This review is spoiler-free. Don’t worry, you’re safe!
“Story Overload” is a dangerous disease. TV Shows can suffer from it. Books can suffer from it. Movies can suffer it. But more commonly, unplanned trilogies can suffer from it. “Story Overload” is the contagious concept of a movie having to many plot points, schemes, and objectives jam-packed into a limited amount of time. There is a masterpiece hidden in the lethargic cluster of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, woefully annihilated at the hands of this rotten illness.
Here are some of the drawbacks that a narratively overbooked final entry like The Rise of Skywalker can often exemplify: chaotic editing, misplaced fan service, a lack of explanations, illogical plot holes, a reliance on story conveniences, the following of familiar ground, nostalgia porn, etc. There is mere to nothing that works in The Rise of Skywalker, truly. The “Story Overload” infection has fabricated one of the biggest catastrophes in the history of cinematic blockbusters—an entity that feels more like a collage of unavoidable ideas than a narrative yearning to advance as a wonder of its own. This is not movie-making; this is a soulless task to check off the many things fans wanted answered, redirect its wings away from its daring predecessor, and stressfully end a franchise. It’s strategic merchandising, not movie art.
Disney’s trilogy had a sturdy start, a spark of potential, and was quickly ruined when the studio decided to not plan the whole affair out before laying a finger on the camera. Maybe if they had handed Abrams the entire trilogy, allowed Rian Johnson to craft his own series, and planned out the whole narrative before even thinking about production, the ninth and final part of the Skywalker saga would’ve been extraordinary. Instead, the darkest entry in the trilogy manages to also be the most exhausting. Hopefully, this adversarial failure can be a “wakeup call” for fans to take a break, look away, and let the legends rest for a little while before returning once again for fourth rounds of George Lucas’s imaginative yet fatigued galaxy.
“Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” will be released in theaters on December 20, 2019.