Title: The Rise of Skywalker
Release Date: December 20th, 2019
Director: J.J. Abrams
Release Format: Theatrical
Just like that, the nine movie Skywalker saga has come to a close. What an exciting ride it’s been. The Rise of Skywalker does it’s best to keep audiences engaged, pay homage, and wrap up the many loose ends it’s predecessors left.
The Rise of Skywalker is Fun & Packed
I can safely say that The Rise of Skywalker is an action-filled thrill ride. It hardly ever skips a beat. Seriously I had to time my bathroom break (also I ran). Any other moment and I would have missed something important. The action tone is set from the beginning, with oddly no prelude or build up into what’s happening. I’ll admit that was a bit off-putting. If nothing else, it’s a much different choice than other Star Wars films. Almost all prior have a few slow minutes with the build-up and elaborating on the story.
The problem here is that the theme is kept throughout. We’re thrown something different constantly. It could be an action sequence or a big character development; the pace continued consistently. It felt like we were never allowed to breathe in The Rise of Skywalker. Above all else, it made for an entertaining movie but also one that always gave the impression it was trying to pack in just one more thing. The Star Wars title just had an atmosphere “of this is our last chance!”
Too Many Loose Ends
Within a similar theme, The Rise of Skywalker felt like its job was to plug holes. Whether you liked or hated The Last Jedi, there’s little denying how many loose threads it left with only one movie to go. The previous film arguably left more questions than answers. That’s part of the irony here, the trilogy itself doesn’t flow with the force. Each film feels as if it’s trying to undo or answer for the other. The Last Jedi took momentum or questions of The Force Awakens and crushed them or took them in a different direction, depending on the point of view.
The Rise of Skywalker has an impossible job of trying to answer for the original Force Awakens plot points and Last Jedi’s. That feeling is in this film; it’s almost working too hard to make everyone happy. Sadly it will likely only satisfy half the fans at best. Most of the resolutions are significant, given what it has to work with. A couple of head-scratchers here and there. Overall though, it does the best it can with the source material given from the previous films. Honestly, if you’re looking for where the fault lies, look no further than the original plan for the trilogy — a three-movie stint with three different writers and directors. Which, as you know, turned into two different writers and directors, Rain Johnson being the middleman. This didn’t add up in continuity, and now The Rise of Skywalker is paying the price.
Leia’s Portrayal is Worthy of Princess-General
Which leads me to my next point. Rise of the Skywalker feels like it belongs with Force Awakens. The way they’re shot, the stories they tell, and everything about them feels similar within the same vein. It made The Last Jedi feel even more foreign, not only undoing things it set up but also making it the only film that feels so different from the other two. Again, love it or hate it, TLG now feels out of place. The black sheep of the herd. If I sat someone down who’d never seen this trilogy, without any knowledge of directors/writers. I guarantee 9 out of 10 times they’d be able to figure out that the second film was made by someone else. Rise of Skywalker does whatever it wants, and it shows.
There’s a welcomed return of Lando. This is an old trilogy return that feels well placed. It never felt forced. He was a welcome addition, the perfect injection of nostalgia. As everyone knows, the great Carrie Fisher is no longer with us. The problem is that the plan was always to have her appear in the final movie. To pull this off, they had to use unused footage from the previous two films. I can firmly say this was done brilliantly. It was a performance, placement, and ending fit for a Princess/General. They couldn’t have done a better job, and I’m confident she would be proud of the result.
The Actors Gave it Everything They Had
The rest of the main cast did a fantastic job. The writing made it so that there are memorable moments for most of them. Daisy Ridley was the only person that could have pulled off this role through three radically different films, and this one is no different. She crushed it. Adam Driver deserves the same praise. He truly is an amazing actor and is also the only person that could have delivered this performance. The two of them in the film together pull off arguably the best duo in Star Wars. I shudder to think about how these films would have played out without the two of them.
Verdict: The Rise of Skywalker is a very Star Wars movie. Some fans will love that, and others will hate it. Let’s be clear; it’s a fun film. At times it is heartwarming, funny, and piles on the nostalgia while wrapping things up the best it can. However, it doesn’t take any bold risks. Little of it is surprising, and it sticks to a Star Wars formula, yep you guessed it, similar to The Force Awakens. With the jumbled connection to the previous films, however, it doesn’t feel as polished. The acting is on point, and the feeling of being on the worlds of Star Wars is as good as ever. Rise of Skywalker is so action-packed that it leaves little room for much else. It’s trying to do a lot in so little time. In the end, it’s as good as it can be given all of the difficult circumstances.
- Action Packed Fun
- Great Performances From The Cast, Especially Daisy & Adam
- Wrapped Up the Saga as Best it Could
- Star Wars vibe Throughout With Some Welcomed Nostalgia
- Too Packed, Felt Like It Was Trying To Please Everyone
- Alienates The Last Jedi Further
- No Bold Risks Taken
- Too Much Nostalgia/Fan Service
Former podcast Co-Host, current freelance writer and lover of everything video games and the community along with it. Nintendo, Sony and Xbox are all great, @ me anytime on that.