TroysFilmclub’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was quite okay with "The Force Awakens", and I was not originally a part of the "Last Jedi sucks!" bandwagon.
But I do think that "The Rise of Skywalker" is a truly mediocre, disposable, and eventually kind of boring Star Wars film.
The prequels just plain sucked, we all know that, and there's nothing we can do about it now but occasionally look at them, laugh and point fingers. But here, it's like the people behind the scenes were given all the right tools, had tons and tons of goodwill, but then just went out and built a pretty house that nobody would want to live in.
I have two main problems with the new trilogy: First, I don't think the overall story is particularly compelling, in fact, I would have to try very hard to recap it in a way that would make it sound exciting.
And second, I never really connected with these characters, not beyond the occasional chuckle or nod. They're all fine actors, but I don't care about Rey, Finn, Rin Tin Tin, Oscar, Big Bird, Bee Bop a Lula, MC Hammer, or even Alf. They never inspired me to follow them along on their journey, and this was the first Star Wars film were I wasn't looking forward to finding out what would happen next, because there was nothing set up before that interested me in any way.
Oh, the film tries. It really does. But the thing is, it only knows how to connect with the audience through all the motions and phrases it is already familiar with, without ever being able to break free from the conventions of a generic modern-day franchise blockbuster. This is the film that panders and flounders at the same time, and I gotta say, it almost felt a little condescending. The makers seemed to believe that if they dress their movie up like Star Wars, the audience will accept that it actually is Star Wars. But this has been tried and done already many, many, many times before in the last 30 years. In fact, the reason science-fiction blockbusters have gotten so interchangeable of late, is because so many of them try to sell everybody on the idea that THEY are the new Star Wars!
This installment has less memorable set pieces than the last two, but has plenty of noise to offer instead. Lots and lots of noise, and always hanging on to the idea of excitement, without there really being any.
Which leaves only a few wanna-be crowd pleasing aces up the sleeve, that the film proudly throws in our faces in the second half, but by then I was already long gone, and sick of what these Ladies and Gentlemen were selling. "Oh, you're not having fun? Well, wait till you see who we got for you here in this next scene! You want to see your old heroes again? They're not going to do anything cool, but here, you can look at them for a couple of minutes!"
So was there anything that I actually liked? I would have to say that the light saber battles were excellent, perhaps the best they have ever done, and the only moments that got me genuinely excited for a bit. Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are great together, and their character arc stands out as one of the few things from the new trilogy that are somewhat unique and interesting. Maybe there is a film there. Just not three.
But all in all, this was the big dive into the abyss for me. Now more than ever, I feel that any kind of "cautious optimism" has to become a thing of the past, as well as the casual naive interest for future films.
It really is just nothing but a conveyor belt at this point. And if they don't care, then neither can I.