Film Review & Trailer: Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker

Frances Winston reviews this latest Stars Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker

Directed by: J.J. Abrams – Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams

After 42 years, the epic saga of Star Wars finally comes to an end in this, the ninth instalment. Well actually, the Star Wars universe lives on, thanks to numerous spin-offs and additions to the franchise, since it was taken over by Disney, so this is just the ninth movie in the original story. But it will probably be the last time you’ll see any of the OGs involved in it, as it does finally bring to an end the saga of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, et al.

I’m assuming that anyone with an interest in this film is at least familiar with the previous movies (because if you’re not, you’ll be totally lost – just saying!) and therefore you’ll know the amount of loose ends that have to be wrapped up here. As such we get numerous plot tangents – in fact the whole storyline is pretty much made up of a series of tangents. It’s difficult to explain it without giving away spoilers, but in a nutshell, the resistance must thwart Emperor Palpatine’s efforts to conquer the galaxy. So cue lots of CGI heavy action-scenes and space battles.

Director Abrams is also one of the writers, and it is obvious he is trying to cater to all the long-standing fans. As such, we get a few surprise cameos, and lots of Easter eggs and cross references to previous offerings. However, it often feels like this is nothing more than an homage, as it tries to wrap everything up neatly, while also keeping everyone happy (an impossible task). The plot often feels overblown and unimaginative.

It is common knowledge that the late Carrie Fisher’s scenes are comprised of leftover footage from the previous two movies, and it has to be said that it does feel a bit stilted. Obviously, this isn’t Fisher’s fault, and in context, I’m sure her scenes were great. I couldn’t help feeling she deserved better though.

Unfortunately for all the actors, with such a large cast all vying for their piece of the action, no character or actor was ever really going to get a chance to shine. Ironically, one of the most poignant performances comes from Anthony Daniels as the droid, C3PO (he’s also the only actor to have featured in all nine of these movies)!

This looks extremely impressive (as you’d expect since LucasFilm pioneered the CGI in use here) but it always feels like it’s trying to tick too many boxes, ultimately making for a disappointing watch. It tries to blind you with excitement and action, but in the moments where no one is flashing a light-sabre, or shooting down an enemy ship, the holes and weaknesses in the plot are gaping.

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting this payoff since the first instalment in 1977, you won’t find it very satisfying. The fanbase is so devoted though that it’s still sure to make a fortune at the box office, and generate plenty of lucrative merchandise for Disney.

In Cinemas Now! Trailer below:

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