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Giving Rise of Skywalker another shot Cannoli Send a noteboard - 10/05/2020 05:15:39 AM

Because, lockdown. What else are you gonna do.

First things first. I stand by my criticisms of my original review. This is a very flawed project. In part, because they had to do the work of two films. But there are a bunch of little things in the beginning that feel like they belonged in the middle installment of a trilogy. Stuff like Rey trying to bring down the transport to save Chewie and falling back on Sith lightning. That's what tLJ failed to do, making her seem more like she was succumbing to affection or lust for Kylo Ren or something, rather than being tempted by the Dark Side. More of a 'figuring herself out' type issue than a moral dilemma.

Also, the droid comedy felt more forced and not as smooth. Breaking up the C3-PO/R2-D2 team was probably a mistake, even if BB-8 has his good points. Also Zorii was an unnecessary character, even if she did get them over a couple of plot-humps. Her lines at Exogal were weird and corny, even if they were references to her earlier conversations with Poe. Because we didn't care about her earlier relationship with Poe. But we might have if there was an earlier movie in which to introduce her more gradually where there was more time to establish their history.

But the relationship between Poe, Finn & Rey was pretty good, and keeping them together for most of the movie worked pretty good.

I also have to say that I don't mind the Force shenanigans and new powers being introduced. The attempts by various fanons to establish rules and limits on the Force seem to fly in the face of what Obi Wan and Yoda and even Vader tell us about it in the original trilogy. How can you break the limits on a power for which we were told "size matters not" and which, by comparison, renders the power to destroy a planet "insignificant"? The hinkiest thing, for my money, was the diad bit, but they explained it away sufficiently and in hindsight, explained the out-of-nowhere telecommunications from tLJ. The Sith dagger? Fine with it. Probably shaped if not outright constructed by the Force. The runes did say from which direction to look at it. Ghost Luke catching the lightsaber and raising his X-wing? We've already had Ghost Yoda blowup the tree on that island. Maybe Force ghosts can eert more influence on the material world there. Life-force sharing? It makes sense. Also it's a convenient limitation on why, if they have healing powers, the Jedi don't go around healing everyone all the time, much less regenerating their own hands. Also, there's a thing where after Rey heals the snake, BB-8 has some commentary, and she says "You would have done the same thing." Then, on the abandoned ship, BB-8 finds D-O and activates him, and he says 'battery charged'. BB-8 did the same thing for D-O that he saw Rey do for the snake - shares his battery power. Now, I'm not hugely invested in the droids as people, for me the whole point is that they are NOT people, but it's showing a positive effect from a good example. The thing that makes the Force special is not rules, but the moral aspect.

Also, while I wasn't a fan of the lightsaber combat in the confrontation between Rey & Ren on the Death Star wreck, what I found interesting was the contrast and comparison invited with Obi-Wan's battle with Anakin on Mustafar in "Revenge of the Sith". There's the inverted color scheme and light condition, dueling on machines over water, instead of fire. The Dark Side contestant is defeated but not killed and left behind by the Jedi, and marks the final step in his change from the aspect of the character we have seen through the prior two films, to his new identity. Also, Leia is present at both, sort of. In 3, she was in her mother's womb on Mustafar during the battle, and in 9, she extended her senses or powers to intervene in the fight. And there was the related death of the key woman in the Dark Side duelist's life, Padme dying as a result of Anakin's assault and Leia giving up her life to reach Ben. We even see some symmetry between the combatants, with both duels featuring them blocking each other's blows with the Force as well as their swords. And Han, as the movie says, is not a Force ghost, but Ben's memory, it's kind of a redo of their fatal confrontation in tFA, with Ben even repeating "I know what I have to do, I don't know if I have the strength to do it." Han's touch on his face, too, is the last action he does before being dying and falling, and is mirrored in this one. And Ben draws his lightsaber, but this time to throw it away instead of killing Han. Even Han's final words to Ben, "I know." My headcanon has always been that when he said that Leia before being frozen, he was not being cocky, he was reassuring her, because she'd been pretty nasty to him the whole movie. The two times she says nice things to him, once is with an ulterior motive to get him to stay with the cause, and the other is begrudging praise after he successfully dodges the Star Destroyers for good. And now, when he might be about to die, she realizes this, and has to tell him, but he reassures her he knew, so she does not think he's going to his death with her insecure, acting-out behavior as the last way he sees her. That's mirrored in his final "I know" to Ben, and undoing the sequel trilogy's portrayal of him as a deadbeat dad - if this apparition comes from Ben's memories, then Han had let Ben know he had been loved, that Han had believed in his strength. It wasn't Han coming back from the dead to save Ben, it was Ben looking within himself to find that strength to make amends and set right the harm, and finding it in his memories of, and relationship with, his father. It works pretty good.

Another issue is the Knights of Ren, who seem to be what people called Boba Fett - sinister and seemingly badass, but amounting to nothing in the end. But they actually kind of work as a visual representation of Kylo Ren's power and presence. While Ren is having character development and advancing the plot, the Knights show up as a threat to show Ren's potential to interfere. When he's marching around in their company, it represents his alignment and involvement with the Sith and First/Final Order. So they make a fitting penultimate enemy for Ren to prove his allegiance and ability with the Light Side of the Force. While their competence does not get many outlets for display, there is the fact that they captured Chewbacca rather handily, and assuming competence on their part is better than otherwise assuming Chewie got ambushed and captured, alive and conscious without putting up any fight or managing to alert his friends.

In the final battle, I noticed that Rey was using Leia's lightsaber Luke gave her on the island, which means that Ben is using the other one, made originally by his grandfather, bringing his Vader obsession full circle, by using the weapon Anakin had weilded as a Jedi, rather than obsessing over the mask he had worn as a Sith. And Adam Driver really gave one of the best performances in the movie.

There're still plotholes, like, was Lando really wandering around that other desert planet where they found him, ever since Luke went off to his island hideaway? And in all that time, he never found the wrecked speeder and corpse of the guy he and Luke had been tracking? Didn't go over his ship with a fine-toothed comb for clues?

Another issue is the revelation of the former stormtroopers. Finn's defection raises the issue of how many others might have made his choice, except they never happened to be in the unique circumstances that enabled Finn's change of heart to go unpunished, and for him to have an opportunity to escape. But Jannah and friends prove that it is possible for the stormtroopers to make a choice and do the right thing without being instantly killed. The ones the good guys are fighting are the ones who did not make Finn's or Jannah's choice.

All in all, there's a lot more good stuff in this movie than was apparent at first viewing, not least because the problems with the plot structure and compressed story imposed by the mess of tLJ made the plotholes and truncated characterization the foremost qualities of the film. So maybe try some cooperation next time?

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Giving Rise of Skywalker another shot - 10/05/2020 05:15:39 AM 64 Views

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