you wonder why it didn’t happen sooner. Ridley seems to finally find her footing as Rey and she gives what I think is the best performance in the film. Finn has matured a lot since we last saw him, and Boyega gives him just the right amount of confidence and swagger. As for Isaac, Poe Dameron has a pivotal role and we get to find out a little bit of his backstory, which ultimately makes him even more charming.

The Rise of Skywalker also features the return of Star Wars legend Ian McDiarmid as the villainous Emperor Palpatine. The use of Palpetine is a wholly unnecessary fan service ploy and he should have never returned. There’s barely any backstory explaining his resurrection, and he’s just there playing his puppeteer role with our heroes and Kylo Ren. Speaking of which, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was absolutely terrifying. I’ve never thought of him as an imposing villain until The Rise of Skywalker and I wish they kept him in the helmet throughout the trilogy. Kylo Ren has the best character arc throughout the movie and Driver shines during his moments with Ridley’s Rey.

Meanwhile, Carrie Fisher’s role in The Rise of Skywalker is bittersweet. She wasn’t around to film Episode IX, so the film uses footage from The Force Awakens and each time she appears it’s pretty off. Billy Dee Williams also reprises his role as Lando Calrissian and he seems pretty chill in his old age. Calrissian is no longer the scoundrel we once knew, but his appearance holds a lot of weight throughout the film. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features some great performances, but the film focuses on action/fun over performance and plot which hinders the film from becoming a high point in the legacy of Star Wars.

Overall Thoughts: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker successfully mends fences broken with The Last Jedi, but this comes with a price. While it succeeds in fan service, the shoddy editing in the first act and the rushed storytelling makes the film succumb to its wounds, leaving the legacy of Star Wars in shambles. I wanted to love The Rise of Skywalker, but I just couldn’t. Although it repaired my broken heart after The Last Jedi put a lightsaber through it, it’s still a poorly-made film. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise, I urge you to go to theaters and judge it for yourself. Who knows? You just might end up loving it.

Score: 7/10

New ‘Titans’ Photos Show Off Aqualad And The Original Team

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Titans Aqualad 01DC Universe has released eight brand new images from the upcoming fourth episode of the second season of Titans entitled, "Aqualad".

"Aqualad" will explore the dynamic among Dick Grayson/Robin (Brenton Thwaites), Donna Troy/Wonder Girl (Conor Leslie), Hank Hall/Hawk (Alan Ritchson), Dawn Granger/Dove (Minka Kelly) and Garth/Aqualad (Drew Van Acker) and how four years prior, their tight-knit family dynamic developed only to have their personal feelings bleed more into their work only to be exacerbated by the arrival of a new villain.

These new images give fans a new look at Drew Van Acker as Aqualad as well as a couple of new looks at the original team united together for action. In particular, we get our best look at how the Aqualad suit translates onscreen in live-action form.

You can check out the rest of the gallery for "Aqualad" by clicking "Next".

Here is the official synopsis for season two:

In Season 2, following the aftermath of their encounter with Trigon, Dick reforms the Titans. Under his supervision in their new home at Titans Tower, Rachel, Gar and Jason Todd train together to hone their hero abilities and work together as a team. They are joined by Hank Hall and Dawn Granger aka Hawk and Dove and Donna Troy aka Wonder Girl. Although these original Titans attempt to transition into a regular life, when old enemies resurface everyone must come together to take care of unfinished business. And as this family of old and new Titans – including Conner Kent and Rose Wilson – learn to co-exist, the arrival of Deathstroke brings to light the sins of the old Titans which threaten to tear this new Titans family apart once more.

The series stars Brenton Thwaites as Robin/Nightwing, Anna Diop as Starfire, Teagan Croft as Raven, and Ryan Potter as Beast Boy. Newcomers for its sophomore outing include Joshua Orpin and Esai Morales playing Superboy and Deathstroke, respectively, while Chella Man and Chelsea Zhang have also joined the cast as Deathstroke’s children Jericho and Ravager. Natalie Gumede has signed on to play Mercy Graves and Game of Thrones star Iain Glen is on board as Bruce Wayne.

Titans season two is now airing on DC Universe.

Source: DC Universe

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Nathaniel Brail

Nathaniel Brail

Running things at HH. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail