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I Watched STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER Three Times. Here's What Happened

Find out what happened when I watched Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker three times. This started out as a fairly straightforward review of the latest Star Wars movie. But it turned into something else after I watched it again. And something more when I watched it for the third time.

So here's my breakdown of all my thoughts after each viewing.


First Watch of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

2.5 out of 5 stars
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

I absolutely love Star Wars. I love Star Wars so much I made an exhaustive (now outdated) chart about all the changes to the movies. I've watched them too many times to count. So the movie that would supposedly end the decades-long series captured my imagination. I like Force Awakens, I'm not a hater of The Last Jedi, but I hate Solo. So you could call me a diehard Star Wars fan and an avid moviegoer.

Walking into the theater Rotten Tomatoes score was fresh in my mind. I saw tweets of critics and comments from others trashing the movie. One critic called it a "video game" and I was all set to hate it.

I did. The movie seemed filled with pointless action scenes, bizarre character motivations and disappointing reveals. 

Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) returns with only a vague explanation of how he survived the fall and explosion. Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) dies in a tragic way only to return twenty minutes later. Leia dies and, unlike in The Last Jedi, it's not really clear why. Her death is sad but feels pointless. Rey (Daisy Ridley) as Palpatine's granddaughter doesn't make sense. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) (I mean Baron Lando) seems wasted and so is Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey kissing?! What happened to Finn (John Boyega) and Rey? Much less Finn and Rose? Why set up the death of C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) for no reason?

Carrie Fisher's scenes seem out-of-place and random. "Never underestimate a droid" and "Don't tell me what things look like. Tell me what things are" don't really fit the scene. It took me out of the movie. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returning is awesome as a force ghost. Zorri Bliss (Kari Russell) would have been better if she'd taken off her mask.

Rise of Skywalker is clearly designed to please fans and apologize for the mistakes of The Last Jedi. But I want more than that in a movie.

I walk out of the theater thinking it's a mess and curse J.J. Abrams for ruining what should have been a cinematic triumph. But I'm the only one. Several people with me say they cried or came close to tears. My wife goes a second time and says the same thing. So I decided to give it another try.

Second Watch of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

3 out of 5 stars
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Since I noticed others had a different reaction I decided to watch it again. This time some of my plot hole questions were answered and others were added. The Emporer was using an ancient Sith ritual. It wasn't just his death. Lando turned out to have a bigger role than I remembered and the final scene with all the ships arriving to help seemed more poignant. Not quite the rousing scene from Endgame but satisfying. His appearance is worth the wait

After watching it again I still hate the movie, but it makes more sense. Carrie Fisher's scenes feel less random and the scene where she trains with Luke is glorious. I notice the voices of the female stormtroopers and it seems oddly out of place but makes sense.

General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) turning into a spy makes more sense. But just a little. I enjoy the movie just a hair more.

Third Watch of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

3.5 out of 5 stars
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Finally, I decided to give it one more go. This time I have an even more different experience. Since there's no expectation or surprise I find myself just watching it. The first act drags on and feels silly now. But the Emporer scene is more enjoyable and I'm enjoying Ian McDiarmid's performance. It feels different from his previous but closer to his Return of the Jedi scenes than prequels. It works.

Lando's reveal is wonderful and I love it. The voices of the female stormtroopers are really distracting for some reason. It feels like every other trooper is a woman. Not that it's a bad idea, but it's just distracting. I'm even angrier about Finn's romantic arc. Every movie sets up a romance and they get dropped in the next movie. 

One thing that surprises me is that Rose Tico has more to do than I remember. A number of fight scenes start with her charging into battle. She doesn't have many lines or scenes but it's not unreasonable. A Rose solo movie needs to happen.

Speaking of solo movies I've decided I love Babu Frick. He's perfect and needs more screentime. Also, D-O is a more complex droid than I remembered. The idea of a droid with PTSD is a good one.

I've decided half the movie doesn't need to happen. Chewbacca's "death" is pointless and adds nothing to the story. It's the emotional equivalent of the cat jumping out to scare the audience. And what's the point of the second Wayfinder? By the time they find it Kylo Ren comes up and destroys it. So why search for it? Just have them get the Wayfinder from Kylo and move on. C-3PO doesn't need to have his memory wiped. It just adds funny moments of him not remembering. But he gets it back in the end so why bother?

The fight scenes are better than I remember. Leia's death makes sense now and I feel a lump in my throat as she dies. Ben's scene with his Dad is a lot more emotional and almost makes up for it. Emotionally the movie makes more sense and I feel a lot more. Not gonna cry or nothin' but it's moving. 

That said the title makes no sense. Skywalkers don't rise. They all die. The ending with her changing her name to Skywalker adds nothing. In the end, a better title would have been Rise of Fan Service. The movie's whole goal is to provide everything fans say they wanted including Chewbacca getting a medal for no reason and shipping Kylo and Rey. The move is headed for a billion dollars again. So it obviously succeeded but doing that took away from the story.

After watching Rise of Skywalker three times it's clear that this is a flawed Star Wars movie. Both fans and critics are right. It's both a good and bad Star Wars movie depending on how you look at it. Am I saying you have to watch Rise of Skywalker three times before you like it? No. But my opinion was colored by negative feedback. Without that, it seemed like it helped.

By the way, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) never did get with Chewbacca. That's the saddest thing of all.

About the Author
Maurice Mitchell has been a passionate science-fiction fan of movies, television, books, and comics since age five. He and his twin brother Nigel created the site "The Geek Twins" to share that passion. Maurice has written and created infographics for sites like The Geek Twins and About.com. His work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, io9 Slashfilm and more.
Read more of his posts | Follow him on Twitter @Mauricem1972 

What did you think of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker? How many times have you seen it? Let us know in the comments below!
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