You probably already know that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will wrap up a multi-generational saga when it opens in theatres on December 20th, 2019. From my parents seeing A New Hope for the first time in local theatres, to receiving my first lightsaber for my many adventures as a young Jedi, to my kids now turning on my Death Star tree topper every five minutes to hear the music, this franchise has touched many lives.
For me, Star Wars has been an escape from the real world. I remember spending hours at Barnes and Noble reading every extended universe book I could get my hands on. For those who know me, you understand my love for Jaina Solo.
My husband purchased me a purple lightsaber just for that reason. I kind of feel like some of Jaina’s stories from the books were incorporated in the plotlines but I won’t get into those details for sake of not spoiling anything.
Anticipating this movie had me both excited and nervous. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t one of the Star Wars fans that completely loathed The Last Jedi but I left disappointed in the film. I will get to more thoughts on that later in this review.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker No-Spoiler Review
The film itself is phenomenal. This team did an excellent job in wrapping up the saga and I think it closes it all out well. Incorporating nostalgic moments from previous films that will make any Star Wars fan cheer, cry, and have a moment.
I can see where some die-hard canon film fans might be disappointed but if you are one who enjoys extended universe and the nitty-gritty details of Star Wars, I think this movie will leave you satisfied with how the saga is wrapped up in a big shiny bow. Especially if you were some of the first to see this franchise when Lucas dazzled the world in 1977.
Where Star Wars Could Have Done Better
The film kicks off fairly quickly. I feel like J.J. Abrams and the writers were out to fill every hole they could from The Last Jedi and as quickly as possible without rushing the film. I’ll hand it to J.J. and the team that they were able to execute this in the 2 hours and 22 minutes runtime.
Still, I do feel that the first half of the film could have easily been Episode 8 with further details and the last half of this film could have been Episode 9. I am not disappointed with The Rise of Skywalker at all but it makes me further disappointed with The Last Jedi. I wish we could have had more time for this storyline and perhaps a more epic ending battle scene had more of this been fulfilled in Episode 8.
Our Beloved Characters Old and New
We begin Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with Supreme Leader Snoke dead and Kylo Ren hungry to further his power. News is spreading that Emporer Palpatine has once again risen to power and The Resistance prepares for battle with The First Order. Rey has been completing her Jedi training leaving the others to missions without her. All while still searching for the answers to her parents and lineage.
Quickly we are happy to see the characters reunited again for some very epic scenes following the start of the film. The first act of this movie bounces back and forth quickly but it isn’t hard to keep up with what is going on.
Thankfully, about a quarter of the way through the film, many questions will be answered that we have been waiting for. One of which I was pretty clued in on from the start; due to being an in-depth Star Wars fan. I was a bit worried about where the storyline might go with this theory but I was happy with how it played out.
This is just where I wish we had more answers in The Last Jedi (similar to The Empire Strikes Back) so that we might have watched more of the character build from this news/moment. However, that is far from this film’s fault or doing. Even with some of the more obvious answers, there are plenty of “WHAT?!” moments in the film for this die-hard Star Wars fan.
As I mentioned before, the coming together of new and old was very well orchestrated in this film. I enjoyed the new characters alongside many moments that just felt like good Star Wars cinematic moments. Some that even will make your heart melt and give our beloved Chewbacca his moment.
The new droid, D-O, is not what I expected but I just adore this droid. “Never underestimate a droid,” by the way.
Zorri Bliss was well played by Keri Russell (Felicity fans rejoice). I didn’t feel like her character was just stuck in there for a cameo. She made perfect sense.
Jannah is a character I long to have more time with and judging by a line that her and Lando exchange in this film, I think we can look forward to more of her very soon. She has a story that needs to be told.
Babu Frik is a new crowd favorite and adds the perfect amount of comedy to a few heavy scenes within the movie. He’s no “Baby Yoda/The Child” but he brings a lot to the table.
I think it is safe to say that as Star Wars fans, we were pleased to have Lando back in action with Chewbacca. The characters we have loved for decades finally felt like they were at full capacity with all that is Star Wars. It will all finally make sense despite everything leading to this point feeling a bit undone.
Cinematography That Would Make Lucas Proud
The cinematography was where I knew J.J. Abrams and his team would come through and he didn’t disappoint. Star Wars has always been known for its epic scenes that were well before their time thanks to the power of George Lucas.
Abrams does a fantastic job of working his magic with the edge of your seat vehicles, clashing of color in fight scenes, and camera angles and sets that will bring you along on the journey. I am happy to think that Abrams has pleased George Lucas by continuing his work.
Hold your breath and hang on for quite a few moments of light versus dark that will bring every single lightsaber battle throughout Star Wars franchise history to its knees.
Overall Thoughts of This Film
I find that this film is very satisfying as a closure to an epic run over generations. The characters and plotline give us real-life struggles that help us relate to these moments in a galaxy far, far away. Finding one’s calling and working through fear is the hardest and most powerful journey in life.
Sometimes that means making sacrifices that are not easy. Making choices that might hurt people we love. The call to leadership is a struggle and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker leaves us with every heartstring tugged by this.
The film doesn’t end in a way that I think most people thought it would. However, I am glad that we have more of a gritty ending with a send-off that will give Star Wars fans all the feels. Especially if you’re into things like meanings of lightsaber colors, etc. It is what we needed to walk away with closure…for now.
See “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in theatres on December 20th, 2019.
As an extended universe and original Star Wars saga fan, this movie has left me with a quiet smile as I bid “so-long” to the characters who have kept me company in books, comics, and films all these years. I look forward to a further generation of Star Wars and am thankful for the ride. May the Force be with you.