The Rise of Skywalker: Flawed But Fan-Pleasing Finale Has Strong Finish

2.5 out of 5 stars (Decent)

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I have always been a casual Star Wars fan.  Outside of Solo, I enjoyed the movies well enough and have dabbled in some of the games and shows, but I don’t have a deep connection with this franchise others do.  As a casual fan, I found Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a serviceable blockbuster held back by the choices of its predecessor.  It makes the finish line, but fans both casual and devoted deserved better than this.

Our heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Issac) unite once more to defeat The First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and save the galaxy.  I’d personally love to see a story in this universe where the galaxy Wasn’t threatened by a totalitarian regime or crime lord, but I doubt Star Peace would be as profitable.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a mixed bag.  Writer-director J.J. Abrams (who also helmed The Force Awakens) returns the light tone, witty banter, and sense of joy to the proceedings mostly lost in Rian Johnson‘s The Last Jedi, but because that film failed to develop anyone or anything set up in Force Awakens, neither our heroes or overarching plot are as engaging as they should be.  The action is colorful, fast, and fun, and the climax is pure blockbuster entertainment.  With one exception, the answers to longstanding questions are underwhelming and frustratingly rushed, but the actors sell every one of them.

For me, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a largely forgettable swan song to the Skywalker Saga, but longtime fans will likely rejoice for a chance to see some of their favorite characters one last time.   May the Force Be With You All.

Rated PG-13 for Sci-Fi Violence and Action

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