Sunday, December 22, 2019

Stubs - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams Directed by J.J. Abrams Screenplay by J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio Based on Characters by George Lucas. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J. J. Abrams, Michelle Rejwan Run Time: 142 minutes, U.S. Science Fiction, Fantasy

The Star Wars triple trilogy which began with Star Wars (1977) finally wraps up the "Skywalker Saga" and the "Sequel Trilogy" with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Nine films over 42 years, with a couple of stand-alones thrown in along the way, not to mention cartoons, TV Series, video games, books, some no longer considered "canon", and merchandise. So while there haven't been all that many movies, Star Wars has never been out of the public view.

The Rise of Skywalker feels like the end of an era, as many of the characters we have come to love and to hate make a final encore appearance as the franchise comes to an end. Whether Disney will walk away from Star Wars is doubtful but just like Avengers: Endgame felt like an ending for the Marvel franchise, this film feels like an ending as well. If you're like me, having been there from the beginning, this is what we were promised all those years ago. Will I want to come back for another trilogy? Will I live long enough to see it finished?

Rise is the final film for Carrie Fisher and her character General Princess Leia Organa gets a respectful send-off here, though she is a somewhat minor character this time out. The film really belongs to Adam Driver and to Daisy Ridley in particular. I've always felt that she was a great choice as an actor to hang this storyline on. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac make good as her accomplices but the show really belongs to her. What, if any, involvement she'll have in the next film, and it's coming, you know it is, may be the deciding factor if I keep watching.

John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are good but the film belongs to Daisy Ridley.

This film is a definite improvement over its predecessor, The Last Jedi (2017), but it too has moments where the story drags. There are the usual special effects, all of which are well done and the dialogue still retains its sense of humor from The Force Awakens (2015). Like all the films, this is the battle of good and evil with some twists along the way. Relationships that you thought you knew are not always what you think they are and characters are subject to change. Does it all make sense even if you've seen the other films? No, but I'm not sure if they worry about things like that with Star Wars.

Like all the Star Wars films, The Rise of Skywalker is the battle between good and evil.

Rise of Skywalker, as far as favorites for me, is frankly somewhere in the middle of the Star Wars pack. The Force Awakens, even with all of its callbacks to the original trilogy, is the better of the two films J.J. Abrams directed in this trilogy. And I would definitely put the first two films, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and the standalone Rogue One ahead of this one. But like Return of the Jedi ended the original trilogy with a subpar outing, Rise of Skywalker could be better.

However, is it worth seeing? Yes, and no. This is not a film for someone new to Star Wars to see. You need to have seen at least the other two films in this final trilogy for this to make sense and even then, you really need to have seen the original trilogy to fully understand everything that is going on. One thing for certain is that the prequel trilogy, all that about Darth Vader's development, is really unnecessary. Oh, Darth Vader comes up in this one but only in passing. No one needs to know about his childhood or pod racing to watch this film.

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