Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama

Director: J.J. Abrams

Screenplay: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee, David Chapman, Brian Herring, Joonas Suotamo, Domhnall Gleason, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, Keri Russell

Running Length:  142 minutes

Synopsis: Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.

Review: Few people would want to be in J.J. Abrams’ shoes. Not only does he return to the Star Wars franchise after the last Episode (Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi in 2017) polarized fans and audiences, but when it was announced that The Rise of Skywalker would be the conclusion of 42 years of movies, comics, novels, TV series and more (now collectively known as the Skywalker Saga), it became clear that he had an insurmountable task ahead of him. Given how committed the fanbase is, there would have been no feasible way he could have pleased everyone, nor been able to resolve every single plot point that has arisen along the four-decade build up.

So instead Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio seemed to have set out to please as many viewers as possible, dishing out so much fan service that it really should have been two movies (or at the very least, a film that rivals the length of Avengers: Endgame). This has resulted in The Rise of Skywalker feeling rather overstuffed, and a plot that does some rather acrobatic maneuvering in order to accommodate its own contrivances. Also, if you thought The Force Awakens was marching to the drumbeats of an invisible checklist, you will feel this even more in The Rise of Skywalker (this really isn’t necessarily a bad thing). There is a greater unevenness in plot development – one particularly egregious example is when a character is believed to be dead, and yet this revelation is immediately walked back in less than ten minutes when the character reappears in the next scene.

Honestly, all the nitpicking in the world isn’t going to negate the fact that this is THE last Star Wars film (for now), and regardless of what anyone says, this alone is going to get audiences into the cinemas. Yes, it’s far from perfect, but it has enough of the elements that make it a Star Wars experience. From an amazingly choreographed lightsaber battle between Kylo Ren and Rey, to adrenalin-inducing dogfights in space, to cute droids, to the camaraderie between the central characters of Rey, Finn and Poe, to the highly recognizable musical cues John Williams had incorporated into the score, to the final onscreen appearance of the late Carrie Fisher as Leia… The list goes on. Star Wars is such an ingrained piece of our collective pop culture that it’s almost unthinkable that anyone who has seen the previous Star Wars films will want to skip out this installment, warts and all.

Rating: * * * (out of four stars)

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