Title – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Director – J.J. Abrams (Super 8)
Cast – Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Keri Russell, Billy Dee Williams, Richard E. Grant
Plot – The final say on the Skywalker saga as the galaxy’s newest hero Rey (Ridley) and what’s left of the resistance face off against their greatest threat yet.
“We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight”
Review by Eddie on 20/12/2019
Disclaimer – This is a spoiler FREE review of The Rise of Skywalker
I like millions of others around the world count myself as a fan of the Star Wars universe.
Being a part of our lives for the better part of 42 years, any excuse to spend time in the galaxy far far away is one I will gladly take up and its due to this that it would be hard for me to not find another entry in the Skywalker saga somewhat enjoyable but disappointingly for the legacy of what has come before and for fans spanning the globe, The Rise of Skywalker is a mostly forgettable and magic free affair that remains a fine fan service Star Wars outing, but not a great film perse.
Almost entirely erasing the memory of The Last Jedi, J.J Abrams returns to the directing chair after starting things off in fantastic fashion with 2015’s The Force Awakens and injects Rise with a breakneck pacing that disallows viewers any time to contemplate, ruminate or consider what they are seeing, have seen or will see as the Resistance push forward on their quest to finally rid the galaxy of evil and create peace for all.
It’s an insanely jam-packed adventure, one that finds itself struggling to find its footing in a genuinely bad opening 30 or so minute stanza, with Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio struggling under the weight of expectations and story commitments that they find themselves carrying with 8 films worth of lore, backstory and characterization that has come before them.
To their credit, Rise finds itself in a better place around the half way mark when a bunch of odd McGuffins and seemingly totally unnecessary side plots and detours are dealt with but at best Rise is never more than throwaway enjoyable as it begins to tick off a series of boxes that will most likely come off as far from surprising as it heads towards a lacklustre finale that may have moments of wow-factor but mostly is just a grey blur of imagery and sequences that will never be considered up there with the best iconic moments of the franchise.
For all their supposed flaws that have been hotly debated over the last few years, both Force Awakens and The Last Jedi like the films before them featured a number of reveals, set-pieces and character developments that shocked, awed and astounded viewers and it’s sad to say that Rise fails to ever truly deliver anything that will stick in our memory as our beloved characters of old and new heroes and villains find themselves bringing their arcs full circle.
As per previous entries into the new era of the franchise, the films main cast all give it their all with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver once more delivering the goods and partaking in all of this films best moments while old staples Chewbacca and C-3PO get a lot more to do this time around than the last two entries which is sure to please long-term series fans.
Unfortunately lost in the films ADHD pacing and plot developments that come thick and fast very little consideration are once intriguingly set-up supports Poe Dameron and Finn with Oscar Isaac and Finn relegated to wise cracks and yelling respectively as their universe saving participants are relegated to mere caricatures. Lucky for them they fair better than the pointless new additions like Richard E. Grant’s General Pryde, Kerri Russell’s masked villain Zorii Bliss and Naomi Ackie’s utterly pointless warrior Jannah, all of whom you question as to why they were invited along in the first place as their roles in Rise are more than questionable.
Likely to be nit-picked more than dozens of other films put together, Rise is still going provide a fun 2 and a half hours in the cinema for most of its casual and hardcore viewers and there are some brilliantly put together sets, special effects and character finales to be found amongst the rabble of ideas, half-cooked explorations and diversions but it’s hard to see Rise ever being regarded as the ending this series deserved as it fails to instil in itself the heart, soul and magic that made this world the cultural defining phenomenon those many moons ago back in 1977.
Final Say –
One could spend countless hours dissecting and examining every tiny detail of The Rise of Skywalker, a deeply flawed, fan service focused culmination of decades of work and lore that is light-years away from the best the series has given us even if it is still utterly watchable. Simply put, J.J Abram’s farewell to the Skywalker saga is a an unsurprising service piece to its fans, that forgets to become a great movie in its own right, as its identity and charm gets lost in a flurry of moments and set-ups that never truly payoff in the way they should’ve.
3 ½ desert festivals out of 5