I know this is kinda an old discussion now, but I’m new to originaltrilogy.com and for my first post I might as well rant a bit about my least favourite SW film. Negativity bias and all that.
To me, Rise of Skywalker feels more like a corporate product instead of an artistic vision. It does so much pandering and backtracks on themes from The Last Jedi, the WORST thing they could do for this already incoherent trilogy. It also seems like a film afraid of its audience, an example being Chewie’s fake-out death; although that scene actually impressed me, I would be OK with it being a ruse IF they gave the reveal when the characters find it out. But instead they do the reveal at the earliest opportunity, a captured Chewie accompanied by a joyous flourish that’s the musical equivalent of “hey look, he’s alive guys! “We didn’t kill him! Please don’t be angry!”
Bringing back Palpatine and a secret fleet of death-star-level warships - which still do nothing for the film’s low stakes - is the cheapest move since, um, The Force Awakens’ story structure. I don’t even enjoy Ian McDiarmid in this film, that’s how bad it is. His existence WOULD somewhat ruin the ending of Return, only I hear he’s a clone - and what says ‘desperate’ more than having a clone of a previous villain as the main antagonist? I’m not even mentioning the death scene. TROS tries to copy Endgame in so many ways to make the same profit it’s painful to watch.
There’s also the issue of the self-indulgent fan service that featured in Force Awakens being blown up in this movie. By self-indulgent, I mean while The Last Jedi featured nostalgic OT things that furthered the plot, this film doesn’t (I’m thinking Yoda’s theme as Luke lifts his x-wing, and Chewie’s medal). A recurring problem in JJ’s films is things that make sense to the audience but not in the context of the story. Here, it’s Chewie’s medal (Jesus Christ) and that after Chewie’s ‘death’, the characters seem to quickly get over him. There’s no more Rey-Poe tension, which I liked, or anything.
In general, I didn’t like most of the over-saturated cinematography or the over-the-top finale. I actually enjoyed Rise of Skywalker on a first watch, carried along by the revelations, but soon decided that it’s so much about constantly driving its video-game plot that it loses the special moments that really make Star Wars, and is just not a rewatchable film. It’s like it’s designed to be seen - or ‘consumed’ - once, then forgotten.
These seem more like nitpicks than a negative review, I just wanted to say more niche things that MAYBE haven’t been mentioned here. Please understand that I now view The Rise of Skywalker as a black hole of garbage that sucks in even John Williams’ soundtrack, which mostly amounts to previous Star Wars themes in the weirdest places. Also, sorry for writing so much, it feels nice to put my thoughts out in a purely SW-fan website/discussion.