‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Is Underwhelming and Too Busy

Photo by Lucasfilm/Lucasfilm Ltd. - © 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Lucasfilm/Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

After more than four decades, the end of the Skywalker saga is now upon us. Before seeing it, all I can say is manage your expectations and don’t expect the greatest Star Wars film ever. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the third and final installment of the third trilogy packs a lot of action and storyline in a relatively short amount of time. In the end, it just doesn’t deliver.

After viewing a broadcast from the late Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) obtains a Sith Wayfinder device on the planet Mustafar, which leads him to the uncharted planet Exegol. There, he finds Palpatine, who subsequently reveals he created Snoke to control the First Order and bring Kylo to the dark side; he tells Kylo to locate and kill Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, in unreleased footage from The Force Awakens).

Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) deliver information from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol. Rey gleaned from Luke Skywalker’s notes that a Sith Wayfinder can help get them there. Leia then pipes in that an ally on Pasaana may be able to assist as well. With that, Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8 (Dave Chapman and Brian Herring), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) get in the Millennium Falcon and set off on their next mission.

I went into this movie with the highest of hopes. There are a handful of satisfying moments, like when we see Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and other beloved characters again. The scenes involving Rey and Kylo Ren were also quite stirring and well-done. And, of course, John Williams’ score always gets me going. For the most part, though, The Rise of Skywalker was a supreme disappointment. Bringing Emperor Palpatine back, seriously? There is so much being thrown at you throughout the movie that it’s exhausting to keep up with it all. This really should have been a two-part finale, that would have allowed for better pacing.

Clocking in at two hours and twenty-two minutes, The Rise of Skywalker is ten minutes shorter than The Last Jedi but packs so much more into it, and it feels faster. Usually, I would say this is a good thing but we’re talking Star Wars here. An iconic program such as this should have been handled with more care. Think of The Rise of Skywalker as the series’ funeral; filmmakers effectively scheduled everyone and his Wookiee to speak, then cut them all down to two minutes each. It’s a laudable effort to include everyone, but in the end you feel cheated. I wanted more and in a reasonably coherent manner.

Outrageously underwhelming, I give Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker two out of five stars.

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