Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
review by Bobby Blakey
It’s been a wild ride for Star Wars fans since Disney bought Lucasfilm. Not only have we already gotten two entries into the original series as part of a new franchise with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi which I loved, but also the stand alone films with Rogue One and Solo. While things have been up and down most fans are still eagerly awaiting the final chapter of the Skywalker series with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Could this final chapter of the Skywalker saga bring the story to a satisfying close or will it fail to bring balance to the force?
It comes as no surprise that we don’t have all that much to go one about the plot outside of a few tidbits, but the simple description is it follows the surviving Resistance who face the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Before going into this film I want to say I love all things Star Wars. I recognize flaws in places of every film with obvious some worse than others, but they all still work for me. The Last Jedi not only split the fan base, but also took some big chances that I completely loved and agreed with. At the same time I totally understand those that disagreed with them based on their predetermined thoughts on where they thought and wanted things to go.
This split in opinions gave J.J. Abrams a big challenge when wrapping things up in this final installment of the Skywalker saga that we were introduced to in 1977. Going in I had theories going back to The Force Awakens about where it was all going to go so wasn’t overly surprised about its direction but still loved how they got there. There have been some talk regarding Abrams going back to fix the wrongs of The Last Jedi and while there are certain elements of that here clearly I didn’t seem them as fixing wrongs so much as evolving the story into a finite direction. There is no way of truly knowing the ulterior motive without being in the writers room and meetings behind the scenes to know what was previously laid out and what was fan service. There is a big element of obviously giving fans what they wanted but also trying to right some of Abrams own wrongs in the franchise as well as some going all the way back to the original film.
I was more surprised how quickly it jumped right into things as I expected
more of a build up to one of the big reveals, but this allowed the film to just hit the ground running and worked. There is no designated time frame for how long it’s been since the last film, but clearly long enough to get things and the characters in a new place in their journey. The majority of the film is like a scavenger hunt/road trip as the team is in search of varying items or characters to get to the ultimate showdown of good and evil. This gives them the chance to pretty much keep them all together throughout the film and some great moments together. I love the new characters and they all get some great moments, but this is still Rey’s journey more than anyone else.
While the main cast gets their time and does a great job it’s the time getting to see Chewie and C-3PO shine that made me the most happy. Both have great emotional moments that not only allow them to get their much deserved screen time in the final but also further the story along in a great way. Two of the most emotional moments in the entire film come from the mighty Wookie himself with one specifically making me tear up in the best way possible. The new characters are all interesting and fun despite not getting a ton of screen time. There is so much there with them, but alas this is not their journey so we only get a small amount of time with them.
I have purposely said very little about the story as I think everyone deserves to experience themselves in their own way. I can say it is fun, exciting and emotional just like a Star Wars film should be. Does it end everything in a way that I wanted probably not, but it does end it all in a way that I loved and satisfied. There are great twists and surprises with some you have to play especially close to find that will have the hardcore fans cheering, crying and smiling from ear to ear. I loved the film and love this entire franchise. The Mandalorian has given us even more hope for the future of the franchise so I am glad to see this one bringing a satisfying close to our 40+ year journey and into the bright future of the galaxy far, far away that I love.