It all started with George Lucas, who created a world in a galaxy far, far away that would change the real world forever. Then is began with George Lucas again, creating a prequel trilogy that would change everything, again, some would argue for the worse. After that look into the past which we were all pining for, we were finally given a look at the future of Star Wars, something else we were clamoring for, this time minus its creator, some would argue this has also been for the worse. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the final look at the family line of the titles name, and the ninth film that began as one of cinemas greatest achievements.
Former scavenger turned Jedi-in-training Rey (Daisy Ridley) is now learning the ways of the Force from Leia (Carrie Fisher) to prepare her for her next inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is now the Supreme Leader. As Ren is looking into the mystery of a familiar character’s return, Rey, Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Issac) are searching for the same thing, but where Kylo plans to join forces with it, the Resistance is looking to stop it. As old friends are re-discovered, and new friends are introduced, the final battle between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force comes to an epic conclusion.
I may still need some distance from this new trilogy before I make a permanent assessment of where it stands among the rest of the Star Wars saga. I recall being a avid supporter of the prequels when in reality I was trying desperately to convince myself they were on par with the original trilogy. What I am certain of is that these three films mostly spearheaded by first and latest director J.J. Abrams is that I enjoy them more than the last time George Lucas took a crack at it. What this series does not have unfortunately, is a singular vision. This was made completely evident in the middle film The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson. Most of the doors he opened were closed by Abrams in this last installment. And to take a page from the O.G. trilogy, “There isn’t enough ‘logic’ in this film to fill a space cruiser”. The elements are clunky, the multiple Macguffins are unnecessary, most of the film is a big long action scene, and the familiar climax teeters on the lame side.
What still feels solid is the performances by the lead cast. Again much like the prequels, they have very little to work with as it appears most of the answers to questions raised about them will be fleshed out in books, comics, or on Disney+. That is what is keeping it from the greatness of the SW of the 70’s and 80’s, yeah Lucas was so unhappy with his work then, that he made Special Editions for all of them. But there can be no denying the lasting impression they made on cinema, so much so that these new films do their best to call back to them, but they already killed too much of it to make a difference by the end. I am relieved that this storyline is over, even though the best in my opinion of this revival was Rouge One it’s clear that they need to move on. Hopefully the next time we see lightsabers, blasters and scoundrels it will be in a galaxy much further away.