Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has officially landed in our galaxy and it’s a very welcome addition to the eight episodes that preceded it. The internet will inevitably dissect every single frame and it will no doubt be the topic of many heated discussions over the next few weeks – but here’s our two cents worth anyway.
J.J. Abrams returns to the director’s chair for this final part in the saga and to say he’s created an action-packed movie would be an understatement. The continuing story of Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Leia and the ongoing fight of the resistance against Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is an action sci-fi film of epic proportions. So much so, that we can’t help thinking this could/should have been two films. This shines a light on the need to have had a clearly planned out story arc for this final trilogy from the get-go. There’s definitely a more fast and furious (not the film franchise) vibe created by Abrams compared to Rian Johnson.
We both enjoyed every minute viewing in the IMAX, and it is a highly entertaining watch, but upon reflection, a few parts were just that one notch too far or overdone. This by no means spoils the experience, but when those moments do happen, we suggest you let them wash over you and remember just how many fans of different generations this film is trying to please. Overall, the good more than outweighs the bad plus the pace moves so quickly you don’t have time to ponder any flaws for too long. We’re already booked in for a second screening.
We don’t want to give anything away but can tell you that you’re in for a rollicking ride with your nerves and emotions pulled in many conflicting directions. As always, the John Williams score is rousing and you can feel the nostalgia vibrating through your bones (especially if you watch the film in IMAX). Visually, Abrams nails it again as he did in The Force Awakens with fast-paced battle scenes, weird and wonderful creatures, vast and varied landscapes and huge set pieces. All the cast deliver the goods with plenty of surprises and a script that allows for some deeper and more mature performances – notably from Oscar Isaacs, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver. However, Driver really is outstanding and the glue that has held this whole trilogy together. An unmissable performance.
We’re sure that they’ll be plot points and character arcs from Episode IX that will upset some fans and delight others for an eternity, but J.J. Abrams has successfully rounded off the Skywalker saga.
This might be a slightly overstuffed bird but it’s definitely not a turkey. Feast your eyes on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this Christmas.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar and Ian Wright.