After much excitement and anticipation, The Rise of Skywalker has arrived in cinemas, concluding the 42 year old Skywalker Saga.
We pick up one year after the events of The Last Jedi, where the Resistance survived by the skin of their teeth. Rey has continued her Jedi training under the tutelage of Leia, while Finn, Poe and Chewbacca are working together to strengthen the Resistance. Now Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren seeks to destroy all threats to his power. All must contend with the reappearance of the infamous Emperor Palpatine. From the offset, the core three characters have outstanding chemistry and are a dream to watch. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are all very impressive, as is Adam Driver, and are really at the heart of this conclusion to the saga. It has to be said, that it concludes with great style and provides a satisfying ending to all 9 films.
There’s certainly a lot of action and a lot of plot, but that doesn’t necessarily harm the film given how much it has to wrap up. C3-PO is given a lot of play in this one, a lot more than he was in the other two sequels and we finally see Billy Dee Williams return to the role of Lando Calrissian. All the cast put in stunning performances, but Rey is perhaps the standout character. Thanks to both the journey of the character and Daisy Ridley’s performance, she has cemented her place as a truly great protagonist. The film looks incredible, although there are some scenes where they get a little carried away with the strobe lighting. There’s plenty of lightsaber and star-fighter action (and Jedi backflips), with moments that will have you jumping for joy or wiping away the tear in your eye.
What makes this film such a good conclusion is that it is clearly made with admiration and affection for not only the original Star Wars films, but also the sequels. It is still very much the story of Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo, while also respecting the legacy that George Lucas started in 1977. There is an overwhelming sense that this film was made with a great deal of love from everyone involved. It was by no means an easy job to conclude this trilogy and the saga, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi both set the bar incredibly high and there were a lot of loose ends to tie up. To say that this film lacks ambition or vision is absolute nonsense, there are risks taken here that ultimately pay off and create a very satisfying ending. The only sadness or disappointment that I felt when leaving the cinema was that this wonderful trilogy and the legendary saga has come to an end. It’s a great testament to the people involved when you leave thinking that all you want is to see more of Rey, Finn and Poe’s adventures.
Image Credit: NME