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Rise of Skywalker’s Hot Take: Strong Woman are Weak

Mason Masotta
mtm1027@plymouth.edu

Winter break wasn’t going to keep “The Rise of Skywalker” from getting the editorial beating that it deserves. In the end, the Grim Reaper for Star Wars took the form of Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, and plenty of other inept filmmakers obsessed with pretty lights.

The movie has been out long enough that I don’t feel I need to censor plot points. If you haven’t seen the film by now: SPOILER ALERT.

There, I did the thing.

Emperor Palpatine is alive! Yes, with no actual plot left in this slowly dying universe, they decided to revive one of the oldest villains in cinema to try and justify why anyone should even care anymore. And that is the biggest problem in this film. I’m just not sure why I should care anymore.

The Rebellion—or Resistance, or whatever—is still on the run from Kylo Ren’s First Order. But now the Emperor is back with a fleet of Death Star ships that can blow up hundreds of planets at a time. Is this not the most cartoonish thing you’ve ever heard? Several of the last few movies gave us planet destroying weapons, but now we have thousands. Amazing. What fantastic escalation from movie to movie.

The whole film is an “Indiana Jones” type treasure hunt where our heroes have to find the clue that will help find them find the next thing and then the next thing until hey look! We’re at the finale! Stop thinking and look at the explosions! Every scene is just “we have the thing so now we’ll find the next thing.”

Truly, geniuses crafted this intricate narrative.

Our valiant hero, Rey Nobody returns as the sole remaining Jedi in the galaxy. She has spent an unspecified amount of time after the last film training with Leia and is now still the greatest Force user that has ever lived. She finally can stop Kylo Ren and The Emperor before they doom the galaxy. (Well, she was always able to beat Kylo Ren but can “really” do it now). There’s only one problem: Rey is in love with Kylo Ren. Queue suspenseful music.

Now, I can appreciate that everyone loves Adam Driver. He is a very talented and charming actor. The issue is that Rey loving Kylo makes no sense at all.

Here are just a few of the awful things that Rey has seen the former Ben Solo do: Murder his own father; help to enslave millions children to be used as Stormtroopers; blow up five populated planets; and literally attempt to kill her several times.

Here are the good things she has seen Kylo Ren do: Look good shirtless and… sense something good deep within him? Yeah, I’m convinced too.

I don’t know if a more sexist film has ever been made. Why is the film sexist? What it wants you to believe is that the female protagonist is entirely controlled by her emotions. The film does not respect the character of Rey enough to give her a more thought-provoking conflict. She is a woman, so she can’t help but fall in love with the handsome hunk of a villain.

There are plenty of conflicting themes in this mess of a story, but maybe none as offensive as what they do with Rey and Kylo. Rey has been championed as a female superhero for girls to look up to, yet embodies the toxic mentality of “but I can change him.”

So uncivilized.