Rise Of Skywalker Is The Perfect End To Star Wars For Fans
When I was eight years old my dad took me to the cinema to see a film he was sure I’d love – Star Wars: A New Hope.
My dad wasn’t wrong, and over the last 22 years Star Wars has been something that’s permeated almost every aspect of my life.
Honestly, I can say that one trip to the cinema changed my life and set me on the path to becoming a film journalist.
So I’m delighted to say that I loved The Rise of Skywalker, but also kind of distraught about it at the same time.
What do I mean by that? Well Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might just be as close to a perfect a finale to the Skywalker saga as possible, but as a movie? I feel incredibly conflicted about it.
On the one hand I feel the pull to the light, my love of this franchise. And it’s impossible to argue this didn’t deliver for me as a fan of Star Wars.
It’s silly to think a film about space wizards, fighting with laser swords could reduce me to tears with such alarming frequency, but Rise of Skywalker left me a dehydrated mess of a man.
Most of the emotional beats come from the relationship between Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who has cemented himself as The Sagas’ most complex villain, and Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Their dynamic in The Last Jedi was easily one of the film’s stronger elements, so it’s nice to see that develop as the pair continue to be the best of frenemies.
It would be criminal, of course, to not mention John William’s score, which perfectly elevates the emotion in every scene.
Rise didn’t just pluck at the heart strings either, as the action (or at least the lightsaber duels) were perfectly choreographed, combining the bombast of the prequels with the restraint of the original trilogy.
One aspect where the film didn’t show such restraint was with its fan service, which was about as subtle as I imagine Jabba the Hutt’s farts were pleasant.
Seriously, if you like Star Wars then there’s A LOT of Star Wars in this film, which I loved… as a fan of the series. But as a film fan it has serious problems.
And this is where things get complicated, because I love Star Wars and I wanted to love this film, but as a movie fan I’ve got to say it had some serious flaws.
The structure and pacing of the film are wildly off, leading to the first act, and parts of the second, feeling disjointed from the rest of the film.
Not only that, but the film seems to shy away from some of The Last Jedi’s bolder choices, leading to a sequel that somehow feels less risky and exciting than its predecessor.
Honestly, the pacing and story issues made me feel like I was watching the prequel films, and not in a good way.
The space battles, most notably the opening scene, are so frantic and breakneck that I struggled to see what was happening. While characters were introduced just to deliver huge swathes of expeditionary dialogue and then disappear into the ether.
Other more central characters are also sidelined, leading to the question of why introduce new characters when you could have just used the old ones?
I’m also devastated to say that the choice to bring back Carrie Fisher as Leia didn’t work for me.
The use of archive footage robbed her performance of Carrie’s signature warmth so, despite the best efforts of Daisy Ridley, the whole thing just felt awkward and cold.
Ultimately, The Rise of Skywalker will deliver for most Star Wars fans, and I know the eight-year-old boy who first went to a galaxy far, far away, 22 years ago would have loved it. It’s just a shame the 30–year-old man can’t.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas from December 19 in the UK, December 20 in the US.
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