Since The Rise of Skywalker has the cameo of John Williams tending a bar surrounded by references to every one of his 51 Oscar nominations. (52 now, I guess, since he got one for this movie too) it is a good time to point out how awesome he is again. All the themes and motifs he's created and weaved through the Star Wars franchise will be referenced and arranged for generations to come as the source of Star Wars soundtracks.
This is why Finn never had to specifically say he wanted to tell Rey he was force sensitive. The proper Force related tunes played whenever he mentioned having a feeling. Finn's connection to the force may be what causes everyone he meets to fall in love with him. Anabelle pointed out that it's because he truly wants to be loved. The mantle of Captain Continuity is safe for the future.
Here at the end of the whole run, the same evidence from the start came back to me about how "line of sight" all Star Wars tech is. Binoculars are all over the franchise.
It really does feel like this film and the previous one, while both tying back to the start of the Sequel Trilogy, are from separate story lines. Kylo Ren points out Palpatine doesn't know they are a dyad in the force...but Snoke (who was a Palpa-puppet) said he created the connection between them in Last Jedi.
Finn's character arc completed in the Last Jedi, and Poe's sort of did too, but he got a tacked on back story here to allow more development. Additionally, it shows him as someone who's been alone and now has a true family like the other two leads.
Kylo Ren starts out in the opening scene as a dangerous, unhinged independent dark side user who has the power and will to command. Then he ends up as an apprentice again. The return of the mask also brings back the question that was nicely ended in the last go around of who is Kylo Ren and who is Ben Solo?
Hey, Artoo has an RS-232 port. Nifty!
The reason he stays at the base when Threepio goes on missions?
He's older than his companion. When Threepio was just built in Phantom Menace, Artoo was already a battle experienced Droid working for the Naboo government.
These films' Guardians of the Galaxy like usage of lighthearted gags continue to offset the dark themes and moments within them once again.
Using Snap for the "Be Optimistic" bit with Leia (straight out of Robin Hood Men in Tights) when he's a character who makes it through all three of these films, only to get blown out of the sky in the final battle?
Bad form Star Wars.
The Knights of Ren follow a long and proud Star Wars tradition of looking cool and mysterious, yet being ultimately useless. One even pulls a Boba Fett in Empire style stealth follow.
More proof that Rey should be a Skywalker- she's the only one who gives Threepio a choice about the dangerous memory dig.
It was cool having the three main characters together for most of the film. It felt like the original Death Star escape and Jabba Rescue. Maybe they should have balanced their team with more level headed characters though.
When the transport explodes, they all mourn Chewbacca immediately and passionately. Not one of them thinks to check the wreckage. Note that nearly everyone on both sides of the war in that scene has survived a starship crash. In fact Kylo did so about a minute before it in full view of the good guys.
To me, Lando is the perfect human actor return. He looks like he's having a blast and is really glad to be there. His moments are important, but he's not doing heavy lifting of the story line, and his presence doesn't require a loss of everything he achieved in the original trilogy. However, I'm sure I'm not alone in the original fandom, saying we would have liked sequel films earlier, and seen the journey he and Luke took together, instead of these tales. It's telling that when asked how they defeated the Empire, Lando says, "Together," when the original trilogy characters are almost never shown together in VII-IX. The fact that the three new leads are continually together is the torch passing.
From day one, Rey and Finn acted like two very lonely souls who have finally found friendship in their lives.
Meanwhile, Poe arguing with Finn about what Finn can tell Rey and not him sounds exactly like Han arguing with Leia about Luke.
Not to mention the scene where they're trying to rescue Chewbacca from the Star Destroyer and Finn runs up to Poe after he gets hit with a blaster bolt is shot very similarly to the Han and Leia scene outside the Endor Bunker in Jedi.
To those complaining about Rey as a Mary Sue: She's completely outclassed in the duel with Kylo Ren in the waves on the "other" Endor moon. Unlike their first fight when she did better because he had an honkin' huge bowcaster hole in his side. She only wins both major battles in this film because of getting help due to friendship and compassion.
(Knowledge and defense, kids...knowledge and defense.)
More proof of the benefits of watching movies repeatedly, I always caught the obvious bookends of Rey sledding down a sand hill to her leitmotif in her first and final appearances. However, this was the first time I noticed the beginning and ending of her journey being book-ended by wearing a classic trilogy X-wing helmet.
I'll fully agree that this film doesn't line up with the last one ...
or much of the other stuff that has gone before, and I'd really like to see both versions of a logical,complete trilogy using the story elements and characters introduced.
Having said that:
As corny and separate from most of what happened before it all is:
From Poe's rallying speech, through the climactic battle with the returning most terrifying villain in the franchise...
Dang! the ending is inspiring, fun and feels completely like Star Wars.
I'd say being a special effects geek seeing the on screen starship record shattered, possibly for good, makes me get all misty when Lando says, "There's more of us," but I'd be lying...because its that moment that makes me all seven year's old and weepy again.
And the moment when all the Jedi speak to Rey...
And the moment when Lando says, "Not as fast as this ship."
And the moment when Wicket and his son (played by Warwick Davis and his son) show up to celebrate.
And the moment when Chewie gets his medal.
From all of us sentimental old folks, thank you for that ending, Star Wars.
And if The Mandalorian is any indication, thanks for going in epic new directions while keeping the flavor and memory of the past.
However, Star Wars is definitely my "comfort food." It's the one I could most easily rewatch any and all movies (or the Mandalorian) right after just watching them.
May the force be with you... Always.