Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Film Review

J.J. Abrams was always going to have a challenge sticking the landing with The Rise of Skywalker, which not only concludes this trilogy but all nine films in the main franchise, but it still saddens me to report that I came away disappointed.

This is where I usually do a plot summary but for the sake of being spoiler-free, I’m just going to say the saga continues on from The Last Jedi – the Resistance are still trying to fight the First Order and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is still trying to find out about her legacy and resist Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) attempts to turn her to the Dark Side.

There is an overwhelming amount of content in this film. It’s a hell of a lot to take in and process and you’ll probably be thinking about it, trying to remember everything that happens, for a while, because A LOT happens and it whips along at quite a pace. I felt absolutely exhausted when I came out. This is jam-packed with non-stop action strung together by a fairly weak plot. And the action didn’t grip me like it usually does. I always have issues getting excited with starship chase sequences – and that was the same here – but the finale didn’t grip me and the lightsaber duels looked cool but didn’t thrill like usual.

There are many amazing and very cool fan service moments – from sweet stunts to thrilling cameos – but there were a few character decisions that I really disliked. I genuinely sighed a couple of times because I couldn’t believe that’s what Abrams had decided to do. Some decisions just didn’t feel true to the characters or make sense to me. I came away reeling at the decisions in this film and my negative feelings certainly outweigh the positive, even though there are many moments I enjoyed.

For example, I really liked that Rey, Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) worked together for a large part of the mission and I enjoyed their banter and camaraderie. I loved how much Carrie Fisher was part of the story – given that they had to use unused footage from The Force Awakens – I thought she would have a cameo appearance but it’s actually a small role and her inclusion is seamless. I loved the pops of humour, the droids, the new creature Babu Frik (absolutely hilarious) and the cameos.

As ever, Ridley carries this movie and she does a good job. It is physically and emotionally demanding and she is a likeable lead. My favourite this time was actually Poe, as he gets so much more to do, is given more personality and a bit more colour. A lot of the new characters – such as Zorii (Keri Russell) and Jannah (Naomi Ackie) were barely in it, as was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico – that was a shame.

Judging by Twitter, it is clear this film has been massively polarising. It seems a lot of people did love it, but I’m sadly not in that camp. I didn’t get particularly emotional or come away feeling satisfied. The Rise of Skywalker is my least favourite of the current trilogy and quite a letdown.

In cinemas Thursday 19th December 

Rating: 3/5

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