Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams
This review of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker will be as SPOILER-FREE as humanly possible, but there probably be some spoilers if you haven’t watched any of the trailers or seen any of the posters.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is finally here. It feels like we’ve been waiting to see this film for years, and it’s now here and we’re going to get to see how the Skywalker saga ends.
The film, which was directed by J.J. Abrams and who co-wrote the script with Chris Terrio, is the culmination of this most recent Star Wars trilogy which has proven to be rather divisive.
I won’t go into details on Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’s plot, but I will say that the gist of it is that the Resistance has spent some time building itself up after the events on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but the First Order is now stronger than ever and people are trying to find other people.
I don’t think I can make it any vaguer than that, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you guys in this review.
What I will do is tell you how the movie made me feel and how it sits in as far as I’m concerned next to the rest of the Star Wars movies.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker forgets that The Last Jedi even exists
The first thing that jumped out at me was the way Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker addresses (or fails to address) everything that happened in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi had its very vocal critics, and there were legitimate reasons for people not to like Rian Johnson’s movie, but as far as I was concerned, I thought his movie was the most forward-thinking and brave Star Wars film I had ever seen.
I broke all the rules set in other Star Wars films before it, and I can’t thank Johnson enough for being brave and bold enough to try and do something very different within the Star Wars movie framework.
However, Abrams’ final film in this latest Star Wars trilogy reverts back to the past. It harkens back to Star Wars movies of old and revels in the past. There are shots in this film which are literally recreations of scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy.
Some might say that this was necessary in order to bring the ‘die-hard’ Star Wars fans back into the fold. The Rise Of Skywalker is very much a case of ‘let’s give the fans what they want’.
That’s fine, and Abrams has done a remarkable job in tieing everything up and actually giving us a satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga, but I would say that you should never make a movie with the intention of pleasing a certain section of the audience.
You should make a film that you believe it. You shouldn’t have to worry about the fanbase will think. However, this is slightly different as far as Star Wars is concerned because the fanbase here is important.
There’s an over-reliance on fan-service
People who’ve loved watching these Star Wars movies, the people who’ve grown up with them deserve to be thought of whilst making a new Star Wars movie, and that was arguably The Last Jedi’s biggest flaw. I don’t think Rian Johnson ever really took the fans into consideration.
It was his unique vision that he wanted to put on-screen, and I also think that was the film’s biggest strength.
The best thing would be to land somewhere in the middle, and I think The Rise Of Skywalker is too far on the side of ‘fan-service’ and The Last Jedi is way over on the other side of this spectrum.
That said, The Rise Of Skywalker is a fan-pleasing movie, and that’s what many people want. I myself – to paraphrase Richard E. Grant – I laughed, I cried, I punched the air (I didn’t really to be honest), I cheered. I had a huge smile on my face the whole way through.
I will never forget the cinematic experience I had whilst watching Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. However, in amongst all the cheers, sobs and laughs, I also thought, ‘there’s an awful lot of fan-service going on here. Way too much, actually’.
Fan-service can be a good thing, but it can get in the way of storytelling, and I believe it does in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is a beautiful mess
An over-reliance on fan-service means you end up with a film that goes out of its way to include things that don’t necessarily make sense. There are moments in this film which I really thought didn’t need to be included, but they were because Abrams and the film’s producers felt it would be a nice nod to the fans.
You’ll end up with a very stiff neck with all the nods and winks to other Star Wars properties and movies going on in The Rise Of Skywalker.
A friend described the movie to me as being a beautiful mess, and I think he’s spot on with that take. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is a beautiful mess of a movie.
It looks incredible, especially in IMAX. I personally got to watch it in IMAX 3D, which is something I’m not overly used to. I love watching films in IMAX, but I tend to think that the 3D ends up giving me a bit of a headache.
But with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker it adds a certain crispness to what was unfolding on-screen and it actually made me more engulfed in what was going on.
I would highly recommend you seen the movie in IMAX 3D if you can, but I know that can be quite pricey.
All this aside, Abrams has made a beautiful Star Wars film – the movie looks incredible – but he also made a messy one. There’s too much going on. There’s not enough focus, and too much reliance on fan-service and the movie completely ignores all the good work in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is C3PO’s movie
If anything, I think Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker does a huge disservice to The Last Jedi and that did make me rather sad, because it almost felt as if Abrams and Lucasfilm were conceding defeat as far as that movie goes, and I really do believe it’s one of the best Star Wars films ever made (that is my personal opinion, and I do understand people who don’t feel the same way).
I would also say that Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker features the best performance from Daisy Ridley as Rey. John Boyega is brilliant as Finn. Oscar Isaac is wonderfully compelling as Po Dameron, but I would say that the standout in this movie is Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, who’s easily the most intriguing Star Wars character of all time and Driver delivers one of the most nuanced and deep performances I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars movie.
I also cannot write a review of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker without mentioning Anthony Daniels as C3PO, who delivers his best-ever performance as the droid. This is, in many cases, C3PO’s movie, and I loved his moments.
So there you have it. Hopefully, I didn’t spoil too much for you. I tried to keep this Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker review as spoiler-free as possible, but maybe one of two slipped in there by accident.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is in cinemas UK wide now.
Have you seen the movie? If so, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.
The IMAX release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
Tickets are available now at http://po.st/RiseofSkywalkerIMAX.
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