The Rise of Skywalker: The Aftermath

Let’s get this out there first. I LOVED ‘THE RISE OF SKYWALKER’! There, I said it.

Now, how many people just closed this post and threw my name into the internet gutter? Quite a few I imagine.

But why?

Because I declared my enjoyment of a film? Yes. Because my opinion of the film is the opposite of theirs? Most likely.

But why? Do we really live in a world where our opinions of films cause that much disdain in others? Unfortunately that’s the case.

What those readers who closed this post down in anger haven’t done is find out why I loved the film, or heard any of my criticisms, because it’s not a perfect film. It’s not a perfect Star Wars film. There’s no such thing. But our fandom is just so polarised these days it’s hard to feel able to voice our opinions for fear of causing an online incident.

I don’t want to cause a fight. In fact I want to avoid that. Why do you think I have avoided posting on Twitter and only interacting with a limited number of people? I’m trying to avoid the negative discourse which in itself is toxic.

I have seen people throw so much hate at the film for various reasons. Of course the self-entitled “You didn’t do what I wanted.” is there and always will be, but there are some, who have Podcasts which I have enjoyed in the last who have actually said things that boils down to this “I am very well educated and because I have done so much research into myth and symbolism and the people who made the film were wrong because of X, Y and Z!”

Now don’t get me wrong, people are always entitled to their opinions and entitled to voice them. And if we disagree that’s fine, but when it becomes this all-consuming behemoth that leads you to become grief-stricken, depressed or even suicidal because a film didn’t follow your exact expectations then I am sorry but it’s a bit much and maybe, just maybe there’s something else wrong that you need to see someone about (I’m not meaning to sound patronising here at all).

For the most part, I can agree with a lot of the criticisms I see out there. The first act is incredibly full and bogged down by exposition.

The promise of Rose having a bigger role didn’t happen and she was side-lined along with Billie Lourd’s Lieutenant Connix in favour of Captain Exposition himself played by Dominic Monaghan.

There was a lot of Lando Ex Machina going on. He showed up at the most convenient time, all three times he appeared.

These aren’t the only criticisms out there, but they are the ones I really agree with. But do they ruin the film for me? Not at all. Because there are no perfect films out there. Not even Star Wars.

Unfortunately, there is one area of the fandom that seems to be a lot louder about their disdain of the film, and that’s the ‘Reylo’ community. Not all, maybe not most, but a lot. Maybe it’s the vocal minority but it seems like a lot.

I have never been a stalwart ‘Reylo’ STAN, I have sometimes thought about it and if it were to happen how it would play out in a way I would be OK with. We got ‘Bendemption’ which I was pleased with, it was always going to happen, again it depended on how and this was (in my opinion) the best way. The interaction with the memory of his father really knocked it out of the park.

The fact that Ben doesn’t say anything for the rest of the film (other than “Ouch.”) doesn’t bother me. Just look at how Adam Driver played the character, he transformed from Kylo to Ben. And when on Exogol he didn’t have much chance to speak, but he didn’t need to. Personally I feel that the one chance he could have spoken didn’t need words after he brought Rey back to life. That scene between the two was beautifully perfect.

And of course Ben dies. But if we all sit back and think about it, it had to happen. What did we expect, Kylo Ren turns good, stops the bad guy and walks off into the twin suns of Tatooine scott-free? How many people has he killed or had a hand in killing? He would probably get sent to space-jail or put on trial and executed (some systems still had the death penalty). If he survived he would not have had a “happy ending” but in this version, where he saves Rey and she realises that it’s Ben and they kiss and he smiles and then dies, whilst not happy for some fans, it’s a happy end for him. He died happy.

I think that what a lot of people are guilty of is going in with expectations. A list of demands almost that this film didn’t meet for whatever reason. Me? Well firstly I went in having learned everything from Making Star Wars over the last year and despite what detractors have said, Jason Ward was right. Even on stuff cut from the final film, he was right. And you know what? It didn’t ruin the film for me, because all I knew was essentially the outline, broad strokes, plot points. Not the execution. And for me, the execution was great. Messy in places, in need of explanation in others but overall I loved it.

I only wish I could express that more online.

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