9 movies. 42 years.
The Star Wars saga (affectionately known as The Skywalker Saga) was delighted audiences for generations. After the fan base dividing Last Jedi, the final chapter was approached with reservations by fans and critics. Despite this, the enduring story of the Skywalker Saga didn’t disappoint me once I sat down to board the Millennium Falcon for one last adventure.
This review is spoiler-free. (Making my best attempt at that!)
The surviving members of The Resistance, led by Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac), gather together or a final stand against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order.
Let me go into what really works first: the pacing of the film. While the run time is 2 hours, 22 minutes, it hardly feels like it passes slowly at all. After the opening scroll, the audience is immediately thrown into the action as we catch up with Kylo Ren, Rey and the other next generation characters we met in The Force Awakens. The story takes place a year after the events of The Last Jedi (which ghost hovers over this film, but more on that later) so the holes are filled in almost immediately. Each jump through light speed and visiting new planets doesn’t feel jarring. You are just along for the ride to cheer on the heroes (which I did a lot).
Speaking of heroes, the human moments and small moments between the characters are a bright spot in this film. Rey, Finn, and Poe’s banter reminds me of the days of Harry, Ron, and Hermoine of Harry Potter; the back and forth conversation of comrades-in-arms displayed the chemistry with the actors made for enjoyable moments. Having everyone together for most of the movie was a strong point, especially with the main characters being separated on different stories in the past two films.
Daisy Ridley brought in another strong performance as the final Jedi, displaying the growth of her character as questions surrounding Rey are finally answered. In comparison, Adam Driver also delivered on a range of emotions for his character, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, as his arc is completed in a satisfying way. The late, great Carrie Fisher was in the movie longer than I originally thought, but her performance was wonderful as General Leia Organa was the heart of the film for me, especially to the main story. Billy Dee Williams, while not having a major role, was awesome as the returning Lando Calrissian. I couldn’t help but smile upon seeing him again.
Now the not-so-good: The fact that The Rise of Skywalker seemed to apologize for The Last Jedi at times. It honestly feels unnecessary because you can’t help that the previous movie happened and most fans didn’t like it. I’m in the minority that enjoyed The Last Jedi and enjoyed this concluding chapter. The returning Emperor Palpatine; while I’m happy to see Ian Mcdiarmid back, I would have preferred some sprinkling in the previous two movies (or even in Last Jedi) to hint he was back. But that’s more of a nitpicking the story. The “we’re sorry for this” scenes sprinkled in this movie along with telling a final story seemed to hurt the film at times. JJ Abrams and the writer had enough pressure trying to conclude this long-running saga, along with Carrie Fisher’s passing and still having Leia in the film but appeasing to the fanbase up in arms over The Last Jedi and course correcting some things did and did not work. It really depends on how you look at it.
The callbacks to previous movies were excellent to watch and the final scene was earned. It’s not the best Star Wars film but it does an amazing job of honoring the legacy of the franchise that should leave true fans happy. Going into this movie without spoilers and having your own opinion is the best approach.
I was honestly satisfied with this final chapter of the Skywalker Saga. I shed a few tears, cheered at times during callbacks and moments I’ve waited to see. What matters to me is that I had a good time, enjoyed the story and felt satisfied by the end credits. What an ending to this amazing journey. Thank you, George Lucas, for introducing this story and for Disney, bringing a worthwhile conclusion to this epic saga!
Thanks for reading, everyone!
What are your thoughts about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Will you take the final ride in the Millennium Falcon? Do you think that Disney stuck the landing to end the Skywalker Saga? Should Disney tell other stories in that galaxy far, far away?
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