The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Carrie Fisher, Ian McDiarmid, Kelly Marie Tran, Domhnall Gleeson, Billy Dee Williams
Directors: J.J Abrams
Writers: J.J Abrams (story and screenplay by), Chris Terrio (story and screenplay by), Derek Connolly (story by), Colin Trevorrow (story by), George Lucas (based on the character created by)
What The Rise of Skywalker has made me realise is just how good Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is. That film released earlier in the year and just like The Rise of Skywalker it is an ending to a saga of films that will, of course, continue in some form in the future. Avengers: Endgame offered up a huge film that hits emotional highs and wraps up the ‘Infinity Saga’ with grace in its final moments while Star Wars ends its ‘Skywalker Saga’ with some glue, sticky tape and a checklist of things fans said they may like on Reddit.
You’ve seen the trailer and posters: Emperor Palpatine is back and with him J.J Abrams again returning to direct after his film off since The Force Awakens. This time he’s joined by a new co-writer in Chris Terrio of Argo fame and no time is wasted in their script quickly introducing Palpatine — Ian McDiarmid returning with a delicious performance — and a MacGuffin for both our hero Rey to chase after as well as the evil Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.
From the moment the film starts it’s just one event after another with any scene of emotional impact and relevance to our characters given no time to breathe. There’s a ridiculous amount of exposition, characters and plot just thrown at you and it all seems like J.J decided to not make one movie but instead fit the plot of both the ideas he had for Episode 8 and Episode 9 into one film.
The Last Jedi isn’t completely ignored, it obviously still happened as Snoke lays dead, Kylo and Rey’s force connection is super-relevant to the plot and the Resistance is a middling force with small numbers, but wherever they could tweak something from The Last Jedi that drew a huge negative action, it’s somewhat attended too.
Most notable to this is Rose Tico’s shoving into a corner. The wonderful Kelly Marie Tran gave us a hopeful character with Rose in The Last Jedi that is representative of everything Star Wars is about, especially when she delivered my favourite line in the movie to Finn saying, “we’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.” But she’s sidelined because of the internet hate-mob she received which caused her to leave social media. Fitting that a series about hope, would, it seems, give in to hate.
There are moments of greatness among the mess that is The Rise of Skywalker. Two moments, in particular, brought a tear to my eye and caused my lip to turn as I let out a slight whimper. These moments are only possible thanks to the two films that came before The Rise of Skywalker and the standout returning cast, in particular, Daisy Ridley as Rey and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.
The sad death of Carrie Fisher left LucasFilm with questions about how to use General Leia Organa in the film and ultimately they decided to repurpose unused footage from the previous films. It’s jarring in execution with Carrie not feeling present in the scene. You’d call it bad acting in any other scenario, but here it’s just obvious how cut-and-shut the scenes are.
The film is beautiful to look at with Dan Mindel returning alongside J.J as his go-to cinematographer and the film features wonderfully unique art direction for the film series. However, the score from John Williams, much like the film itself feels like its rushing to hit certain notes and is a disappointing note to end the franchise on.