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Movie Review: 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Does Not Measure Up

by Todd A. Smith

 

(Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures)


 

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Does Not Rise to Level of Predecessors; Still Cool Though 

 

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The Resistance.


The First Order.


They’re all back for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” a cool installment to the Skywalker saga, which includes great cameos from some of the franchise’s favorites.


While “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has big shoes to fill, it comes close to measuring up to its predecessors, but does not quite reach the level of classic installments like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”


In “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” many thought Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) had fallen by the wayside, succumbing to the ingenuity of the Resistance once and for all.


Nevertheless, in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” the Palpatine returns and has created one last plan to end the Jedi resistance forever.


“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” centers on Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her shady familial background.


She is sure that she belongs to the Resistance, but she feels a strange pull taking her in another direction.


Rey even has visions of her sharing the throne with her archenemy, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”).


The young lady has unusual power, and she poses a problem for whoever her adversaries are at that current moment.


For that reason, Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) keeps Rey under her tutelage as she trains her for a bigger leadership role in the Resistance.


Knowing that Rey will eventually become a threat that the First Order cannot handle, Kylo Ren receives the assignment of killing Rey off and ending the Resistance forever.


But the emperor of the First Order does not only plan to kill off Rey, by herself.


The emperor wants to wipe the Resistance off of the map permanently and he has the means to do so.


The First Order has developed weapons of mass destruction so massive that they can destroy entire planets and galaxies at the push of a button.


The Resistance led by the usual suspects Rey, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac, “Suburbicon”) and Finn (John Boyega, “Detroit”) have to locate these weapons and destroy them before life, as they know it, ceases to exist.


Other than the fact that total annihilation might become their fate, the Resistance has some major problems in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


The First Order has hidden their weapons on a planet that is off of the map.


How can you get to a location if no one really knows where it is located?


In order to find this mysterious planet, the Resistance has to locate at least one of two way-finders to help them locate this unknown planet in order to destroy these weapons of mass destruction.


Along their journey, fans get treated to some cameo appearances by legends of “Star Wars” past like Billy Dee Williams, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.


Williams reprises his role as Lando Calrissian.


Ford returns as the iconic, Han Solo.


And obviously Hamill returns to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” as the legendary, Luke Skywalker.


Of all the cameos, however, the most endearing return has to be the late Fisher as Princess Leia via archival footage.


But while “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has all of the legendary actors, newcomers and legendary visuals, the storyline does not contain enough intrigue to capture the magic of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”


Obviously, every good action/science fiction franchise has the good versus bad narrative.


Many films have the little people versus the big people, such as the oppressed citizens versus the oppressive government regime.


But it seems filmmaker J.J. Abrams tried to stuff too much into this final chapter of the Skywalker trilogy.


Furthermore, the film drags a bit before it gets to explosive climax.


The conclusion of the film deserves acclaim.


But the meat of the film does not deserve as much acclaim, unfortunately.


For those reasons, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has to take third place in a list of movies in the Skywalker trilogy.


Nevertheless, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” still bests “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”


That installment featuring Donald Glover dropped the ball more than any of the recent installments.


Although many critics dissed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for taking too many risks, many of those same critics have dissed this installment for playing it safe.


While those critics were wrong about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” they are accurate about “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


Rating for this movie notwithstanding, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” leans more towards a good movie than the above average rating given in this movie review.


As expected, the visuals, battles and explosions are absolutely incredible.


But the plot does inspire enough.


Therefore, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” ends the new trilogy in a totally non-dramatic way.


The trilogy ends on a somber note like the Chicago Bulls second three-peat in the late 1990s.


When many teams would have floated on cloud nine after winning three straight championships, fans, players and executives knew that this would be the last dance because the band would no longer be together after that season.


Therefore, the climax for the Bulls was bittersweet.


Fans might get the same feeling from “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


But regardless of the bittersweet ending of the Bulls dynasty, they still went down in the history books as a dynastic group of championship basketball players.


The late 1990s Bulls had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, so what is not to love?


Likewise, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” still has the Resistance, the First Order and light sabers, so what is not to like?



REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Friday 20 December, 2019.
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