Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Film Review
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay by), J.J. Abrams (screenplay by)
Stars: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid
On the list of requirements set out for this review, there was a time embargo of 8:01 AM (note: not 8:00 or 8:02) along with a request not to spoil the film by giving away any of the surprises. For the nerds amongst you, the inclusion of a certain Scottish actor on the cast list above might give you a clue, but suffice to say an old enemy rears his head to give our cast of heroes someone to battle against! By the end of the film, you will know the answer to questions such as Rey’s full name (sadly not Lana Del) and whether she will finally get it on with Kylo Ren. We’ve had two films of them pouting at each other, so what do you expect?
In the first part of the film, Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and assorted hangers-on set out in search of an object that will help them find a mythical homeworld. The second part of the film is assorted battles and a heck of a lot of lightsabering! As it is mainly Rey and Kylo Ren fighting, it does little more than double as heavy petting for these two star-crossed lovers!
Our team of heroes have forged a deep bond of friendship over the past two films. We know this as they hug almost every time they meet. Even when they just change between scenes they pat each other on shoulders or touch for no obvious reason. Maybe it wouldn’t seem as strange if we saw them do something other than battle evil together. We could do with a film where they go on a weekend break together, or possibly explore their hobbies. Maybe Finn could join a choir or Rey could write bad poetry. The only hobby we’re sure Rey has is levitating stones using only her brain, which is a neat trick but must get boring after the first few turns. As it is, we only see them fight assorted ne’er-do-wells, which is clearly a good way to bond.
It is also the film where we say goodbye to Carrie Fisher who died before this production started filming. For whatever reason, they had enough archive footage of her as Leia Organa to give her a small but adequate part in this film. There’s a degree of exposition used to fill in the gaps in her story, but it’s handled relatively well.
The most surprising thing about this film is that the plot is entirely new! I was expecting it to rework ‘the Return of the Jedi’ much as ‘A Force Awakens’ reworked the original Star Wars, but the writers earned their fee for once. For older members of the audience, the main point of interest will be the work of the art department, with the assorted creatures, ships and worlds they explore, and this does not disappoint. We even get a brief trip back to Skellig Michael to help the Irish tourist board! There are occasional lulls in the storyline, but it is generally high octane and keeps the audience entertained throughout. For a way to sign off this trilogy of trilogies, it’s considerably better than I was expecting and will no doubt keep the fans happy.