Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega
Director: J.J. Abrams
Running Time: 141 mins
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker is an American film and the ninth in the Star Wars saga. With the Resistance left in pieces and the First Order growing stronger, the remains of the rebel forces join together one last time to bring peace to the galaxy.
As the greatest franchise in cinematic history, it’s no understatement to say that bringing the Star Wars saga is a task of monumental proportions. But with passion, spectacle and a deep love for the eight films before it, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker does a mighty fine job, overcoming some narrative wobbles and an often convoluted plot to provide breathtakingly entertaining blockbuster entertainment, and to bring a satisfying conclusion to the legendary saga.
The sequel trilogy of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise Of Skywalker hasn’t been entirely plain sailing, and now with the weight of the entire franchise’s legacy on its shoulders, this ninth film makes a concerted shift back to safer, more familiar territory from the bold, introspective themes of The Last Jedi.
However, while it doesn’t follow in the groundbreaking footsteps of its immediate predecessor, The Rise Of Skywalker does bring back the glorious, crowd-pleasing excitement that the Star Wars saga is so famous for. Jam-packed with action, emotion, surprises and enormous stakes, the film is a hugely entertaining watch from start to finish, taking you on an epic rollercoaster ride through the galaxy for one last time.
The film isn’t perfect, though. Its immense fun factor notwithstanding, The Rise Of Skywalker gets off to a rather shaky start, struggling to settle through its first act as it frantically tries to re-establish its characters and their story so far, as well as explain and in some cases backtrack on what we learned in The Last Jedi.
Couple that with a plot that lacks the blissful adventure simplicity of The Force Awakens, often proving unnecessarily convoluted and muddled, and there’s no denying that The Rise Of Skywalker has its pitfalls, and struggles to get moving in slick, exhilarating fashion from the get-go.
However, after a shaky start, the film really picks things up in its middle act, with a thoroughly coherent premise that’s backed up by an intensification of action and emotion at the centre of the story.
With exceptional visual effects and a standout score from John Williams, the film develops into a breathlessly-paced and action-packed blockbuster as it heads towards a monumental conclusion. And then, The Rise Of Skywalker really turns on the style with a number of exhilarating twists, spectacular battle sequences, and a gorgeous, passionate marriage of everything that you love about Star Wars.
Because, while the film offers a finale to Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and a number of characters’ arcs, it’s the first Star Wars film that both impresses on its own, and manages to integrate and bond the spirit and spectacle of all three trilogies: the original, the prequels and the sequels.
In that, The Rise Of Skywalker provides a glorious love letter to the legendary story that has led us to this point, featuring a ton of delightful fan service in tandem with a surprising and exciting look back to the past, brilliantly uniting this one story with the countless ups and downs of the Star Wars saga before it.
If you love Star Wars, then there’s so much to adore about The Rise Of Skywalker. Those with less of a fervour for the franchise may see quite a lot go over their heads (a little like in the case of the fantastic Rogue One), but it’s not an impediment to enjoying the exhilarating, action-packed and hefty sci-fi story that the film tells with such glee.
Director J.J. Abrams may indeed take fewer risks here than Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi, but instead, he doubles down on making a passionate and deliriously entertaining crowd-pleaser of a movie that will prove a delight for viewers of all persuasions.
It’s a big job to bring the greatest cinematic franchise in history to an end, but if this really is to be the last movie of the legendary Skywalker saga that we see, then I have to say that Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker does an excellent job.
Exciting, spectacular, surprising, passionate and most of all full of the glorious, epic opera that has made this saga such a success over the last 42 years, The Rise Of Skywalker is an immensely enjoyable watch from beginning to end, and one that will make anyone with a love for Star Wars giddy with joy, so that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1 overall.