Dave’s review published on Letterboxd:
after naively attempting to breathe new life into the franchise in the last jedi, j.j. abrams and crew take the path of least integrity. the rise of skywalker works overtime to create absolutely nonsensical and narratively illogical ways to tie these lifeless, hollow characters back to the vintage heroes and villains from the original trilogy. the ideological tug of war between the three films ends up leaving the saga without any satisfying arcs or endpoints - rey’s lineage becoming a harsh rebuke to the last jedi’s ambitious but unsatisfying answer that she is no one from nowhere.
the entire trilogy is so unbalanced and aimless but the rise of skywalker approaches its finality with a genuine air of seriousness that this particular arc in the universe matters. yet it couldn’t be less compelling – not a single endpoint of a single character is earned. rey is an irrelevant husk given Meaning by her lineage with no explanation about her father or anyone else, finn and poe are not even given a sliver of development aside from that they are good pals, and kylo, originally the most compelling new creation of them all is handed the most insulting end to his story…so embarrassing i almost had to look away. the re insertion of the ancient sith is the one thing that caught my eye but even that is squandered and quickly becomes formally awful shots of flickering lights and shadows and there is no actual interest in exploring sith mythology. it simply becomes nothing more than a cheap haunted house ride because disney can’t seem to conjure up horror imagery and aesthetics anymore – remember snow white? sleeping beauty?
the severe lack of stakes also speaks to the marvel-ization of the series. two of the most memorable side characters in star wars are put in grave peril of losing everything only to conveniently be brought back unscarred before it can even be processed what happened to them. the kylo / rey battle is an attempt to recreate the operatic and tragic battles of the prequels in a crumbling set piece akin to revenge of the sith, without any of the build up or emotional resonance or release of what came before. kylo’s hockey pad looking outfit is an apt symbol of this haphazardly put together mess. at least it’s over?
justice for babu frik.
“If Rey in this movie, if someone had told her yes, here’s the answer. You are so and so’s daughter. Here’s your place in this world. Here you go. That would be the easiest thing she and the audience could hear. It would hand her on a silver platter her place in all this. The hardest thing for all of us to hear and the thing that she doesn’t wanna hear and maybe we don’t either is that no, this is not going to be something where it’s going define you. And the fact that you don’t have this is gonna be used against you by Kylo to try and pull him into your orbit. This is going to be hard. And you’re gonna have to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story.”