The latest Star Wars film is out, and a lot of people have a lot of opinions about it, including culture editor Sam Brooks who saw a midnight screening last night. These are his fast reckons.
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, obviously. Did you read the headline?
Look. Nobody wants a review of the latest Star Wars film. You’ll see it and have your own thoughts about it, and you should be allowed to have those. For better or worse, Star Wars is a franchise now, and like any other franchise, we should be allowed to have our own opinions about it, free from harassment. Star Wars is basically like Subway now. It feels good to consume it, and then you start thinking about all the problems and start feeling a bit gross.
But, I did pay my own human dollars to see Episode IX (too many episodes) in Event Cinemas Gold Class (flex) last night, so here’s a few thoughts. For clarity, I enjoy more or less every Star Wars film I’ve ever seen, and I’m a big fan of the Expanded Universe, at least as far as video games go.
If that makes you disregard my opinion, I can happily direct you to a blank internet tab. For the rest of you, here we go!
- Is it wild that every opening scroll in this particular trilogy seems to have very little connection to the preceding film in it? Like, they could be setting up films with no relation to each other.
- People are going to pick this film apart, and lord knows, I do not want to be here for it. No piece of art can survive that and to be frank, no Star Wars film is good enough to survive having its every moment torn apart.
- Adam Driver is, unfortunately, a very attractive man. Or is he just a big man? The science is inconclusive. He’s had to carry most of the emotional weight of these films, or at least the complexity, and he does a great job at lending specificity to a character who is mostly dark, brooding and tall. There’s always at least one performer in each trilogy who has to bring the depth, and these films are lucky that they’ve got Driver to do that.
- Keri Russell is in this film, which is a wild reunion for her and JJ Abrams. Where does this fit into the Felicity universe?
- But in all seriousness, Keri Russell is quite good in this film, even if it shows her actual face (really just her eyes, framed with impeccable eye makeup) for maybe like a minute and a half. She has a very good acting voice! This is your daily dose of Keri Russell critical analysis.
- There is a LOT of Force stuff in this film. If you don’t like Force stuff, don’t watch this film. Also, maybe not any Star Wars?
- Daisy Ridley remains, as always, an alternate universe Keira Knightley. Leela Lightley, you might say. She is fine! I can’t wait to see her give a performance that isn’t Rey.
- It’s wild that Bill Weasley is in this film. And he gets killed quite easily, quickly and funnily, for someone who has been in all three films.
- Richard E. Grant is in this film! As General Pryde! Which is not some kind of queer representation, or if it is, then it’s as a slyly coded Nazi general. And I don’t think my community is quite ready for that.
- This is a more general sort of thing of Star Wars question, but why did the people who made droids not just make them speak English/Basic Galactic? What purpose does it serve to allow them to speak a new language, unless you want to take a robot uprising at some stage? Anyway, R2D2 is a collaborator and nobody talks about this enough.
- Carrie Fisher is very much in this film, a lot more than some people who were actually alive to film it! I have no strong opinions on this, it’s fairly seamless. I have a lot of opinions on the fact that her mother Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in the Rain, life in general) died literally the day after her. In my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine a move to upstage someone better. Well done, Debbie. You knew when the jig was up. Anyway, Carrie Fisher is in this film, either by crafty use of old footage or reanimation.
- Merry from Lord of the Rings is in this film. They don’t give him a name, so I’m sure as shit not going to.
- Two people who are barely in this film are Kelly Marie Tran and Lupita Nyong’o. Remember that Lupita Nyong’o is in these films, and is a really great, Oscar-winning actress? I’m glad you do, because the people making these things sure don’t.
- What do you think Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal, Brothers and Sisters, Harrison Ford’s wife) thinks of Star Wars? Do you think she cares? Harrison Ford has a cameo in this film.
- Why is Rey the first Jedi to hold a blaster? Some ranged combat capacity seems real helpful for someone who just has a light sword! Please don’t correct me if I’m wrong.
- Speaking of lightsabers, there’s a lot of them in this film. They are, as always, cool. This is one of the few Star Wars facts not up for debate.
- Do you think C3PO is gay or just camp?
- Darth Sidious is in this film, and I hope Ian McDiarmid got paid a lot for it. He’s been playing this role for 40 years, and somehow always manages to play Palpatine as being a couple of centuries old. Which is wild, because McDiarmid can be no older than 117 in real life.
- Jodie Comer is in this film for like two scenes! She is weirdly famous to be doing these kinds of gigs now!
- Lando’s back! Billy Dee Williams is cool.
- I feel like a lot of people will have a lot of problems with this film. I recommend muting ‘Star Wars’ on Twitter. I did it a few days ago, and it’s made my life immeasurably better. I love Star Wars, but I absolutely hate people talking about Star Wars. He says, as he writes one of a million Star Wars takes clogging up the internet.
Look, ultimately, you have to find your own path with this one. It’s the ninth film in the biggest film franchise in the world. Chances are you know what you’re going to think of it before you even buy your ticket, and what you get out of that experience.
Do you generally find Star Wars films delightful? You’ll find this delightful. There’s a lot of moments of wonder, and it wraps up the trilogy in a fairly satisfying way. It probably won’t hold up outside of the big-bang-boom of a cinema, but you won’t hate it if you watch it on TV in a few years’ time.
Do you hate Star Wars films or have no interest in them? You probably won’t like this one! Why are you reading this article? Go read this amazing article about the hidden history of the Dawn Raids at Western Springs College instead.
Are you a super fan of the series and have endless conversations with fellow fans about which films are better, what is canon and what isn’t? You… probably won’t love this one! Or anything, ever again. You are a super fan and have to resign yourself to being consistently disappointed by the thing you love. Thanks for playing!
Oh, also, BB-8 is the best thing about this trilogy. This is not up for discussion.
You can watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at literally any cinema for the forseeable future.