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December 2019


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Walt Disney Motion Pictures // Directed by JJ Abrams // Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Naomi Ackie, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid

"The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron's journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences."

It’s all come down to this. Forty-two years of storytelling. A trilogy of trilogies. The end of the Skywalker Saga. JJ Abrams returned to the franchise following Colin Trevorrow's exit in a move that some considered to be safe – however, Abrams promised a newer, bold approach this time around. But, the big question is, did the movie deliver? The Rise of Skywalker certainly takes risks and ventures into some surprising places, but it all felt...rushed and slightly underwhelming. Maybe it was the huge expectations or probably the frantic pace and messy script that Abrams and Chris Terrio concocted but the movie never felt fully at ease with itself. Major plot points and characters were introduced without real explanation and, at times, contradicted themselves and established lore whilst other characters were sidelined almost entirely – the need to tie nine movies together and the existing elements from the sequel trilogy seemed almost too big of an ask at times. That said, The Rise of Skywalker is an awful lot of fun if you simply sit back and enjoy the spectacle – the spirit that made Star Wars so great is present here. The action scenes are excellent (there are plenty of lightsaber battles to enjoy), the VFX are a joy to look at and, funnily enough, that breakneck pace aids the narrative at times (especially early on, the opening fifteen-minute salvo is superb). Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley put in great performances in their final run-outs as Kylo Ren and Rey and the entire cast back them up with fine displays (the digitally-added Carrie Fisher just about feels right too). The good outweighs the bad, but the movies biggest flaw is in its returning villain (as heard in the trailers), it’s a huge addition that when all is said and done, complicates the previous movies and adds a video game-like quality to the conclusion of the movie. As a saga concluding effort, The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the roaring, perfect send-off we’d hoped for but it’s still a fun, sometimes exhilarating, adventure and helps to remind us why Star Wars will live on.

7.5 / 10

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