Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker - This Final Movie Doesn't Quite Rock
Dir: JJ Abrams
Starring Carrie Fisher Mark Hamill, Daisey Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E Grant, Ian McDiarmid, Lupita Nyong’o, Billie Lourd
So, after 42 years, here we are at the final of nine finals. And is it satisfying? Is it the Wars to end all Wars? Well…it certainly ends. And it certainly ends in an epic spectacular style on a purely visual level.
But does it provide the necessary emotional succour that millions upon millions, generation upon generation have been holding out for? JJ tries, but he stumbles more than he delivers. This is the culmination of the nine episode universe-defining Skywalker sage, although as we start post-death of Luke, Skywalkers are fairly sparse on the ground. Instead we have the ongoing battle between Ridley’s Rey and Driver’s Kilo Ren, and the – somewhat unexpected – return of McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine, something that brings a new element to the Star Wars Universe – a profound lack of jeopardy and impact. He died years ago – but he’s back. Other characters die in this episode – some new, some beloved – but then they come back. It’s almost like – why bother?
As with Abrams’ previous instalment there are many (probably too many) call-backs to the original – including a lengthy section in the middle where our heroes invade a Star Destroyer in which it’s a miracle that they don’t end up in a trash compactor, so familiar is this territory.
Of course there is plenty of good stuff to enjoy – not least the opening stab of John Williams’ theme (presumably for the final time) which blares out and makes us all children again. Ridley and Driver are on good form, and the movie knows how to move along at a fair old clip.
But there is simply too much plot. Everyone has to go somewhere to find something – all the time. And then there are all those loose ends to tie up – from a previous eight movies, none less than from Rian Johnson’s Last Effort.
It’s a tough job to wrap up perhaps the most beloved story that cinema has ever told, and whilst Episode IX has its moments, it overall can’t help but disappoint. Cue the crying of middle-aged men all over the world!
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