After I saw The Force Awakens, I eagerly wrote a blog about it. My reaction was ambivalent at best. I was irked a bit by the logical inconsistencies in the script and the ill-defined world. But my expectations and excitement for the Last Jedi grew over the following two years. It was going to be the movie that would make up for The Force Awakens shortcomings, deliver on its setups, expand the mysteries, and build some characterization for the new main characters, Rey, Poe, and Finn.
Instead, The Last Jedi killed the franchise for me. It was stunningly awful. It wasn’t merely B movie awful or boring. It transcends awfulness. Each and every scene is a eldritch winding of poor writing that will drive you mad if you trying to untangle it.
I attempted to write a review of it, just as I did The Force Awakens, but I quit when I realized I wrote 2,000 words and hadn’t gotten past the opening scene of the film. It just wasn’t worth the effort because I didn’t care enough about the film to finish the review. It wasn’t worth my words.
Fast forward another year and a half and here we are seeing the teaser for Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker.
No, I’m not going to link to it. It’s as bad as the Last Jedi. It exalts the character of Rey who hasn’t actually done anything in two films except fight Kylo Ren to an inconclusive battle and lift some rocks. I still don’t know why she’s even doing what she does or why anyone trusts her or relies on her. I don’t know how she became so proficient in the force or why she is more powerful than anyone else in the saga, save for the plot device/character of Snoke.
The Episode IX teaser opens with Rey flipping backwards over a speeding TIE Fighter, likely Kylo’s craft, and preparing to slice it with her light saber. It’s the centerpiece of this teaser, the first thing we see of this conclusion to the saga, and it’s so dumb for so many reasons:
- Rey can lift several hundred tons of rocks with the force, but doesn’t smash the craft into the ground or rip its engines off.
- Kylo or whoever pilots it decides to close into melee range of someone wielding a light saber instead of just shooting her.
- The craft has no shields or armor.
- Rey didn’t need to back flip to slice the craft; she could just duck beneath it or step to the side or throw her saber at it.
The scene belongs in a bad anime or video game, not in a Star Wars film. People have been referring to it as “jumping the TIE Fighter,” a snarky reference to the old term of “jumping the shark.” That’s very much on point.
Everything else that follows or fills in between this “scene” is just nostalgia marketing or more mystery boxes. Palpatine can be heard laughing at the end. Big deal. All that means is something will get made up out of nowhere, with no set up, to bring Palpatine back in some form. I guess no one ever caught onto his plotting in the 30 years between Episodes VI and VII.
I don’t care anymore. It doesn’t matter to me who Rey’s parents are or hearing Palpatine laugh. None of these mysteries or hooks have any meaningful payoffs. It’s all just a series of a–pulls at this point in a desperate attempt to salvage absolutely poor planning.
And that’s the worst thing in my mind. This continuation of the saga wasn’t planned out from the beginning. With a multi-billion dollar franchise on the line, they REFUSED to do the necessary work to meticulously plan and script out all three films before they even thought of casting and shooting them. It’s inexcusable.
Lastly, The Last Jedi destroyed the film version of the character of Luke Skywalker, reducing him to a coward and child-killer. It’s insulting to have the title of Episode IX further desecrate the memory of such a well-loved character.