Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker: Non-Spoilery Questions

I have now seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker twice. But it’s way too early to post a proper review. In the past I’ve posted non-spoilery thoughts on the new trilogy (see here and here) and then spoilery posts later: see herehere, and here. But this time I had the idea to do a non-spoilery review consisting of questions that I was asking before, during, and after the movie. Some of these questions are answered in the movie. Some of them were prompted by the movie. Many are meta-questions about fandom’s relationship with the movie. There are even a few philosophical bits! I'm not sure how it will go, but I've got a good feeling about this.

  • Is it possible to like both The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker? Or hate both? Or love one and hate the other? Or just enjoy both as Star Wars movies? How are the two movies related? 
  • How is The Rise of Skywalker related to all the previous films?
  • How does Rey’s arc in this trilogy get resolved? How about Kylo Ren? Finn? Poe?
  • How does The Rise of Skywalker handle Leia and fans’ collective grief about the loss of Carrie Fisher?
  • How does it include some of my favorites from the new trilogy, like Maz Kanada and Rose Tico?
  • How much fan service is too much? Is there good and bad fan service? What is “fan service” anyway?
  • Did J. J. Abrams and/or Disney cater to the toxic fanboys?
  • Can a movie remedy a terrible cinematic injustice from 42 years earlier?
  • Is there any pleasing Star Wars fans?
  • Do you really want all of your questions from earlier Star Wars films answered?
  • Can you like something but also criticize it?
  • Do your favorite characters from previous Star Wars movies return? 
  • What about new characters?
  • Can Star Wars create more cute characters? Will we ever tire of cute Star Wars characters?
  • How funny should a Star Wars movie be?
  • Are there Force ghosts in this one?
  • Should you underestimate a droid?
  • Is the past ever as dead as we think it is? Is nostalgia often a bad thing, forcing us to become obsessed with abilities that some consider to be ... unnatural? Is hate always lurking in the uncharted regions of society?
  • Can we overcome evil if we work together and have hope for the future?
  • How do our pasts and our choices come together to make our identities? Are we free to ignore the past? Or does it need to be acknowledged in order to move into the future?
  • How does The Rise of Skywalker wrap up the 42-year saga of Skywalker family drama?
  • Should Star Wars fans see The Rise of Skywalker to try to answer these and other questions for themselves? I’m going to cheat and answer this one: Yes, definitely!

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