- Title: The Rise of Skywalker
- Rating: PG-13
- In Theaters: December 20, 2019
- Director: J.J. Abrams
- My Rating: 4/5
There’s something about the Star Wars movies that’s held our attention for over 40 years. And this one does not disappoint.
The infamous Emperor Palpatine–who Darth Vader supposedly killed in “The Return of the Jedi”–has somehow survived. And there’s nothing that he does better than hatch evil plans. This one involves a fleet of star destroyers and the murder of Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), seeing him as a threat to his power, enters Exogol–Palpatine’s evil lair–to confront him. But instead they form an alliance, with the Emperor offering him anything he wants in return for the killing of Rey. But Kylo Ren’s not convinced that he wants her dead. With Kylo Ren, as he’s proved in ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’, you never know whether he has a lightsaber ready to stab someone in the back with. He believes if he can just persuade Rey to join the dark side, together they’d be an unstoppable team.
But Rey has other plans, like finishing her Jedi training and saving her loved ones.
The plot of this movie is fast-paced and easy to follow. The Resistance–the good guys–use their critical thinking to plan their next steps. We watch as Rey, Finn, Poe and others ping-pong across the galaxy searching for a way to Exogol.
The interesting thing with Science-Fiction is that the characters could originate from all kinds of races. The blend of cultures and species is seen throughout the film, making it an international-friendly movie.
Though the plot may lack originality, the dynamic characters make up for it.
Ahh, the characters. I could talk for ages about how well the creators nailed them. One of the greatest reasons why the Star Wars franchise has been able to hold out so long is because of their characters.
Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn and Poe capture our attention from the start and keep us at the edge of our seat. Rey’s distinct personality and willingness to see the light in people makes her a excellent role model. Ren’s conflicted soul mirrors the jagged cracks on his mask. He’s haunted by what he’d done to his father (Han Solo), causing us to see that the choices we make effect who we become.
The actors portrayed their characters extremely well, sparking emotions that make you want to cheer and weep.
The same can’t be said for the villains. More work needed be put into Palpatine’s character, for his motivations were unknown and he was even cheesy at times.
The body count has always been sky-high in the Star Wars movies and it doesn’t lessen in this one. Laser shots, lightsaber battles, explosions and a few swear words (none profane), give it it’s PG-13 rating. Despite what I said about Palpatine’s character, he can get dark at times and may be a little much for younger viewers.
And then, there’s the Force. That energy that gives power to both heroes and villains alike.
In spite of these drawbacks, the themes in this film touch on biblical truths. Identity, love and redemption played key roles in this film.
For most of the sequel trilogy, Rey has struggled with finding out who she is and what role she plays in this story. She later discovers, with the help of Luke, that her worth and who she is doesn’t lie in her blood ties. It’s her heart, her strength, her choices that define her. As Luke Skywalker said, “Some things are stronger than blood.”
Rey shows that you can be a warrior and have a heart. Her kindness is what touches us. Her ability to show love, even to her enemies points to Matthew 5:44.
Palpatine, who feeds on hatred, tells Rey that he feels her loathing. But her answer was, “All you want for me is to hate you, but I won’t. Not even you.”
What I find most powerful in this film is the address to our sinful nature and the power of redemption. In one scene Kylo Ren says to Rey, “The darkness is in our nature… submit to it.”
You may not realize the full impact of this statement and it’s biblical truth. Sin is in our nature, it has been ever since the fall. It’s a choice we all have to make whether to submit to this darkness or resist it.
(MAJOR SPOILER ALERT)
One of the most riveting scenes is when Kylo Ren is convicted of his wrongdoings. With a memory of his father, he puts his sinful natures to death. His father tells him, “Kylo Ren is dead. My son is alive.”
This distinctly reminded me of Ephesians 4:18, “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(MAJOR SPOILER ENDS)
This is a very emotion driven movie. It’s the end of the Skywalker saga and this film ties it up smoothly. Though it does contain several flaws, the life lessons and themes fly higher. While the characters who’ve stolen are hearts are gone, they won’t be forgotten. Though this movie shows a lot of physical strength, Luke reminds us that’s not where strength comes from.
“In the heart of a Jedi lies (their) strength.”Luke Skywalker, The Rise of Skywalker
And that’s a nice quote to remember as we face adventures of our own.