Thoughts on “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

It’s always good to catch a movie at the theater, (weather permitting), during the week of the Christmas Octave. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Christmas Day is 8 days straight and the season continues to at least after the Epiphany (Three Magi/Wise Men/King’s Day, January 6 this year). The weather was in the 50s so I figured why not. I saw it, accompanied with the help of room, and with a friend, and his son, who had been wanting to see it and was free last Saturday afternoon. Thanks be to God!

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker
Promotional image of “The Rise of Skywalker,” found on Flickr.

Nostalgia swelled up again as the title scrolled down the screen accompanied by John Williams’ famous score. (I will try not to give away any spoilers). It was a good movie, enjoyable, very satisfying conclusion to the series. Well at least I hope it’s a real, definitive conclusion. They should just leave it alone. In the words of the little safety cone looking droid, “no thank you,” to anything further. I’m saying this because I don’t want the risk of anymore bad Star Wars movies. And I think the last one, “The Last Jedi,” was inarguably the worst of them ever. i mean it was a total parody making fun of Star Wars. A complete joke that can’t even hold a candle to “The Phantom Menace.” I digress. The Rise of Skywalker, while admittedly not the best Star Wars movie (that distinction goes to either a New Hope or Empire strikes back – – I can’t decide), was a good movie, enjoyable, with plenty of quotes from the previous movies of course, because it has to have something to fall back on.

As I watched it I was pleased with the way it kind of corrected the misdirected trajectory of “The Last Jedi.” For example, towards the end of Episode 8, it seemed that the rebel forces went down to just a handful as did the leadership of the “First Order.” Not exactly, according to Episode 9. Also, the question of who Rey’ s parents really, really are is really answered. And how does Kylo Ren will really feel about that “ridiculous” helmet/ mask. Speaking of Kylo/Ben Solo still very much believes in the Force and depends on it contrary to what he seemed to be telling Rey in Episode 8. The movie kind of actually knows where it’s going in terms of the plot. Still, the story and writing is kind of sloppy I think.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will say that there is much redemption in “The Rise of Skywalker.” And there are some good themes:

My friend Mike, picked up on something that had occurred to me as well. The Jedi and all the good guys don’t defeat the Sith and evil forces in isolation. The main character needs the rest of the supporting team to take down the bad guys and this concept applies to the other side as well. This is true of all the Star Wars movies. No one does anything strictly on one’s own power and sole efforts, without the assistance of others, not even Han Solo. This idea, echoed in the movie, is pronounced in the belief of the “Communion of Saints.” Even in death, there is no separation from being in communion with those gone before you. In the case of Star Wars, Jedi ghosts. In the case of reality, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus, especially death, because he defeated death definitively. In Christ, the head of the body, all the members are united whether living on earth, heaven, or purgatory. We can help each other out. Just as the Jedi ghosts offer assistance to the struggling living, the Saints in heaven help out the saints on earth.

One scene that is etched on my mind and will remain so, is seen towards the end. The battle is dire, like Frodo on Mount Doom dire, and it’s up to one person (kind of, but not in isolation) to put an end to the dark forces (for how long in this case, I have no idea. Again, hopefully forever.). It seems that all the evil combined, that we have ever known since in New Hope is being harnessed against someone who is outmatched. But all the good that we have ever seen in the Star Wars movies is also at work. This power flows through the heroic Jedi. We see the idea that one Jedi can possibly have all the power of all the ones who went before. Truth there is to this idea:

Anyone who is is in Christ through baptism, bearing his name, has his life and power flowing through him. We have the Gift of the Holy Spirit, a Divine Person, not a interpersonal force, flowing in us. He unites us, as branches, to the Vine who is Christ. A Christian is united to the rest of the body, through and in the Head. Christ lives in us, including those who went before us. And Christ is one. Therefore all who are in him are one in him, in a real sense. We are one in him and his power that flows in him. All the power of all who preceded us in Christ is ours as well. We can do all things in and through him.

Life in Christ is the gift of God for us at Christmas. We are given a share in the Divine Nature by his sharing in our human nature. By his human birth, our humanity is elevated. The surpassing power is from him; we can do all things through him. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (Psalm 19).

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