REVIEW: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

With Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) seemingly back from the dead, an old but deadly force threatens the galaxy. While Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeks him out, Rey (Daisy Ridley), under the guidance of Leia (Carrie Fisher), finishes her training.

The Rise of Skywalker is almost too much film. There is so much going on as Rey, Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) go on an adventure together, the Resistance prepares for battle and new (and old) characters are introduced. It goes by at a relentless pace but it works because seeing these characters interact, working together solving seemingly insurmountable problems, is still one of the highlights of these films.

The cast are still as charming as ever. Unfortunately some characters are pushed to the side (Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose being the biggest casualty of this) while some new characters don’t get too much to do at all. Adam Driver continues to be a standout in the series, giving a nuanced performance as Kylo Ren and his continuous struggles with his heritage.

The Rise of Skywalker continues the Star Wars tradition of having interesting and quirky alien creatures, brilliant set design and costuming, and great cinematography. Every planet the heroes (and villains) visit is different and the space battles and lightsaber fights are a way to show off different sides to a characters personality while still being engaging.

The final act of The Rise of Skywalker is pure spectacle and completely Star Wars. There’s the battle of good vs evil, inner conflict, hope, and more spaceships than you could shake a stick at. It’s exciting and is such a rush of space wizard magic – especially when John Williams’s wonderful score kicks in.

Some of the issues I have with The Rise of Skywalker comes from the issues I have with the new Star Wars trilogy film as a whole, like how some plot/character elements I feel are a wasted opportunity. As they can be applied to all the films and not just this one, it feels unfair to solely judge The Rise of Skywalker on the fact it didn’t capitalise on elements that the series hasn’t really revisited since The Force Awakens.

It’s a joy being with the characters of this new trilogy again and while some aspects of this saga are wrapped up too neatly while others aren’t wrapped up enough, The Rise of Skywalker is thrilling, action-packed and a lot of fun. 4/5.

EDIT: I wrote and scheduled this review after seeing The Rise of Skywalker on Thursday. Since then I’ve been seeing all the debates and thoughts (both positive and negative) about this film on social media. Some of it I agree with to an extent or understand, some of it I don’t. My opinion of this film may change when I see it again, or it may not. I just know I was so very happy to see Rey, Finn and Poe going on adventures together and working together that I can forget about or forgive some of the things I might not have liked as much.

5 comments

  1. Awesome review! I just didn’t love this new trilogy. In this latest film, I enjoyed a few of the new characters, but agree that they didn’t get to do much… I left the theater feeling happy because I did enjoy the film, but it was certainly a lot to take in. There was also a kiss that I thought was totally unnecessary (I’m sure you know which one I mean). I’ll have to rewatch them all again at some point to see if that makes more sense the second time around for those two… The film looked beautiful though and the action was awesome!

    1. I totally know what you mean and I think seeing it again will make things become clearer because there’s so much happening. But as you say, if made me happy and if I come out of a film with feeling good, I can forgive some of its flaws.
      Yep, I definitely didn’t like the kiss and thought the moment would’ve been just as satisfying without it.

  2. Great review! You made excellent points about the film being kept alive by the charm of its cast and how they deal with the insurmountable threat.

    Despite the film being erratic, suffering from an overabundance of plot and having a cavalier relationship with consequence, I liked The Rise of Skywalker. This is mostly down to Rey’s arc of control and internal strife about her linage. It felt in keeping with the franchise and its themes.

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