Yes, this whole review of Rise of Skywalker will be spoiler free. Not spoiler free for the last eight Star Wars films, but you get the idea. The whole review will be SPOILER FREE. Just to repeat it for anyone that clicks on this to read. Now with that out of the way…
This Was the Best Star Wars Movie This Side of Empire or A New Hope
You’re reading that right. Whether you’re reading with that voodoo doll of Rian Johnson with pins sticking out of him. Or you’re a more mellow Star Wars fan, and you just don’t get why they edited The Last Jedi that way. For any fan, this film will please you. You’re going to walk out of it with a big dumb smile on your face, you’re going to look around at the other people with big dumb smiles, and think “This is what it’s like to love something again”. That’s because this is a triumph of Star Wars. Rise of Skywalker is a triumph.
For everything that people can drudge up about how they hate The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, this film answers it. Is it way too similar to the original trilogy movie, Return of the Jedi? No, it isn’t. Does it follow the same beats that film followed? No, it is it’s own beast entirely. It doesn’t reinvent the genre and create more than forty years of Sci-Fi like A New Hope, but what it does well is create a story and give respect to those forty years.
If you were disrespected by The Last Jedi in any way. Like if you’re an editor and you watch the movie and think “wow, I could do better than this”; or if you’re a screenwriter, and you think “wow, why did this get written this way?”. Those concerns will melt away while you’re watching this film. The Last Jedi seemed to piss off people who felt like Luke and Leia are disrespected in that film. The original trilogy is given it’s due respect and then some here.
The Basics of Rise of Skywalker
The film stars all the faces you’d recognize from the previous films. Daisy Ridley comes back as Rey. Adam Driver returns as Kylo Ren. John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, all return as well. As for newcomers, if you’ve watched any of the trailers, Billy Dee Williams makes his triumphant return here as Lando Calrissean. Richard E. Grant is the villainous General Pryde. Domhnall Gleeson rounds it out as General Hux. Also, for The Last Jedi haters out there, your favorite actress Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose Tico in the film as well. JJ Abrams is also back in the director’s chair for the film.
To catch you up on the saga so far, The Last Jedi leaves our heroes and the Resistance running from the First Order. The events of that film have left our heroes battered and almost beaten. Hiding away on a jungle planet, our story begins in Rise of Skywalker. That’s it. Go watch The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi again before you see this film. It’ll help with your appreciation of this last film.
The Acting and Technical Aspects of Rise of Skywalker
Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley lead the cast with their stellar performances. The whole cast deserves some praise for what they achieved in this film. Billy Dee Williams returns to the franchise, and while he’s not a central figure, he was the original trilogy character to steal the show. Keri Russell as Zorii Bliss is also only on screen for a short while, but she turns in a great showing. I was very pleased with the whole cast.
Adam Driver in particular, to the surprise of no one, gives the best performance in the film. Daisy Ridley shows her full acting range with this film, giving comedy, anger, rage, hatred, sadness, pure joy, and strains physically to give Rey the ending to her story that she fully deserves.
The creature work, CGI, and all things technical with the film were spot on. I didn’t find any glaringly bad CGI or points where the creatures in the film didn’t feel like the real thing. If there’s a perfect way to blend CG and practical effects, this film does it.
Are There Issues With the Film?
Of course there are issues with the film, no film is perfect, even though I seem to think Ready or Not, is. The first half of the film feels a bit weighty. I would feel weighty too if I had to hold up the end of a nine film odyssey also, so I’ll give it a pass. Other than some minor quibbles, this film does it’s job. It’s not going to win any Oscars for cinema like Joker. It is going to be a satisfying end to a story that’s been going on for over forty years now.
Other than that, it’s the normal stuff with big budget films of this day. Pacing in a two hour and twenty minute film is always going to be a little off. You need to fit the conclusion of this story into a coherent package that ties everything together. From a screenwriting standpoint this movie balances that act as well as any other big blockbuster.
Other than that, after my first viewing of the film, I didn’t have that many nitpicks. There’s obviously going to be things that’ll come out after multiple viewings, but after a first time, I was golden with this film.
I, A Grown 25 Year Old Man, Cried, Four Times During Rise of Skywalker
Like I was mentioning before, this film is the finish to an odyssey of over forty years. The sheer emotional weight of several scenes in this film were too much for me. Not in a bad way at all. Like seeing your friends grow before your eyes, this film does not hold back in this department. It’ll make you laugh, cry, cringe, and your jaw will drop. Rise of Skywalker tells one of the best stories in Star Wars‘s long and illustrious history. I like to judge films like this with how amazed a “twelve year old or six year old Hunter, who wore out the A New Hope VHS” would be with it. Multiple times while watching this film, I felt like I was in that 6-12 year old zone, looking in awe of this film.
As you can tell, I loved Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. For a lot of people, a lot was riding on this film. The reputation of the Star Wars franchise was on the line. The childhood of some fans was also riding on this film. If you were one of the people that felt like The Last Jedi crapped all over your childhood, you need to go see this film. With The Mandalorian and Rise of Skywalker, Disney is showing finally that they have the groove with Star Wars. This film takes the universe that was created in 1977 and gives the Skywalker saga a fitting cap.
Rise of Skywalker gives a thrilling conclusion especially in the final act of the film. You’ll get everything that Star Wars is all about with it. Heart-stopping moments of action and fury that build and build to a conclusion of the saga that will take your breath away. I want to scream from the rooftops about just how great the ending of this film is. It’s one of the moments that made me weep with joy sitting in the theater.
Concluding the Original/Prequel/Trilogy Saga
For only the most repugnant of “fans”, they’re going to boycott this film and slander it on the internet. Don’t be one of those people, you owe it to yourself to see this spectacle. A lot of people were angered by the past two films, while I wasn’t one of those people, I was skeptical after the technical problems with The Last Jedi and the overuse of original plot-lines from The Force Awakens. I told everyone that in a trilogy, if you don’t have it finished yet, the middle part is always going to stick out like a sore thumb. The story isn’t complete. Like a person, if you take out a slice of their life without the ending, you’re not going to get the full picture and it’s going to look worse.
The Skywalker Saga needed a fitting end, and throughout the film, Rise of Skywalker shows just that. It gives a fitting end to the childhood favorite of many people in a tasteful and respectful way. If you come out of this film without a big, dumb, goofy, smile on your face, I, nor Disney will ever satisfy you. Go watch Star Trek, find a different favorite film. Because Star Wars is for the people who love it and respect it. Not for those with loud mouths and a keyboard.
I give the film a 10/10 for what it does to end the saga and how great the performances are in the film. Nothing feels wasted in the film. The issues are negligible and I enjoyed the film thoroughly.