Review of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

rise_of_skywalker.jpg Following on from the events of The Last Jedi, Palpatine has mysteriously reappeared on “Exegol”, home planet of the sith. When Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), now supreme leader of the First Order, travels to Exegol Palpatine reveals to him a massive fleet of star destroyers to be used to destroy the resistance once and for all. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training to be a Jedi under Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher via archival footage). After learning a sith “Wayfinder” can lead them to Palpatine who they have learned is on Exegol they go off in search of one. Their search will take them across the galaxy but they are only a small force against a fleet of untold hundreds of First Order ships…

The final chapter in the Star Wars saga “The Rise of Skywalker” certainly delivers on action though with a slightly saccharine ending. It is no surprise that Leia bows out half way through the film given that she passed away before the film was shot despite having always been a huge part of the plot. The amount of her involvement in this final instalment is a bit of a surprise and how seamlessly the filmmakers were able to fit in what could not have been ideal “found footage” into the narrative. It is also good to see the return of Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) who, despite looking older, is still rather charming though without much to do here other than deliver a few lines and smile into the camera (yes there is even a brief glimpse of the cloud city of Bespin Lando once ruled). There are no other real surprises as far as the cast is concerned with Hamil returning in various “visions” as Luke Skywalker and a few brief scenes with a ghostly (yet oddly quite real) Yoda – Do not expect any other unexpected cameos from the rest of the cast. There is even a return to Endor with the Ewoks here…Yes, it goes out of the way to check a lot of people's Star War's boxes.

But, is it a good film? It was a lot of fun but, admittedly, all a bit confused. I think it is more of a nostalgia piece than anything else with newcomers to the series (if any exist) likely to be more than a little lost trying to follow. The film attempts to pull together so many different strands that at the end though you may feel like things have been pulled together you are still slightly dissatisfied at the way it has been done. Additionally, there are more than a few “coincidences” that are, frankly, absurd and really jar but tend to be pushed aside in the rush of action splashing across the screen.

We saw the film in 3D (not our choice) on the big screen (our choice) which, surprisingly, did not cause the nausea I might have expected. It looks and sounds great. It is a particularly huge relief to see John Williams complete his work on the soundtracks of all of the Star Wars films echoing here many of the themes we have grown to love throughout the series.

Satisfied? Maybe. It is a good load of fun but perhaps it could have been so much more…the conclusions are fairly convincing but is it really over…really?

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2019-12-29

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Studio: Lucasfilm

Year: 2019

Length: 142 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by J.J. Abrams: