Movie Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Walt Disney Pictures

"The Rise of Skywalker" was released in December of 2019 and concludes the adored "Star Wars" saga.

Brent Evans, staff writer

Abrams and fellow screenwriter Chris Terrio were given the unenviable task of concluding the beloved saga, which has spanned over four decades and multiple platforms, including television, video games, books, and more. Despite the burden, Abrams and Terrio stick the landing, delivering an emotional and action-packed finale, highlighted by stellar performances by Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley. 

Despite the divisiveness of 2017’s The Last Jedi, one aspect most fans enjoyed was the unique bond shared by Rey (portrayed by Ridley) and Kylo Ren (portrayed by Driver), and their relationship is further explored in this film. Other notable performances include Billy Dee Williams’ long-awaited return as Lando Calrissian and Oscar Isaac’ Poe Dameron who fights alongside John Boyega’s Finn.

The overall plot of the movie is a lot to digest, which one could expect from a movie tasked with tying up nine films of story. The plot sees the Resistance fighting to stop the Sith fleet, commanded by Emperor Palpatine, thought to be long dead. Rey, who has been continuing her Jedi training, leads a team of heroes on a mission to discover the location of the Emperor’s base. Along the way, the group encounters Lando Calrissian and Rey’s true lineage is finally revealed, something fans have pondered since The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren informs Rey that she is in fact a Palpatine, the granddaughter of the Emperor. Their journey climaxes in a duel between Rey and Kylo Ren, resulting in Kylo’s return to the light after his estranged mother, Leia reaches out to him, sacrificing herself. Rey, after a quick pow-wow with the Force Ghost of Luke Skywalker, goes to the Emperor’s planet to confront him, followed by a redeemed Kylo Ren, now once again Ben Solo. A battle ensues, resulting in the eventual death of both Ben and Palpatine. 

Undoubtedly my favorite part of the film has to be the so called “voices” scene, which features the return of many beloved characters from across Star Wars as they speak to Rey during her battle with Palpatine, highlighted by voice cameos from Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson, and Hayden Christiensen, all of whom haven’t  appeared on screen since the early 2000’s.  

I personally loved this scene, as it paid homage to the Prequel trilogy, something that the previous two films in the trilogy failed to do. 

The film isn’t without its problems, however. The way Palpatine returns is rather lazily explained in the movie itself (discounting comics, novels, etc.), and the reality that this trilogy was not planned out is evident in this film.

All things considered, I think it’s hard to look at this film by itself, as it not only acts as the end of the Sequel trilogy, but as the end of the Skywalker Saga as a whole. While this film isn’t perfect by any means, it checks all the boxes it needed to and I genuinely enjoyed everything it brought to the table. Star Wars is back, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

 

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