Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

In a movie theater, long, long ago, we were introduced to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. Plus a gang of more-than-bonus characters like Yoda, Chewie, R2-D2, and C3PO. Their stories rose and fell like waves and we flew right alongside them throughout the 70s and 80s because they were SO FUN to watch. The idea of different worlds replete with snarky androids, inhuman bounty hunters, and aliens cheating at chess was fascinating. Not to mention the emotional saga between our aforementioned heroes and villains, rebel forces, plus The Dark Side. Oh yeah, and The Force.

John Boyega, Chewbacca, Daisy Ridley, C3PO, and Oscar Isaac return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

After so much drama in the ga-lux-ee, this particular Star Wars story has come to a finale. Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be, and we expect the story-that-never-ends to offer what it always has: fun, drama, will-they-or-wont-they-romance, excitement, and interest. Except Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t do that. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return as our two brash but sometimes bumbling pilots and senior members of the fun bunch but as it turns out, they aren’t really that fun. J.J. Abrams’ final installment of Star Wars very much wants to be fun, whisking us from chase scene to sky battle scene to Troubled Planet #351 before we can understand what the hell is going on. Episodes 4, 5, and 6 (“the originals”) kept us guessing answers to questions like, “Who is Luke’s father?” and, “Hold up, Luke and Leia were brother and sister this whole time??” but episode 9 just gives it up these foundational answers on the first date and quite literally ghosts you later. Then, so many events in this film require further explanation but you’ll never get them. Doomed characters are inexplicably saved, our favorite old characters show up out of nowhere, while dead characters return like they never left. We’re all just supposed to go with the flow. 

The late Carrie Fisher returns as Princess Leia.

By the way, can we talk about The Force? There seem to be no limits to what one can do with It these days, which was probably one of the most incredible things to watch in Episode 9. Too bad no one seems to want to really get into It before we’re off on yet another mission to another planet. And I’m not spoiling anything here: The jumpoff to Episode 9 is to travel from one planet to another planet to find a clue to find something else to find something else. A clue. I’m not kidding. The Rise of Skywalker is almost a galactic episode of Scooby Doo. But with light sabers. 

Kylo Ren and Rey, battling for some reason.

Listen, if you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise, nothing is gonna keep you away from seeing The Rise of Skywalker. You’ve got to get your questions answered, after all. You’ve got a find out who Rey really is and where she comes from. What is her destiny? And how is The Force so strong with her? 

See Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker if you loved the original trilogy and were able to stomach the prequel trilogy. Otherwise, wait for it on Disney+.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 2 of 4 stars.