” The Force is strong with this conclusion.”
Director: J.J. Abrams
Written by: Chris Terrio, (story by, screenplay by), J.J. Abrams (story by, screenplay by), Derek Connolly (story by), Colin Trevorrow (story by)
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan
Some mild spoilers written in the article, read at your risk
I have been a fan of the Star Wars franchise since 2005 during the time when the Prequel Trilogy was nearing its end in theaters with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The films made me feel like I was a part of a galaxy far, far, away starting with the iconic John Williams theme when the opening crawl begins in the introduction.
A decade later, J.J Abrams, who helmed the first two rebooted Star Trek movies and produced the Cloverfield movies, gave audiences a spectacular reintroduction to Star Wars in 2015 With The Force Awakens under the Disney banner. Then, the Sequel Trilogy continued with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi in 2017, which has polarized fans to a certain extent but still made a billion dollars at the box office. Now, this latest film, The Rise of Skywalker, directed by Abrams, is supposed to end all nine episodes in the saga (although Disney will end up making more Star Wars movies in 2022). In my opinion, The Rise of Skywalker was well worth the wait after The Last Jedi.
The story picks up a year after The Last Jedi, with the Resistance picking themselves up after the Battle of Crait and preparing for one last showdown with The First Order all the while Jakku scavenger turned Jedi protagonist Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her training to become a Jedi and fully learn secrets of her past.
As a whole, the cast of this movie has been outstanding, and served their purpose. John Boyega’s Finn and was solid; he was not as overly funny as the last two installments because I can tell that his character is now a fully-fledged member of the Resistance. But there are some Finn-isms from the last movies that still rounds it out. There are certain scenes involving Finn and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) during their capture by the First Order, providing moments of comedy between the two. Those moments reminded audiences about the buddy relationship that was established in The Force Awakens.
Isaac’s Poe Dameron is also a solid character, serving as the next generation’s Han Solo. The return of one of my favorite characters from the original trilogy, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is also a well-deserved treat for fans, even though his scenes were brief in the beginning and reappears near the ending of the movie. It is great seeing Lando back after the original trilogy and after Donald Glover played the younger version of him in Solo: A Star Wars Story (which I did not like because as I felt that movie was not needed). Lando has still has his General rank from his days in the Rebellion and has taken over as the new pilot of the Millennium Falcon (Boy, do we miss Han, ol’ buddy). Even Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, who was very conflicted throughout the trilogy, has a very thoughtful and nice resolution to his character.
Lastly, I thought they gave Princess Leia Organa a sudden, but great farewell despite the fact that Carrie Fisher has passed on. Her last act, which I will not spoil, was a very important part in the movie that fans will either like or dislike. I happened to like her character’s resolution, but the suddenness of the farewell is due to the fact this is technically her last time on screen. Abrams was against using motion capture for Fisher using another actor, since he considered it disrespectful. But I understand the story he and his team were trying to tell with the footage they had.
One of my criticisms about this movie is that it is a bit messy in certain scenes to move the plot along because of running time. For example, the film starts with Finn, Poe and Chewbacca trying to escape from the First Order in the Falcon by jumping through hyperspace several times to outrun the Tie Fighter. Those beginning scenes were not needed, but I feel that after the revelation in The Last Jedi, where the First Order can track the Resistance through lightspeed, the film needed to remind us that the First Order can do that. But in my opinion, as the last Star Wars movie out of the sequel trilogy, I feel that The Rise of Skywalker should end with a bang instead of feeling messy. My other criticism is that I have to wait another three years for a new set of Star Wars movies that may or may not feature the name Skywalker. It’s not a major criticism but I am just happy there will be more movies possibly with Rey and the gang.
I think people can trust the Force with this film because it gives an amazing conclusion to the saga that began in 1977 and progresses the ideas of what the Force is, as well as contribute to the changing representation that are now seeing in media.
Julian Jones is a sociology student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When he’s not studying or watching films, he’s practicing for his next performance with the UAB Chamber Singers. Let him know what you thought of his review by leaving him a comment below!