Allow me to preface this story with this: I am not a movie critic. That said, a normal viewer can see what’s wrong with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final film of the 42-year saga.
No matter what J.J. Abrams did with this film, many wouldn’t be happy. Plus, although beautiful, The Last Jedi wasn’t what Star Wars enthusiasts wanted, so this film was the last chance to make up for that. And, well, it did.
Throughout the epic, which runs just over two hours, he does just that with fan service. In this case, fan service is not a bad thing. As previously revealed, Billy Dee Williams and Ian McDiarmid return as Lando Calrissian and Emperor Palpatine, respectively, but they’re just the start of the nostalgia that fills the movie.
Due to Carrie Fisher’s untimely death, the team was forced to construct any Leia story lines through unused footage. While technically, it was a success, the scenes came off a bit limiting. Nevertheless, prepare to shed a tear (or a lot, if you’re me) over what they did do with the General’s scenes and her interaction with the rest of the cast.
The Rise of Skywalker is an emotional roller-coaster. But even more so, it’s fun — something very evident in the original movies — and Abrams isn’t afraid to highlight that. The silliest, charming moments come mostly from Oscar Isaac’s Poe, the scene-stealer of the movie. The bond and friendship between Poe and John Boyega’s Finn is — just as fans would hope — a large part of the story, as is their bond and bicker with Daisy Ridley’s Rey.
Speaking of Rey, the questions fans have had for so long about the mysterious character will be answered — through multiple rushed story lines. The moment one central issue is resolved, the next begins so briskly, it doesn’t allow for any time to process what just happened.
This becomes a larger issue with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, whose journey alone could have been a full film. However, it was tough to dive deep into the emotional journey so quickly. Instead, viewers received an obvious (and repetitive) push-pull between Kylo and Rey, while he literally stated, “I’m going to find you and turn you to the dark side.”
The main cast is given so much content that it leaves very little room for any of the supporting characters to shine. Per usual, I would have liked more Chewie, BB-8, R2D2 and even new droid, D-0. C-3P0, I’m happy to report, did receive a fair share of screen time and actual content.
All of that said, the condensed runtime and crisis overload resulted in an entertaining film from minute one to 142. It wasn’t dragged out as many conclusions are. I laughed. I cried. I gasped and reached over to grab my best friend’s hand. Honestly, that’s what I want from a movie. It’s far from perfect on paper but at the center of Star Wars is the fans. So I’m perfectly OK with this being for fans, not critics.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters Friday, December 20.
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