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(Minor spoilerettes ahead.)
Much like The Force Awakens, as a movie, and even as a Star Wars movie, it’s hard to find fault with how Skywalker rises. Granted, J.J. Abrams seems terrified of showing any emotion, judging by the way he cuts off any meaningful exchange before it finds too much depth. And–again like TFA–this movie is rife with leaps in plot and logic that even the thickest of minds would find hard to overlook. But there’s struggle, and exotic planets, and spectacular lightsaber duels, and the wreckage of the Empire-Rebellion war that made such an impression in TFA.
And on paper, Abrams even does a fair job of completing the nine-movie arc that began more than 40 years ago.
But still… is The Rise of Skywalker the mighty final chord we were expecting and hoping for after over four decades and almost 25 hours of saga?
In much the opposite way that Endgame, and The Deathly Hallows, very much are worthy, narratively an emotionally satisfying, impactful, and moving finales to their respective sagas.
It’s almost like Abrams had all the dots, and knew how to connect them, but failed to see that a straight line may be the shortest path, but a curve creates the more satisfying image. It’s almost like Abrams phoned in the emotional arcs. Like he fell for the sunk-cost fallacy: when given a choice of cutting a scene that supported the narrative arc and furthered emotion and character development, or deleting a cool-but-expensive action sequence, he went with keeping the expensive bits, and left the important bits on the cutting room floor.
I guess anyone who, like me, managed to watch Lost to the end shouldn’t be surprised at the fact that Abrams cannot complete a flawless dismount to save his life.
But Star Wars deserved more than this.