Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a fitting end to the latest trilogy… But whether or not you will enjoy it is a hard question to answer.
Consider the divisiveness caused by The Last Jedi, the previous chapter in the series revolving around the Skywalker family. Star Wars fans are, in a word, passionate and many didn’t appreciate the risks that film took or the departure from the standard formula that has made up the majority of the saga.
The Last Jedi put an undue burden on what would be the alleged last chapter of the Skywalker story that already had a lot to accomplish on its own. Add to that the unexpected passing of Carrie Fisher, whose Princess Leia was set to be the historical anchor of the final film just as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were in the previous two installments respectively, and you can understand why any sane person would have some trepidation about taking on the project. Thankfully, for the most part, RoS succeeds in providing a satisfying close to the series. It doesn’t always do so elegantly or with flying colors, but it gets the job done.
The movie clocks in at just over 2.5 hours, but there is so much ground to cover that it results in some rapid-fire storytelling that makes things feel rushed. As a result, you don’t always get as much time with the story and some characters as you might like. There are some great new additions as well as some returning favorites– no one in this film is having more fun than Billy Dee Williams’ Lando. At the same time, there are characters that really didn’t need to be there in an already overcrowded film.
On the positive side, there is LOTS of action. RoS hits the ground running and rarely comes up for air. There are some great fan service moments that should melt even the hardest of hearts, and the returning Emperor Palpatine, previously revealed in trailers, is as satisfying and deliciously evil as ever.
Fans turned off by The Last Jedi will probably be happier with the efforts of RoS to right the ship. On the other side of that coin, if you enjoyed the departure from the norm that TLJ provided, you’re not going to find a lot of that here. What the film does, however, is successfully capitalize on the pillars that the Star Wars Universe was built on– faith, hope, and love.
I couldn’t think of a better message to end a 42-year journey.