My Star Wars Background-
(I tried my best to keep this spoiler free but if you are someone who wants to know literally nothing about the film than see the movie first).
Sitting down to write this review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels like a hopeless endeavor. If I like it than I am a Disney shill. If I hate it than I’m a nostalgia tinged hater. However, I am going to show some confidence in you my readers and trust that you will be reasonable.
Let’s start out talking about what I want from a Star Wars movie. My favorite from the series is the original film now titled Star Wars Ep 4: A New Hope. I get that Empire Strikes Back is the deeper entry with stunning cinematography and quite possibly the best twist in the history of film. I just happen to think that A New Hope is more of a good time. A New Hope is an adventure that makes me want to stand up and cheer as the good guys blow up the death star! I like getting to know our characters and keeping the narrative small and succinct.
Being I watch Star Wars to have a rousing space adventure you can imagine my disappointment in the last few entries from Disney. I didn’t care for Rogue One and especially didn’t like Star Wars Ep 8: The Last Jedi (Solo: A Star Wars Story was entertaining but was hurt by the most annoying droid in the history of Star Wars L3). I know some people love it but I disagreed with most of the choices they made especially with how they treated Luke and Leia. To be honest it bummed me out.
Rise of Skywalker-
All that said, let’s talk about the new film Star Wars Ep 9: The Rise of Skywalker. As is expected with Star Wars these days some people will not like this film, and I can understand why. It’s a flawed, messy film but it recaptures the spirit of adventure I love in Star Wars. There’s a corny innocence to the film I missed in The Last Jedi and it made me happy watching it.
Just as in A New Hope there are a lot of moments in Rise of Skywalker that will make you want to cheer as good defeats evil and our scrappy band of resistance fighters are aided at just the right moment. That kind of action and comradery is Star Wars to me. Again to use A New Hope as an example it is full of cheesy lines, obvious heroes and villains and it even ends with a medal ceremony for the good guys.
That’s the kind of spirit Rise of Skywalker aims for and achieves. Defenders of The Last Jedi will probably be disappointed because a lot of that film is retconned. Honestly I think you hardly need to watch it any more. At the very least almost every divisive element is either forgotten about or barely touched on, which was fine by me!
They also did a great job handling the passing of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Through mostly leftover scenes from The Force Awakens they were able to make her a bigger part that I anticipated and it was a nice way to leave her after my frustrations with her treatment in The Last Jedi.
They also try their best to wrap everything up from 9 movies (an impossible task) and throw in a lot of fan service, which the most part, I enjoyed. For example, the ewoks make a brief appearance for no reason except to say to fans ‘oh look at those fun ewoks’. I know some will be annoyed by this but I thought it was fun. This whole movie was corny, light, energetic Star Wars.
It’s a Lot of Plot
The downside to Rise of Skywalker is there are a lot of characters and plot. For example, just in villains there is Kylo Ren, Hux, Palpatine and General Pryde played by Richard E Grant. Tons of pre-existing characters get storylines and we have new characters like Zorri Bliss played by Kerri Russell or Jannah played by Naomi Ackle who make no impression and seem superfluous to the story.
Lando, Chewie, C3PO, Leia, Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe, Finn, Hux, Palpatine, the list goes on all have storylines and it feels crowded for one movie. You also don’t have as long to enjoy a moment because you are swifted off to the next plotpoint that must be wrapped up at the end of the film.
Even though I enjoyed the corniness there are definitely some reveals that push the limit, and I am sure do not hold up under deep scrutiny (expect many a raging fan video to come out about A LOT in this movie and they won’t be wrong).
An Era is Done
However, Rise of Skywalker was still a fun adventure where the good guys beat the bad guys with great music, energetic action and brisk pacing which kept me engaged. They retconned what I wanted and ended the Skywalker saga in a place I am happy with.
Again, it’s not perfect but it’s a pretty entertaining time at the movies, so I’m satisfied.
7 out of 10