Reel Reviews | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

After decades of time and a dozen movies, and a couple of animated series the epic saga comes to an end.

The First Order still holds sway.  Rumors are swirling that the Emperor still lives and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) continues to hunt the Resistance and Rey (Daisy Ridley).  Meanwhile, the Resistance is running out of resources and time.  As Kylo desperately and futilely searches for Rey, despite being linked together by the force, the Resistance continues to suffer losses.  Backed into a corner, Poe Dameron is ready to strike back at the Empire.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the ninth episode of the Star Wars saga and the eleventh movie of the franchise. Written by Academy Award-winning writer Chris Terrio (Argo), J.J. Abrams, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Connolly and directed by J.J. Abrams, Rise of Skywalker stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Billy Dee Williams, Dominic Monaghan, and Kelly Marie Tran among many others.  Being that this is the last movie in the Skywalker saga, almost every star in the universe wanted to be a part of it.

Almost 40 years ago, George Lucas caught lightning in a bottle with the release of the penultimate episode I the saga, The Empire Strikes Back.  Ever since that movie, the Star Wars franchise has struggled to produce another film that rivaled that one film.  The benchmark was set extremely high.  Does The Rise of Skywalker meet the standard?  No.  The problem is that being that since this is the last movie, there was an expectation that the movie would wrap up everything in a nice little bow so every pseudo-cliffhanger never seemed too dramatic. Despite this, Rise did provide a couple of shocks to the system in the form of an unexpected death, an expected return and the revelation of Rey’s family line.

The movie is straight nostalgia.  It brings all of the old elements together with the new.  We revisit the old Death Star.  There are lightsaber fights.  Space fighter combat scenes.  Lando Calrissian!  And in the end, a passing of the torch in more ways than one. 

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a fitting end to a saga that has been four decades in the making.  While The Last Jedi took us down an unexpected detour, Rise rights the ship and bring an expected and enjoyable end to the journey.  The twists and turns along the way make the ride enjoyable.  There won’t be too much disappointment in this film.

Grade:  B+