Continuing from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Rey continues her training in becoming a Jedi while living amongst the Resistance with friends Finn, Poe & General Leia. Rey is still coming to terms with not knowing everything about her past, including who her mystery parents were. Soon the Resistance is shocked to discover an old enemy on the Dark Side of the Force is still alive- Emperor Palpatine. The most significant enemy in this galaxy is still somehow alive. The team is sent to find a way to deal with the Emperor, accomplishing multiple objectives along the way and forcing Rey to deal with her conflicts. Rey is also still in contact from time to time with Kylo Ren who continues to give her an invitation to join him. Kylo Ren also hints to Rey that only he knows the complete truth about her parents and her destiny.
Going into this film, I was very opened minded. I felt for director J.J Abrams as he was tasked with following on from a movie full of really complex plot points. Not only that, actress Carrie Fisher had sadly passed away before the making of this film, and her role as a critical element to making this film successful.
The opening of this film felt exciting, but suddenly I thought to myself that I was watching multiple plots points. Main characters were tasked with one thing only to be charged with another. Sometimes these tasks were interrupted only to load the marks up with more tasks and more plot points. Not only do some of the elements feel rushed, but the core plot or main objective didn’t require some of these plot points. It’s not awful, and it’s still entertaining as a Star Wars film, it just felt, forgettable. On rethinking about the 1st half of this film again, if I had to explain every element to a friend I probably couldn’t do it without a second watch.
Once the 1st act of the film passes the film gives a different vibe and feels more like a Star Wars film that fans would be familiar with. Satisfyingly, mysteries that Star Wars fans have been wondering about for years were finally answered. I was personally satisfied with all the plot twists in this instalment, but I can also understand why some would be disappointed. In the end, I’m thankful the director has done the challenging task of answering the questions the previous films had lined up.
Key performances were generally what I would expect given the previous two instalments, but must say I’m once again impressed with Adam Driver (Kylo Ryn) as an actor. The director also has a better way of directing humour which I felt the last film failed to do (just my opinion).
From an audio and visual standpoint, Star Wars: Rise Of The Skywalker looks and sounds rather incredible. Some CGI effects didn’t always convince me, but for the most part, it’s enjoyable, and it has my praise.
Overall, I found myself enjoying this film despite the 1st half, which does have forgettable moments and plot points. Despite my enjoyment, the first act hurts my score and the entire movie. The questions fans have been asking are finally answered, but granted; not everyone will be pleased with the answers. For me, I found the film better than what I expected, but I can’t help think that some opportunities were missed, particularly during the setup/opening. Regardless, I feel Star Wars fans will find lots to enjoy as they go down memory lane with the most fantastic sci-fi franchise that ever lived.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)- Movie Review Podcast is now available!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden