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Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

"Star Wars Rise O' Skywalker meant to be Avengers Endgame but instead turned out to be Batman V Superman"

Writer at Forbes Scott Mendelson says:

I don’t know what did or didn't happen behind the scenes, but this is the first time, by far, where a Star Wars film’s behind-the-scenes turmoil is glaringly apparent onscreen."

Forbes article then proceeds to comparing the box office (today Boxofficemojo is saying worldwide earnings are at $815,682,706) of Rise of Skywalker to past Star Wars movies and other big budget movies like the Avengers, Harry Potter(s) and the last of the Hobbit movies.

Nostalgia-baiting of Star Wars

Mendelson accuses Rise O' Skywalker with "nostalgia-baiting" but, really, that's been built-in to the franchise from the beginning as the series is based on a minor formula of emulating Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, etc., (something recognizable for part of the audience in 1977 when the first Star Wars hit the screens), combining it with a post-1960s sense of philosophy and religion, all showed to the audience using advanced (for 1977) cinema story telling skills. More in line with Mendelson's statement, though, Lucas' series progressed into mining itself for nostalgia as it rolled along when the Phantom Menace appeared. But that's not all that Lucas tried to do, which brings up the main problem in trying to create a huge, coherant and effective epic tale across decades and decades of Hollywood production.

And production is where Star Wars Rise of Skywalker has it's main trouble, with the rambling, broken up and sometimes ridiculous storytelling gaffes in the early 45 minutes of the movie where re-editing looks the most obvious and damaging. That J.J. Abrams got it together to make better sense later in the movie is indicative of something, either that there was a real master plan in preproduction that made sense, or the original plan for the movie was nuts and Abrams patched together something that made more sense after the fact. (More about this in the review here at comicbookbrain.)

If anything is learned from Star War and its many permutations, from the movies, to the TV shows, animated tales, comic books, novelizations, and of course the toys, is that it is impossible to keep an Odyssey-sized story coherent (and interesting) when written and edited by many hands. The thing DC Comics and Marvel are able to do is to compartmentalize their heroes and their stories, this fragmenting allowing for clever invention and boring disaster to coexist without blowing up the fan base quickly. Maybe Star Wars loyalists can outlast letdowns at the box office, but the corrosion of appeal for a general audience which chiefly wants entertainment versus "nostalgia-baiting" is evident in the declining fortunes of these three Star Wars movies.

Instead of comparing Rise of Skywalker to Batman V Superman, a better comparison is with the three Hobbit movies. The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rise of Skywalker seems to follow the same deterioration of audience that Peter Jackson's Tolkienesque trilogy had (which was a completely different path compared to the earlier Lord of the Rings trilogy, which built audience with each film release). Another good comparison might also be the three Matrix movies. Simply put, the idea that you can place a pop culture hero into anything and make it sell after breaking through to a wide audience is still true, but it is only true on an angle of declining fortunes unless the audience is refreshed with something recreating the appeal. And that's only partially true with these three Disney Star Wars movies.

Our review of The Rise of Skywalker

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Original Page January 2020