Spoiler Alert: This review includes very mild spoilers for Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker is a jam-filled tribute to the legacy of George Lucas and the millions of devoted fans who have kept the franchise alive and well for decades. And while it lacks the more cohesive, well-organized storyline of its predecessors, Bal Jagat (2015) and the previous Jedi (2014), Skywalker is always buoyed by dazzling visuals, satisfying emotional beats and solid performances.
The rise of Skywalker, aka Episode Ninth, takes place not long after the action in the previous Jedi. When viewers past General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Ray (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Droid friends BB-8, R2-D2 and C-3PO Seen, the rebellious forces are fighting for good (resistance) first-order destroyed by evil. Ray was trying to master his power, while also managing a powerful force bond with supposed rival Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Episode Ninth is the opposing forces that the universe opens with a look at fuel-light and darkness. The new First Order supreme leader Kylo Ren is trying to find the fiery emperor and squash the remaining members of the resistance, while Ray continues his Jedi training under closer look by General Organa. When both sides receive different intels about how to potentially destroy the other, it sets a complex series of action, space travel, and treasure hunting, ahead of the final epic ending — all battles of darkness vs. light, good vs. evil.
Ray, Finn, Po, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3 P0 set out to find and destroy the power source of the first order. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren, who happens to have damaging information about Ray’s past, is hot on their trail and demands to convince Ray to embrace the dark side before he is forced to eradicate her.
Directed by JJ Abrams (Force Awakens), Skywalker is a love letter to Star Wars itself, although a mob one. Aside from a lot of the story told over the time course of running the film for almost two and a half hours, there are Easter eggs over Easter eggs and major set pieces that have become the test of the franchise. While thrilling to watch, there seems to be an eyelid, and you miss it all to action, because of all the ground film cover.
A major attraction is Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia touching standoff. Using additional footage from the actress’s final performance before her death in 2014, Skywalker gives the star and her character several key shining moments — including one with her daughter actress Billy Lourdes. Billy Dee Williams’ return of Lando Calrissian also makes for a fun addition, with many other cameos to watch out for.
Newcomers to the Star Wars universe Jannah, (Naomi Ackie), Zorii Anand (Keri Russell), Poe Past and Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), a first-order officer, each of whom makes a difference in memorable character moments that Includes a figure from the story. However, it is Ridley Ray, and driver Kylo Ren that all anchor it and deliver the most emotionally charged performance.
Episode Ninth both awakens the force and provides definitive conclusions to the many plot points laid out in the previous Jedi. Still, it also raises many surprising questions as it does so. And although the franchise is built on crowd-pleasing action sequences and a legacy of space travel and force, etc., the film is most active in the short moments and emotional connections between beloved characters, who can always use further exploration and attention.
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