Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's final battle had some major similarities to the epic climax of Avengers: Endgame, but it doesn't come out looking good from the comparison. Disney's two biggest franchises both had endings (of sorts) in 2019: The Rise of Skywalker brought the Skywalker saga to a close, shutting the book on over 40 years of cinema, while Avengers: Endgame was the denouement of the MCU's Infinity Saga, rounding out over a decade's worth of Marvel movie storylines and character arcs.
Although they were two huge blockbuster movies made by Disney to serve as the endings of their respective franchises, the responses to The Rise of Skywalker and Avengers: Endgame couldn't have been more different. Even by the usual standards of a Marvel movie, which are always at least somewhat liked by fans and critics, Endgame was hailed for giving such a fitting send-off to the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. In contrast, The Rise of Skywalker proved divisive and controversial (which has fast become the norm for Star Wars movies) among audiences and reviewers.
For all that, though, the movies do share some other commonalities, including in terms of actual story and character beats. That is, like Thanos, inevitable to a degree when considering the aims of each film, but there are some incredibly similar moments. That's not to suggest they were by design - it's not impossible Disney saw what worked with Endgame and encouraged something closer to it, or at least as much as could be achieved in the edit, but there's no evidence of that - but nonetheless, The Rise of Skywalker's final battle takes after Avengers: Endgame's, only, well, worse.
Rey's "I Am All The Jedi" Echoes Endgame's "I Am Iron Man" Moment
Both The Rise of Skywalker and Avengers: Endgame come down to one moment of ultimate heroism from their main protagonist - Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) respectively. Each of these points comes as a triumphant last moment where, to the shock of the villain, they're able to overcome them and save the day, defeating the Big Bad for good. But while the two scenes share similarities with regards to how they service the plot - though admittedly that could go for many such movies in a broad sense - it's the language used that really cements just how The Rise of Skywalker takes after Endgame.
In Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man's victory is first setup by Thanos (Josh Brolin), wielding the Infinity Gauntlet and seemingly all powerful, saying: "I am inevitable." This is echoed in The Rise of Skywalker by Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who uses his Force lightning and says: "I am all the Sith." Both are lines used to demonstrate the seemingly unstoppable might of the villain, and are part of a call-and-response that leads into the hero's moment. For Endgame, that's the iconic repetition of Tony Stark's "I am Iron Man" line, with the reveal of his own Infinity Gauntlet and subsequent snap. For The Rise of Skywalker, that becomes Rey saying "I am all the Jedi", revealing her second lightsaber and conquering Palpatine. The two lines are even paced almost identically, with the setup, intent, and outcomes the same.
The Ships Arriving In Rise Of Skywalker's Battle Mirrors Endgame's Portals Scene
Even before the respective "I am..." moments, The Rise of Skywalker already feels a lot like Avengers: Endgame for how it sets out its final battle sequence. While having such a large scale battle isn't uncommon, similar techniques are utilized in the two movies in order to raise tension and inspire moments of celebration. The battle above Exegol is going badly for the Resistance heroes, with the fleet no match for the might of Palpatine's Final Order Star Destroyers. The same goes for Endgame, with the few Avengers left struggling against Thanos, and it's easy to contrast shots of a forlorn Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) with the weary Captain America strapping-up but looking very much alone.
Then, of course, the music swells - be it from John Williams or Alan Silvestri - and the cavalry arrive. In Avengers: Endgame, it's Falcon (Anthony Mackie)'s "on your left" before the portals open, leading to a stream of heroes arriving. In The Rise of Skywalker, it's Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) saying: "There are more of us, Poe. There are more of us." It's the last-minute boost of optimism to turn the tide of battle, with the massive fleet arriving to help the Resistance echoing the scores of superheroes coming back to take down Thanos and Co, with specific characters called out (be it Wedge Antilles, played once more by Denis Lawson, or Babu Frik in The Rise of Skywalker, or the close-ups of characters such as Black Panther and Doctor Strange (Chadwick Boseman and Benedict Cumberbatch, respectively) in Endgame).
From there are more similarities in the framing of the battle; the Resistance troops led by Finn (John Boyega) and Jannah (Naomi Ackie) atop the Star Destroyer towards the Sith Troopers feels like the same way the heroes in Endgame are shown running across the battlefield, headfirst into action. Even some of the color palettes are the same here, with a heavy emphasis on the blue lightning in The Rise of Skywalker similar to that seen in Avengers: Endgame.
Why The Rise Of Skywalker's Ending Is Worse Than Endgame's (Despite The Similarities)
Although there are lot of similarities between the final battles of Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - in terms of narrative and a purely visual sense - there's only one clear winner, and it's the movie that came first that also comes out on top. It's not simply that Avengers: Endgame's ideas feel more original or that The Rise of Skywalker's are too much of a rehash of them (in the moment, they're not really), but that Endgame does everything with far more purpose and weight, which is sorely lacking from J.J. Abrams' movie.
When Tony Stark delivers his "I am Iron Man" moment, it isn't just the victory in Avengers: Endgame; it's the culmination of an 11-year character arc, one that feels like an earned and emotionally satisfying pay-off for his transformation into becoming a true hero. When Rey says "I am all the Jedi", on the other hand, it's meaningless; the phrase is empty and, if anything, a little confusing given it's a response to Palpatine's rather more literal "I am all the Sith" line (which itself is a whole complicated mess). Whereas Iron Man's line is not just a callback but an underlining of the thematic journey he's been on, showing just how much he has changed from the first time he said those four words, Rey's doesn't offer a great deal in that sense, and the decision to not have Force ghosts appear , though not something that would’ve saved it, only makes it weaker. It’s also not helped by Rey essentially being used as a vessel to defeat Palpatine; being all the Jedi doesn’t help her when she collapses to the ground afterward.
The same goes for the final battles as a whole. There is constant pay-off in Avengers: Endgame's, while The Rise of Skywalker's is just a bunch of stuff happening on screen for the sake of cashing-in on a sense of nostalgia; it isn't particularly well thought-out or executed, and worst of all it lacks any sense of emotion. Because there's been a lack of setup for Palpatine's return, and because so much of The Rise of Skywalker is reactionary rather than actually paying off the Skywalker saga, then none of these moments are earned. Similarly, the impermanence of death also takes something away from these sequences. With Endgame, there are real stakes and the chance that many of the original characters could die; with The Rise of Skywalker, there’s been a Chewbacca fake-out, a C-3PO one, Kylo Ren has seemingly died about three times, and Leia is left in limbo. By the time of the ending, it’s hard to buy into any of what the movie is selling because everything, including death, is artificial. What Avengers: Endgame excels at is making the audience truly feel something, and it does it a lot in the final battle in particular; The Rise of Skywalker's, like Palpatine himself, is just a tired clone of that.