Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
by Ben Nietzel
December 27, 2019

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is the latest and final installment in Disney’s current trilogy, and supposedly the endcap to the main Star Wars storyline that started back in 1977.

 The truth is, I’m not the guy you should be asking for a review of this movie. I’ll get to some pros and cons per my contractional agreement but allow me to preface that with a slight digression. Star Wars will always have a special place in my heart.

Being born in 1977, I grew up with the original three films, and they exhibited by far the greatest influence on me of any external cultural influences. My early imagination and play were dominated by Star Wars. Sure, G.I. Joe, He-Man, and the Transformers were there, but looming over it all was Star Wars

Not only were they the coolest toys ever made to a six-year-old, but they had amazing movies to go with them. I could watch Han Solo blast his way out of the Death Star, and then go recreate it in my living room. More than once, my bed transformed into the Millennium Falcon in my head, desperately escaping the port of Mos Eisley before I fell asleep. 

I never got into the extended universe stuff, so I wouldn’t be very helpful in a Star Wars trivia contest, but the IP’s impact on my sense of adventure, viewpoint of cool, and crystallized version of heroism really can’t be overstated. In that sense, I’m a terrible person to give you thoughts on Star Wars. There are things I’m going to love no matter what, and others that are going to bother me. All that is certain is that objectivity won’t be a factor. 

Pro – The Good

The Rise of Skywalker is incredibly exciting. All the “extras” that make Star Wars films so beloved–space battles, lightsaber fights, force powers, and thrilling music–are stuffed into every corner of this film. It’s a visual and aural feast. The story is hodge podge, but if you squint at it, there’s enough here to work with. The characters are all back, and Poe (Oscar Issac) and Finn (John Boyega) are given more to work with as their characters are fleshed out. The interaction and tension between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) continue to be the best part of this trilogy. They are both excellent, and when they are on screen together, the film has a weight and tension that captivates. 

Con – The Bad 

This movie is really busy, and as such it often feels frantic. Many plot points are glossed over, if mentioned at all. This, of course, speaks to the biggest issue, which is the total lack of coherence between the three films. Not only does the second not build on the first, but in some cases, it rewrites it. The third, in turn, does the same to the second. What we’re left with is often a mess. Further, the untimely real-life death of Carrie Fisher who plays General (Princess Leia) Organa clearly impacts the film and what can be done. The audience is also left with a lot of questions that simply aren’t ever resolved, which makes one wonder why they were brought up in the first place.

The Rise of Skywalker is a lot of fun. It’s not a great movie, but it’s serviceable with some great scenes. Fans will find plenty to love and plenty to nitpick. Hop in your T-65 and fly down to the Fridley Palms Theatre to check it out now! 

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