star wars: the rise of skywalker

DIRECTOR: j. j. abrams (star wars: the force awakens)
STARRING: daisy ridley, adam driver, oscar isaac, and john boyega

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

It’s finished. After over four decades and nine films the Skywalker saga, with all of its childhood memories, action figures and nostalgia is finally complete. Many fans have welcomed back J. J. Abrams to the helm after his critical and box office acclaimed first instalment in the ‘new’ series. But does J. J. deliver the goods? Well, some of them…

 

Can’t say much about the plot. Don’t want to spoil all of the surprises for you. But what I can say is that I loved the whole look of the film. From the ever so slight film grain that you’d expect from a 70’s or 80’s Star Wars film to the sets and creatures, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker looks like it belongs smack bang right in the Star Wars universe. It’s a truly beautiful film to behold.

 

The first act begins almost like an Indiana Jones quest and is filled to the gunnels with action, adventure, suspense and of course a whole lot of blaster battles. It felt like a real return to form with splashes of old Star Wars humour thrown in for good measure.

 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also has arguably the best and most inventive chase scene in the series and one of its greatest fist pumping cool moments: when Rey jumps a TIE fighter. You probably saw it in the trailer. Its more epic heart in mouth good than you could imagine. Goosebumps. 

 

The second act however feels a little bit flat and bloated as characters come at you thick and fast. While there are some great moments for these characters that are introduced at this point of the film, it really feels awfully rushed without a chance for them to all have their silver screen time unfortunately. Keri Russell’s character feels woefully underused – I want to know more about her!

 

To be honest J. J. Abrams was on a hiding to nothing in some respects. The original series had George Luca’s story running through it, this new trilogy had different writers for all three films. This leads to it feeling narratively disjointed. If they had started some of the main story arcs, even hinted at them, in the first or at least the second instalment they would have been more narratively logical.

 

Abrams also had to honour the three original films and the subsequent three prequels while tying up all the loose ends from the last two. That’s a heck of a lot to do in under two and a half hours.

 

Which leads to the final act feeling slightly rushed with a couple of story arcs having not done enough to deserve where they ended up. I would have loved if we could have had another hour to be able to flesh all these storylines out.

 

That being said there are some really great moments in this film, some that you see coming and some that you really don’t. At the heart of it all is Daisy Ridley who is just hands down magnificent in this film, the best (and she’s been really, really good in the previous two films) performance she’s given.

 

While it’s a beautiful looking movie with some great gut punching moments, J. J. Abrams had too much narratively to deal with leading the film and the Star Wars saga towards a rushed conclusion.   

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