Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Director JJ Abrams was faced with a daunting task; bringing the 9 part Star Wars main story to a satisfying conclusion and appeasing certain toxic fans who have been very displeased with the last two cinematic outings for the franchise.

Thankfully Abrams has stuck the landing and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is an entertaining and satisfying conclusion with enough action and nostalgic moments to spare.

Picking up after the events of the last film; it is learned that threatening radio transmissions are going out across the galaxy in the voice of the late Emperor Palpatine. This deeply concerns Leia (Carrie Fisher) and her remaining Resistance as it combines with The First Order to create a larger possible threat than anyone could deal with.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is also very interested in the source of the signal as he does not want anything to stand in the way of his control of The First Order and will use whatever brutal means at his disposal to increase his power.

Naturally this sets Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac), along with Chewbacca and C3PO on a daring mission to find clues to the source of the transmissions and stop what appears to be a devastating invasion which will make anything the First Order has pale in comparison.

Naturally there are plenty of amazing special effects, twists, turns, and surprises along the way as the film races to an epic confrontation.

The film hits the ground running with plenty of action at the start before settling into a longer narrative setup than some fans might like. Thankfully there are enough points of interest along the way to hold your attention before the action kicks up.

The film combines new and favorite locales and characters to create a satisfying finale to the Skywalker saga as the biggest questions from the new trilogy are answered and the few new ones I have after this will likely be heavily debated by fans or explored in a future book or comic and they are minor questions indeed.

The characters work well with one another and it is difficult to go into specifics without spoiling the film as there are plenty of surprises as I mentioned earlier. Suffice it to say that while it will not usurp the original “Star Wars” or “The Empire Strikes Back” amongst fans; it likely will be considered the most enjoyable of the new trilogy and best since “Rogue One” in the Disney era of the franchise.

The biggest remaining question is what is next for the film series as there have been rumors of a new film in 2022 with a new setting, cast, and possibly timeline. While audiences will have to wait and see what the cinematic future for the franchise is; they can be content with a very enjoyable new film.

4 stars out of 5


Second review

by Joseph Saulnier

The Skywalker Saga is a story 42 years in the making, and with Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, we are now seeing the story come to a close. Told out of order, conflicting themes over the years, and questionable casting choices have led us all here. But so have childhood dreams, escapes from reality, and a genuinely classic tale of good versus evil. But how well does the story close. I suppose that depends on how much of a cynic you are.

It took me a few days to write this because I really wanted to wrestle with my longstanding relationship with the franchise. I am 37, and saw my first movie, Return of the Jedi, in theaters with my Dad at 1 year old. Clearly, I don’t remember much of the film, but the act was enough to solidify my love of the franchise forever, if only because my Dad loved it. Unlike most, I enjoyed the prequel trilogy (sans Phantom Menace, I mean what was Lucas thinking), and I enjoyed The Last Jedi. While most were crying about how it’s deviating from what makes a Star Wars movie a Star Wars movie, those same people were crying when The Force Awakens followed the same roadmap as A New Hope, and Phantom Menace. That’s the thing with this. Each trilogy does follow the same formula. Episodes 7, 8, and 9 were no different. While TLJ did veer a little, the same themes are there. And they did the same in RoS, but I thought they did a very good job. Themes are there, but it’s not a scene for scene remake of Return of the Jedi or Revenge of the Sith.

We pick up several years after TLJ, and we find the resistance is still fighting the First Order as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is on a personal mission to find a person who has broadcast his voice across the galaxy as the late Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training, and Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) are working together to further the cause for the resistance. Some hard lessons will be learned, some realizations will be had, and there is definitely a lot of fan service. But what is wrong with that. Isn’t the film supposed to be for fans.
I can’t really talk a lot more without giving away crucial plot points, but I personally feel that Abrams stuck the landing on this Saga and gave us a little more to love about the characters. What I really like is the fact that more lore of the Jedi, and especially the Sith, is being presented on screen, something that was usually put out through the TV media in the past. Long gone are the political themes of the Senate and Trade Federations, and we get to dig into some good old fashion mythology. I could have really used more scenes with some of the supporting characters we have seen in the past, and new ones that were introduced (I do truly feel this film did a service to Kelly Marie Tran), but I walked out of the theater satisfied. And maybe a little hopeful, too. While they have said we won’t see any films centered around the characters from the Skywalker Saga, I can see them being included elsewhere, especially as there were some unresolved things with some of the characters. Or maybe I missed it. I’ll find out on my second viewing.

Not a perfect meaning, but it shows 42 years of story telling in a good way. Of course you’re going to see it, it’s the end of an era. So I won’t bother with a recommendation… nope, I lied. Go see it.

4 stars out of 5