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Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Second-time helmer J.J. Abrams has always been less about exciting new things and more about delivering faithful homages. In this respect, he’s brought the latest series to a conclusion that feverishly tries to stack up one surprise after another ...

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At long last, we are at Episode 9 of the STAR WARS saga, which is (rather unhelpfully) entitled THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Yes, this could have been the title of Episode 3, or Episode 1, or just about any episode, really. Nevertheless, number nine wraps up the storyline for our latest trio, Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron, as well as our next generation quasi bad guy, Kylo Ren.

Of course, what this recent trilogy of movies has been leading up to is the big reveal of which family tree Rey (Daisy Ridley) has fallen from. We won’t spoil anything here, but Rey’s lineage only serves to reinforce the main STAR WARS theme of “destiny” and characters who either lean in to their family’s legacy or push back against it. And while we discover more of Rey’s backstory, we’re also jumping from one planet to another, searching after a major MacGuffin-y device that will lead our Resistance heroes to the secret location where the so-called Last Order is about to embark on a planet killing spree.

In these past few movies, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren has been a shining example of how that threadbare theme of familial honor or rebellion can work. Driver’s embodiment of inner turmoil, patricidal urges and conflicted longings has made Kylo Ren one of the franchises’ most interesting characters. The impressive physicality that both Driver and Ridley have brought to the series remains a highlight in THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, as well as its saving grace.

Despite fine acting from everyone involved, this one is sorely missing the imaginative touches that certified cinematic auteur Rian Johnson brought to the previous installment. With THE LAST JEDI, Johnson proved that the STAR WARS universe was still capable of delivering surprises and bringing the viewer visually stunning set pieces, the likes of which have never been seen before -- which is precisely what made the brand so exciting in the first place.

Second-time helmer J.J. Abrams has always been less about exciting new things and more about delivering faithful homages. In this respect, he’s brought the latest series to a conclusion that feverishly tries to stack up one surprise after another yet never rises much above uninspired fan service. Whereas Johnson was eager to visit places we haven’t been to before, Abrams seems intent on revisiting any moments from the original trilogy that he may not of touched upon in THE FORCE AWAKENS. This time around, however, Abrams doesn’t have original series writer Lawrence Kasdan to make the banter and exposition pop in witty and unexpected ways. Instead he’s partnered with Chris Terrio, who has JUSTICE LEAGUE and BATMAN V SUPERMAN to his credits. We’ll let that speak for itself.

Oddly enough, it’s hard not to feel like Abrams purposely set out to make this trilogy’s version of RETURN OF THE JEDI. So your appreciation for that movie may be an indicator of how you feel about THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Like Episode 5, this one does feature some entertaining moments and a few emotional peaks, and while it may not be the best possible send off for the characters we’ve come to admire, it might be satisfying enough.

Sean Erickson

Credits

Original title: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
USA 2019, 155 min
Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure
Director: J.J. Abrams
Author: J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
DOP: Dan Mindel
Montage: Maryann Brandon
Music: John Williams
Distributor: Walt Disney Company
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Matt Smith, Mark Hamill
FSK: 12
Release: 18.12.2019

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Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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