Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – REVIEW

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an action-packed, emotionally charged finale led by J.J. Abrams’s impressive directing and a strong script by Chris Terrio. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the final film of the Skywalker saga and the capstone to 40 years of Star Wars storytelling. The film is directed by J.J. Abrams, written by both Abrams and Chris Terrio and stars Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Ian McDiarmid. The film also welcomes back Star Wars legend, Billy Dee Williams, and a host of others. The film rounds out the Sequel trilogy and provides a final lynchpin to the story that George Lucas started in 1977.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an excellent addition and finale to the Star Wars saga. Coming in with the pressure and expectations to please each fan of multiple generations is an impossible task. While not hitting on each and every note, Abrams managed to land the franchise as safely as possible. The Rise of Skywalker ´╗┐had multiple goals it needed to achieve. It foremostly needed to conclude the story of the Age of Resistance. Giving definitive answers to the background of Rey, providing Finn and Poe with meaningful things to do and make sure legacy characters got the respect they deserved. The film managed to do all of this quite well. Additionally, it needed to be an ending that would satisfy all three trilogies. This is one area where it could have done just slightly more. While fan service should not be have been expected to be delivered as hamfistedly as Avengers: Endgame, fans might be left wanting a bit more from their iconic characters. 

At times, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels like a Star Wars experience more than a Star Wars film. The pacing moves lightning-fast, jumping from scene to scene, planet to planet as the main characters push towards their goal. The action comes quickly and effectively, with huge set-pieces and strong cinematography leading the way. The film truly plays like it knows the pressure that is heaped on it from audiences, using humor to cut the tension at certain points and allow fans to breathe before it hits them with another emotional moment. Chris Terrio’s scripting and dialogue truly elevate the sequel trilogy to its highest heights. J.J. Abrams works best with an A+ writer working alongside him and Terrio fit the bill in many ways. The oscar-winning writer’s work truly shined when the dialogue was Force related. Discussions about the Jedi, the Sith, the nature of Emporer Palpatine and the truth of Rey took on new heights due to Terrio’s keen sense of mythological storytelling. The score of the film was also top-notch, with John Willaims going back to virtually every Star Wars film in his resume to develop a score that felt rich and familiar. 

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In terms of performance, each actor brought their A-game to the final film of the franchise. Daisy Ridley, in particular, was a standout. Her on-screen presense, especially with J.J. Abrams leading her, is especially great. She feels very comfortable in the role of Rey and her character is as charismatic, charming and fearless as ever. With The Rise of Skywalker, Ridley truly had a chance to flex her acting muscles through some steller sequences and emotional cues. Her counterpart, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, was equally as great. Driver’s acting ability speaks for itself as he has been the true gem of the Star Wars Sequel trilogy with great performance after great performance. Much like Ridley, Driver seems more comfortable in his role and under Abrams as he closes his character arc in true Skywalker fashion. Outside of the two protagonists, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega both pull off their best work as Poe and Finn respectively. A true highlight in the film was having the trinity stay together for the majority of the movie. With all three separated for most of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, it is incredibly refreshing to see the entire cast together on screen, letting their chemistry shine. 

Legacy characters also make their return in a big way in The Rise of Skywalker. Carrie Fisher’s General Leia is a true marvel on screen. One can’t help but get emotional knowing how much larger her role could have been in this film, but the way J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm managed to use cut sequences of her from previous films truly helped to keep her in the spotlight. In many ways, the film felt like a tribute to Leia’s character and brings her importance to the story into full focus. Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker also makes appearances in the film. Much had been made about the characterization of Luke in The Last Jedi, a lot of it from Hammil himself. While it does seem there was course correction done to make amends to the fans, actor, and character, seeing Luke Skywalker again in any capacity was truly special. Outside of the Skywalkers, there were notable cameos, one that truly stole the show was Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando Calrissian. 

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Overall, it is impossible to truly create the single final Star Wars film that touches on every note and each moment fans wanted. Otherwise, it would have to another few hours long. In order to make a film that primarily focuses on completing the Sequel Trilogy and wrapping up nine films, some sacrifices were made. Depending on what your favorite Star Wars film is, you will either be fine with it or it will linger with you. While there were certain characters and moments that I personally felt deserved more of a final goodbye, I was left very satisfied with the final product that is The Rise of Skywalker. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker provides a beautiful ending to the story that began a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. Action-packed, emotional, thrilling, humorous and full of heart, the film is a love letter to Star Wars. 

4/5

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