Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker screen grab CR: Lucasfilm

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – movie review

The offspring of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) trying to resolve deep-seated familial issues is front and centre in this official close of the Skywalker odyssey.

A largely masked Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is given the opportunity to be the unchallenged galaxy leader, with power and control over everyone and everything. That would mean destroying Rey (Daisy Ridley). But rather than doing so off the bat, you can’t blame a bloke for trying to win her over to the dark side first, can you? It is inevitable that the pair will clash lightsabers as they try to sort out their issues. Both are having a really hard time of it.

All this is set up by the malevolent force that is Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

Before this is over, fan favourites Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) have their challenges too. The niggle between Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) remains, as Poe’s reprobate past threatens to sink him.

The Rise of Skywalker is chock full of spectacular effects, fighting and fury. It looks lavish and has a big sound to match. Director and co-writer with Chris Terrio, JJ Abrams does that well. Hand-to-hand and aerial combat rule the day. There is one spectacular scene on the high waters that did it for me.

The key players from back in the day are all present to take a bow to good times past. So, too, all the droids, with a new mechanical character added for good measure.

I enjoyed the spectacle, although – after a strong set up – I did feel the story arc felt drawn out and the ending was too safe and convenient. That will undoubtedly divide audiences. I kept looking for one final twist … but unfortunately it never came.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is really another chance to showcase the not inconsiderable talents of Daisy Ridley and again she handles herself well. Others are left to hang off her coattails and Driver presents as a tortured soul most effectively.

There is much to like about Episode 9, even if it isn’t the best Star Wars in the franchise.  Rated M.

Alex First

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