Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

“A shallow, best-hits compilation of Star Wars”

Image Credit: IMDB / JJ Abrams

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the cinematic equivalent of wearing a cool hat to work one day but nobody likes it so the next day you have to come in sans-hat and pretend like it never happened.

As a disclaimer, I really liked the cool hat (and I also really like the guy who made the hat) so I’m annoyed that it’s been ignored.

I didn’t like this film but let’s try to start off with some positive stuff. Firstly, the performances are really good, all the actors are obviously talented, and they do their absolute best to try and make the film and the (not so good) script work.

Another thing I liked was that we get to see the whole team working together, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac all have really believable, genuine chemistry together and its actually fun to see them going on an adventure as a trio for the first time. Special mention to Adam Driver for being an amazing actor as usual.

The film also has some entertaining set-pieces and action sequences, nothing too edge-of-your-seat but they’re fun and exciting if you just want to watch some cool stuff happen. It’s also shot really well, as always there’s a varied, bright colour palette and many different locations that all have a distinct feel and style, I didn’t spot any trademark Abrams lens-flares either, which is always a welcome surprise.

So, if you want a fun, fast-paced film with a lot of lightsaber duels, space battles and bright colours, then this is the film for you.

Great, now all those people have left I can talk about the bad stuff.

I’ll try to be brief here because I could genuinely write a dissertation length think-piece about this film (and I still might). First, an obvious complaint that I saw coming but still stung, if you liked The Last Jedi, and you thought it had a lot of interesting, fresh (for Star Wars) ideas in it that you’d like to see continued, you are not going to like this film.

Honestly, say what you want about the new sequel trilogy, I too find it pretty weird that one company owns nearly every piece of pop culture property now, and I too am also consistently annoyed when movies come out that appear made by a boardroom, this film definitely being one.

This is a non-spoiler review, but it’s worth pointing out that the plot of this film is half walking back on stuff introduced in the previous film; half trying to fit in 2 films worth of JJ Abrams Star Wars into around 2 hours.

Like I said in my list of positives, this is a film that has a lot of fun action sequences and some good jokes, but if you’re looking for some of the interesting character choices made in The Last Jedi, or really any significant character arcs, you won’t find them here.

Good character development and good pacing are swept aside in favour of a rushed video-game plot that desperately wants to wrap things up as soon as possible, and with as much forced fan service as they can cram in.

As a result, the film feels like a shallow best-hits compilation of Star Wars, as if the script was created on-the-fly by looking at tweets by people who didn’t like The Last Jedi.

It doesn’t feel like a fitting end to the Skywalker saga, it feels like a regrettable midnight junk food binge, it’s thoughtless, unsatisfying, and leaves an awful taste in the mouth.

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