Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

Does the final film bring balance to the series?

The last installment of the “Star Wars” franchise keeps viewers guessing.

The time has finally come for Star Wars fans across the globe to finally delve into the final installment of the Skywalker saga as it released Dec 20. “Rise of Skywalker” is the ninth installment and with it comes the burden of delivering a satisfying ending and tying up unanswered questions left from previous films.

So, the burning question in everyone’s mind is: “Does it?” In short, yes. No, it’s by no means perfect but very few films are. Executing an ending on a trilogy that had different writers and directors for each movie is no easy task in the first place.

My friend and I had ordered the earliest tickets we could get weeks prior and I felt an excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time as I walked up to the theater doors. Instead of various people in sweatpants and popcorn butter stains, I saw people grouping up and taking pictures in all their “Star Wars” costumes.

As I waited for my friend, a father in a stormtrooper costume was holding hands with his son as they happily walked to their theater, and it had reminded me of when my dad had first shown me “Star Wars” as a kid and instantly falling in love with it.

The movie starts off with scenes of Kylo Ren battling and cutting his way through any opposition to find answers on how to get to Emperor Palpatine, whose voice has been heard across the galaxy by Resistance and First Order alike. Once Kylo locates Palpatine, the emperor reveals he has been pulling strings as part of his sinister plan for the galaxy.

At first, the pacing of the movie can feel really fast and like there is too much going on to keep track of, but it starts to regain its traction and even out into the second act of the movie. As I have read from others, some may feel off-balanced with the fast pace of the beginning, but I didn’t feel it was a huge deal as the movie had a lot to set up and answer before the credits rolled one last time.

The action and adventure kept pace through to the end and there was even a good amount of twists and turns. Some were more shocking than others, but it still did a good job of keeping you guessing and on the edge of your seat.

As the story progressed, I noticed it didn’t feel quite like “The Force Awakens” or “The Last Jedi” did. I felt both had strikingly similar plot points and aspects to their respective predecessors in the original trilogy. No, this movie was not a “Return of the Jedi” with flashier effects. It was something all its own, leaving me with a feeling that I truly had no idea what was going to happen or how it was going to end.

The film did a great job of construing the struggles of both sides of the force and the line between the light and dark side was more blurred than ever in any previous installments. The movie shows Rey’s struggle with her feelings and lack of answers, as well as Kylo struggling with his conflict and anger, showing he’s human and not just some bad guy in a black mask with an evil slice-y sword.

The character developments were all satisfying, and I’ll even admit I was pleasantly surprised by the humor in the movie as it’s not something the series is known for. The humor wasn’t corny or just for kids and it wasn’t layered on as hard as something like the Marvel movies.

There were also moments that you could tell were just for the fans and it’s hard to describe them without spoiling things. Let’s just say some characters finally get some recognition and the deeper stories that they deserved since even as far back as the original trilogy.

The movie doesn’t answer everything and isn’t 100 percent airtight with tying up all loose ends and explanations, but “Star Wars” always had a bit of an air of mystery to it. I think I’ll still be able to sleep soundly without understanding how all the workings of invisible space magic work.

As I mentioned before, the movie isn’t perfect, but I didn’t expect perfection, I expected “Star Wars” and I’m happy to say that’s what I got. From walking into the theater to driving home, I was filled with the same wonderment that had engulfed me when I saw my first Star Wars movie as a kid. And for me, that’s enough to have enjoyed another installment in my favorite franchise.

REVIEW: 4.5/5

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