Star Wars: The RIse of Skywalker
Let me start with a disclaimer. I am a huge Star Wars fan. Actually, huge is probably an understatement. When I first saw Star Wars as a child it left me wide eyed and speechless. I was hooked. From that moment, if it was related to the Force, I was all in. Ever since the original trilogy ended, the efforts have not been able to recapture that magic. Along with other fans, I survived the prequels after so much anticipation and was left disappointed for years. Then came JJ Abrams with the Force Awakens. He brought back some of that magic by basically remaking A New Hope. It was just a bigger Death Star after all. Next came The Last Jedi, aka the great divide. I cannot recall a movie ever splitting a fan base the way that movie did. So Disney made the safe play by bringing back JJ to wrap it all up with the final installment of the Skywalker saga. The result may divide fans even more.
Rise of Skywalker is a very entertaining and visually stunning epic…but with movie magic these days, most blockbusters are. This needed to be more. For a story with such a huge fan base and a story that lasted over 40 years, it had to be more. It seemed as if Disney or JJ decided to disregard much of the direction The Last Jedi was heading to and simply looked for a quick payoff to end the saga. The movie has some great moments and the chemistry between John Boyega and Oscar Isaac is the best seen by a duo since the original trilogy. There are some great one liners that will make you laugh and parts that tug at your heart strings. However, there are also too many additional plot points and characters that weren’t really necessary. Some of the new characters such as the droid mechanic, Babu Frik, work and work well. While others will make you wonder why they are in the movie at all and why they didn’t focus more on a better conclusion.
The high point for the movie was definitely seeing Carrie Fisher playing Leia one last time. Using unused footage from TFA, Abrams did a wonderful job incorporating her into this final story and still making her relevant to the story posthumously. Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley also do a wonderful job, but even they can only do so much with a subpar story. For a movie that should be providing answers from the new releases and older ones, it seemed to raise a lot more questions instead.
There are nods to previous movies, various Star Wars books and television series, but just simply not enough. An opportunity was missed to tie in a lot more in this final film to drive all their hard core and casual fans crazy. Something similar to how Marvel brought it all together in Avengers End Game. Instead, we got a bit of an anticlimactic ending with a few feel good moments that follow.
If I had to sum up the Rise Of Skywalker I would have to say it felt more mechanical and rushed. It isn’t to say that the movie was bad. You will definitely be entertained and some of the cinematography is absolutely stunning. However, it could have been so much more fulfilling than it was. The film critic in me would give it a solid 7 out of 10. The Star Wars fan in me gives it a disappointing 5 out of 10. Not bad but not great. Although…still better than any of the prequels.
At least we have The Mandalorian out right now. Help us Baby Yoda, you’re our only hope!