The right amount of closure with promise for a future
Some odd creative decisions
Tries a little too hard to change one particular element of The Last Jedi...
but ends up retreading on a different peculiar element...
The Rise of Skywalker is a thoroughly Star Wars experience.
In the years, and maybe decades, to come, Star Wars will be remembered as the franchise that divided its fans more than any other. Regardless of whether you’d play it safe like The Force Awakens, or go bold like The Last Jedi, swinging either way seems to leave some out in the cold. And The Rise of Skywalker is well aware of the troubles it may face.
It’s no easy feat for any one movie to conclude a trilogy, let alone a trilogy of trilogies. Yet The Rise of Skywalker boldly shoulders the responsibility as it wades into the murky depths of the Star Wars mythos.
It’s been clear from the last era of Star Wars content, from the Episodes to the standalone Star Wars Stories to Disney+ content, Star Wars is not about any one person’s preferences or sensibilities. While, of course, there can be inane accusations, by and large the franchise is the definition of art in film making, and this also embodies the subjectivity of that art.
Certainly there will be fans pleased with returning director J. J. Abrams’ adherence to the original films, while there will be some tired of his return to source. There will also be some annoyed at his seeming walk-back on The Last Jedi‘s revelations, while others would be offended by his own interpretation of the tale moving forward.
Not that there aren’t problems with the film. Like its predecessors, this too suffers from some odd creative choices and a moment or two that will make you go “really?” Even those moments, however, will have at least half the audience cheering–while the other half remained puzzled, at the very least.
Of course, The Rise of Skywalker hasn’t had the easiest of passages towards realisation. From the departure of original director Colin Trevorrow over creative differences, to the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, The Rise of Skywalker has been in for a bumpy ride. It is probably this tumultuous situation that makes Abrams the exact person to steady this ship.
Unfortunately, Abrams does come with his own hang ups. While he does, probably intentionally, steer clear of replicating a beat for beat experience as had been done with The Force Awakens, it nevertheless feels like his role as a director was plagued by the fear of audience reaction. This manifests as a fair bit of fan service over the course of the film, but thankfully they mostly work for, and not against, the narrative.
Stealing the show, as always, are the cast. While Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are a pleasure to watch on screen, it is Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver who continue to amaze with their layered and intense performances. More amazing is how Carrie Fisher’s presence continues to dominate the screen despite how little she is on it. And Billy Dee Williams’ return as Lando Calrissian is fan service done right.
Ultimately, the greatest enemy of the film is time. Having reportedly lost a good 10 to 12 minutes during later cuts, the quickened pace can be felt in the earlier half of the film. This is remedied quickly, but the damage is seemingly done with the uneven pacing making the second half feel somewhat much slower. Thankfully, there is no shortage of new information, so it never feels to be a dull movie at any point.
While it is difficult to make the argument for or against The Rise of Skywalker, what is a certainty is the need for everyone to watch it for themselves.
Love it or hate it, it is the official conclusion to one of the most beloved series of all time, and you shouldn’t risk missing out on it.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is out in all theaters now and is bound to blow your mind for better or worse.