Star Wars: Rise of The Skywalker (2019)

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Director: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

Review Author: Tony

How do you stick the land of a franchise that never really took off the ground? Such is the question raised by the third and final entry of “Skywalker Saga” after the previous two entries only served to divide fans. The answer according to returning director, J.J. Abrams, is to pick up where he left off and disregard The Last Jedi with the same sense of abandonment Johnson showed The Force Awakens. Not only does the lack of continuity appear shoddy on Disney’s part, but there’s almost a sense of contempt between the two directors. The lesser of two evils falls on the fact that The Force Awakens proved to be more popular amongst Star Wars enthusiasts so Abrams doubles down on fan service, spectacle and .

While I gave The Last Jedi a lot of praise especially for being ambitious and going its own path, it hasn’t held up quite so much with each revisit. It’s oddly paced, the humour mostly misses and there’s a cynical nature about it that goes beyond just trying to irk the toxic side of the fanbase but nearly the whole source material. Abrams may be getting flack for downplaying this entry, but Johnson did essentially the same thing, he may have subverted expectations, but he left the story in essentially the same place where The Force Awakens had left off while also scrapping any new ideas Abrams may have been trying to build on.

While I imagine I can delve into spoilers at this point, I’ll abstain just in case and summarize the plot briefly. The Resistance is still few in numbers while Kylo Ren tightens his grip on the Galaxy as the leader of the First Order. Grave news has emerged of an old enemy which not only threatens the Resistance but also Kylo Ren’s place as Supreme leader. Our heroes Rey, Poe and Finn must race against The First Order to discover the source of this danger and free the Galaxy of Tyranny.

The first act of the movie is almost nauseating owing to its frantic pacing that rushes from scene to scene trying to cram in both spectacle and heavy exposition that essentially is just characters reintroducing themselves and talking about what they need to collect and where they need to go. The midsection is where the film finds its footing and allows us to enjoy the more fantastical elements associated with Star Wars. There’re shootouts, witty banter, scary monsters and light sabre battles, but what i enjoyed most was seeing this series characters back interacting with each other. They may not have received as much development as I would have liked, but the friendship between Rey, Finn, and Poe has been the highlight of this trilogy.

Abrams may get the ship steady with Rise of the Skywalker but it’s at the detriment of introducing anything new to the series. It’s a fine blockbuster that looks and sounds great but there’s a hollowness to it, the sense of adventure just feels emulated and not as natural as the original films or even The Force Awakens. There’s some emotional character moments and the actors do a swell job, the script is just too bare for anything or anyone to truly shine.

Rise of the Skywalker concludes a fairly confused and not well thought out end to the most famous saga in cinema history. Not for one second do I really believe this is the end, but Disney seems to have learned that they have over-saturated the series and fatigue has built among the fanbase. Star Wars films are sure to be on the horizon but not at the rate we’ve seen over the last 5 years.  Despite the flaws and lack of originality, there is plenty to enjoy with this film. Also, The Mandalorian exists, which is simply the best Star Wars media since the original films and I have resigned myself to the cult of Baby Yoda.

Rating: 3 / 5 Babu Frik’s

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