REVIEW: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" Is Worth Your Time & Money
By Chris "Boogie" Brown
(AllHipHop Reviews) I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker and thought it was both an entertaining entry in the franchise and a worthy ending to the saga. This movie really acts and feels like the direct sequel to "The Force Awakens". While it may not be a popular choice to hardcore fans of "The Last Jedi", JJ Abrams definitely made it a point to "course correct" some of the unpopular aspects of Rian Johnson's movie. I was fine with this decision as I've always desired the trilogy finale to fall more in line with the feel/vibe of Episode VII. With that said, whether you enjoyed "TLJ" and some of the chances it took may or may not affect your feelings towards this particular film.
While it's not a perfect film, for me, the good far outweighed the bad here. The film serves its purpose as a fun action-adventure that features all of our Heroes of the Resistance teamed together in this conclusion of the Trilogy. Together, they continue the fight against The First Order and spend much of the time planet-hopping, exploring locations (some familiar), and tracking down pertinent items/objects that tie into the wider narrative of the story. As a team, some characters have less to do than others in the film, but they all have great chemistry with one another in this group dynamic - Specifically the pairing of Finn and Poe.
The movie also does a good job of introducing a few new characters while also honoring the characters we loved from the original series. C-3PO, in particular, has a wonderful arc here and although he doesn't have the most screen time, it was truly awesome seeing Billy Dee Williams back in his iconic role of Lando Calrissian. I also thought JJ Abrams did a good job utilizing the footage of Carrie Fisher as Princess Lea in the movie. Although you can tell that certain scenes were written around her "TFA" footage, I still thought her inclusion in the film was fitting for what she has meant to the franchise overall. In terms of the film's antagonist here, this is probably my favorite performance by Adam Driver as Kylo Ren out of the three films in the trilogy thus far - he nailed it.
Lastly, I thought this was visually one of the most impressive Star Wars films in terms of cinematography, use of color, VFX and action choreography. There are some really great action scenes here that include fantastic spacecraft battles, chase scenes, expanded use of "The Force", and awesome lightsaber duels between Kylo and Rey placed in amazing settings.
In terms of criticism, the movie felt a bit convoluted at times, almost as if Abrams was trying to squeeze two movies into one. As you watch, you definitely get the feeling that Episode IX was supposed to play out a different way prior to "TLJ". I believe this caused JJ to meticulously work around certain concepts/ideas from "TLJ" while still attempting to present a fresh, cohesive & fulfilling completion for the character's story arcs. With so much ground to cover, I think some plot points felt rushed and not explained as well as they could have been. The movie feels like it would have greatly benefited from an additional 30 minutes in order to let certain story beats and scenes breathe a little more. Because we don't have that extra time to get deeper clarity on certain character origins and motivations, some of the payoffs the movie delivers don't always feel "earned".
All that being said, the movie still kept me invested throughout its runtime and I definitely left the theatre feeling entertained. Rise of Skywalker was an overall fun ride that largely plays it safe, featured great energy, laughs, surprises, and fantastic action throughout. The movie also featured an extra helping of Star Wars fan service & nostalgia that I thoroughly enjoyed and had fun with. The reviews seem to be all over the place for this one, but if you are a fan of "The Force Awakens" or a Star Wars fan in general, I definitely recommend checking out this latest entry in the Franchise. In terms of ranking the new trilogy, I would say: The Force Awakens > Rise of Skywalker > The Last Jedi
Now go see the movie and decide for yourself...And May The Force Be With You! 🙂