I mean, what's the point? Maybe you've read the reviews and the gleeful way in which it's being kicked around on Twitter and YouTube like a dead pigeon, and made up your own mind already. Maybe you've seen it and liked it or didn't like it, so nothing I can say is going to change your mind regardless.
I've established I've got a personal connection to Star Wars - albeit not so indoctrinated that I universally, unconditionally, love everything to do with it - and my reasons for why I may or may not have enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker will be different to yours. I know these aren't just films for me. They're something more important now. There's no better evidence of that than how embarrassingly crushed I was by The Last Jedi.
Even so, did I get angry when others liked that film more than I did? No. Did I get angry at the way some were driven to attack members of the cast and drive them offline? Yes. Did I get irritated that the furore around it has failed to die down, that it has continued to be stoked by opposing camps? Absolutely. I wish all that shiz would just go away, and the fandom can hold onto what unites them, rather than what divides.
But these are strange times in which we live. It's a vain hope.
Suffice to say... with my Star Wars space baggage clutched to my chest... I liked The Rise of Skywalker a lot - maybe even loved it. Might that be a result of lowered expectations? Maybe. The reviews have been brutal - I went into the cinema expecting this to be a film that was fundamentally broken, that nobody could enjoy on any level.
But... I don't think it was just that. I liked it because it felt like Star Wars. It was fun and funny and creepy and weird. It did new things. It felt fresh and classic at the same time. I liked it because - controversial - I enjoyed it.
In fact, I think this might be my favourite of the entire sequel trilogy. And I say that as somebody who thought The Force Awakens was great.
Maybe my feelings will change a bit over time, or when I've seen it again, but I tend to stay liking stuff that I like (though I have been known to have things grow on me... specifically: fungus under my moobs).
In fact, this won't be a review so much as it is going to be a rant. Because one thing I did feel in the wake of watching this is anger, unbridled and engorged. It took a couple of minutes for it to surface, but man... soon enough, I was wheezing like a bassoon! There'll be a video at the end where you can see this terrifying rage in full effect.
"But wait, Mr Biffo - I thought you said you liked it?"
Stick around, kid.
About 20 minutes into The Rise of Skywalker I had a moment of profound confusion. Where was all this wall-to-wall fan service the reviews have banged on about? I'd been braced for having Easter egg after Easter egg shoved down my throat, expecting to emerge from the cinema even fatter than when I went in. However - particularly compared to, say, The Mandalorian, which everyone loves unconditionally - the fan service in this film is never excessive.
I mean, the most recent episode of The Mandalorian featured a vehicle that had only ever been a toy! That's deep, unbernerd, fan service, and there's nothing remotely like it in Skywalker. Nobody's having a go at that and awwwww... it has a Baby Yoda in it!
That, more than anything, is what suggests to me that the reaction is about something else. There's more behind this drubbing than the film itself, and I think it's to do with the cultural narrative surrounding Disney-owned Lucasfilm, Johnson vs Abrams, and the sequel trilogy in general.
And that's what makes me angry; even if you didn't like it - which is fine - it's not some badly-made disaster. At worst it's a competently-made movie that might not be for everyone. Again, that's fine.
But that's not what's going on. Far too many people are clearly making up stuff about it, or exaggerating their issues wildly, and I'm finding it excruciating. Worse, I suspect many of them aren't even doing it consciously, or clear why they're doing it.
What's there in terms of fan service feels appropriate to the story, and... and... while we're on it, where were the lashings of unnecessary exposition, the choppy editing, the confusing plot, and all the other cinematic crimes it has been accused of...? Yes it moves fast, yes it's a series of fetch-quests - but so were the Indiana Jones movies, which at times this feels like it's paying direct homage to.
I got teary precisely three times - which I don't think I did in either of the previous two movies - and they weren't at things I'd expected. And at no time did I feel anything in it was disrespectful to Rian Johnson's work on The Last Jedi. Unless you really felt that the story in that set up Rose to be a major player in the finale, or you went into this one expecting to see more people milking space animals.
I mean, uh... what's going on here?
What is this complete train wreck of a movie people are seeing? Why are people saying they're so disappointed? Are they really disappointed, or are they just saying it, because that's what the crowd wants to hear - because that's the narrative now: that Disney Star Wars sucks? Have they been conditioned to think they're disappointed? I wasn't disappointed. The film wasn't a mess at all. Like, even objectively I think you'd struggle to say it was confusingly-paced.
And yet people are doing just that, so I'm kind of confused. But also I'm not confused, because this is what happens now.
I'm so tired of it. I'm tired of in-fighting in fandoms, and collective pile-ons, and people taking so much glee in having a thing to hate, or hating a thing because it's not precisely the thing their entitled little souls think they want. I'm tired of people, and all their selfishness, and how they just want to drop grenades in laps, to the cheers of the crowd.
This isn't some Star Wars fanbaby tantrum, because it's not just about Star Wars. When I was growing up, we still liked and disliked the same things, but there wasn't this level of noise. If you disagreed with people you didn't attack them. You might've bickered and debated and people could still be dicks, but it wouldn't be such life-changing nastiness.
The anonymous weaponry of social media seems to have brought out the worst in us.
So no, it's not just Star Wars - it's everything. It's what the Internet has done to society. Entitlement and Extremism is the symphony that'll play as the world boils to death.
It makes me want to just be done with it all. Unplug from social media - and media in general - and just stay in my bubble where there are fewer idiots with agendas, who don't know why they do what they do; puppets for their own foibles.
I'm frustrated that I too often keep opinions to myself, because no matter what you say nowadays somebody is going to view you as The Enemy. If you dare to have an opinion that doesn't fall at one end or other of the Opinion Spectrum then gawd help you - you're on your own, and nobody's your friend.
And I'm so utterly worn down of people doing things for a quick dopamine hit - by doing whatever will garner the most attention - instead of for reasons that are congruent and true and healthy.
Everyone's locked into a feedback loop of action-reaction-reward, because it's so quick and easy. God forbid you live in way that grows you as a person, that lifts you up out of your rut. No, let's all just stay locked in the pattern, scrabbling around and around, in an ever-decreasing loop of self-interest. Oh, yes let's all stay in our tribes, lashing out wildly, and only reaching out if we think our actions make us feel like we are A Good Person. Self-interest cosplaying as compassion and outrage.
Nobody wants to reveal who they really are. But then who can blame them? Be honest and open, and true to your self, and you invite attacks from the extremes on either side.
Anyway, C-3PO is the best character now.
Aaaaand... that's my review of The Rise of Skywalker!
OUT OF RESPECT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN IT, PLEASE KEEP ALL COMMENTS SPOILER-FREE (IF THEY CONTAIN SPOILERS, THEY'LL BE DELETED)
Here's a video: