Now consider how this possibility for kindness and sacrifice, nursed and carried through the bulk of The Rise of Skywalker (and introduced in The Last Jedi, which is, of course, this third trilogy’s second, moral act, just as The Empire Strikes Back is the first trilogy’s), is betrayed at the end with a murder/death/kill of the most graphic variety. It’s a riff, the third one I counted that references Raiders of the Lost Ark, on Nazi and Nazi sympathizer faces melting before the glory of Old Testament vengeance. There’s a lot of talk in these films about how the Jedi religion is ever only for defense–how it’s about taking the path of love, knowledge, and acceptance no matter how difficult (and it’s extremely difficult), rather than the dark path of retribution and fear. And here’s The Rise of Skywalker, at the end of it, reenacting the same cycle of retributive violence that presumably left the film’s bad guy the same bad guy as the bad guy for all the other films. He, this dark Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), even boasts that it was always him behind every bad thing. He’s another serpent in another Jungian basement, his creature design modelled on, of all things, Leviathan from Hellraiser II. If he’s an archetype, he’s Legion. He is every bad thing. The solution the franchise’s own mythology suggests is to accept that there must be a balance between opposite energies; the temporary feel-good sop is that the good guys kill the bad guys.
One of the best articles I’ve read yet on The Rise of Skywalker.