Everyone has their own Star Wars story. I saw the first movie in the theater in 1977 and it was an event. It was an event because my family really only went to the movies once a year and this was it. But it was also an event for all the reasons you already know. All the reasons that this series has lasted for over 40 years.
That’s an important point because many people, like me, have grown up with Star Wars. It shaped our childhood and now that story of our childhood is coming to an end. We want an ending that makes sense. We deserve an ending that satisfies us.
And that’s just some of the baggage I carried in with me when I sat for a press screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
What I Knew Before The Rise of Skywalker
Even though I spend my days online and work in the field of entertainment, I do a pretty good job of staying in the dark when I want to. My only knowledge of The Rise of Skywalker was what I saw in the trailer, just like everyone else. And I didn’t even watch them the day they came out.
I read a few articles online just so I could understand how the change in directing and writing altered the course of this film.
For the record, The Force Awakens was co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams. The Last Jedi was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who was also scheduled to write Episode IX. Eventually, Colin Trevorrow was hired to direct and co-write the script with Derek Connolly. And then things went south.
J.J. Abrams stepped back in a revised the script along with Chris Terrio and directed the film. And for that, I’d like to say, thank God.
I’m sure there are a lot of politics that go on behind the scenes but ultimately, we, the moviegoer, ended up with one hell of a movie experience.
What to Expect in The Rise of Skywalker
The story takes place about a year after the end of The Last Jedi and there are some strings to clean up. The first thirty minutes felt a bit choppy as we’re bombarded with everything we need to know to set the stage for the rest of the movie.
And we also see a lot of the scenes with Princess Leia (yes, I know she’s a general but she’ll always be a princess to me). With the decision to weave unused footage from earlier movies into the story and dialogue, her scenes felt a little awkward and forced. But sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got.
Once you make it through the setup, strap in and hold on. It’s a slightly bumpy ride.
The gang is all back together and the camaraderie of Poe, Finn, Rey, and Chewie feels very akin to Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewie. It’s intentional and we appreciate it. And the cast has great chemistry as they unite together against the dark side.
If you’re a nostalgic fool like I am, you’ll see a lot of nods to the original. I won’t recount them here because that’s part of the joy of the movie but you’ll be smiling throughout.
Now, let’s talk about who dies…
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m not going there. I feel very strongly about NO SPOILERS. But I understand that some people are a bit nervous about the emotional toll the movie might take. It is the final installment of what is being termed “The Skywalker Saga.”
All I can tell you is that every character’s story has an end, in some way, shape, or form. And they all feel like the right end at the right time. I definitely cried in the movie. A LOT. But a lot of those tears were because my heart was full.
The Good and Bad of The Rise of Skywalker
Let’s talk about the bad before we get to anything else. And let’s start by saying “bad” is a subjective term. There was nothing in this movie that I disliked. NOTHING. That says a lot for me. But there are a few storylines that move so fast, you might be saying, “wait, what’s happening?”
Even if you’re a little confused, just roll with it. And then go see it again. I’m sure you’ll discover more and love more each time you see it.
Now, let’s focus on everything that made this movie so good.
It was riveting for the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat, hands covering my mouth for a good portion of the film. I was invested in the characters and the story and therefore the entire movie. I was moved by it – I literally laughed and cried. In fact, the emotional pacing was so well done that every reaction was genuine and I never felt emotionally manipulated.
We met several new characters including Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell), Jannah (Naomi Ackie), and an adorable little droid named D-O. And here, I’m saying adorable like I mean it. Not like how I felt about those damn Porgs.
Also, if you loved the original Star Wars series, you’ll find a lot to delight you in this film, including Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. This is a modern movie that understands its roots lie with the generation that grew up with this movie.
I am so thrilled at the conclusion of the saga. I felt like this story was served up on a silver platter and we finished a delicious meal without a single crumb left. Now go whet your appetite and enjoy this movie that I give a wholehearted 10 out of 10.
Video Review for The Rise of Skywalker
I had so much more to say that I couldn’t easily put into words here. So I put it into words on video! Check out my thoughts BEFORE I went to the movie and my thoughts just after. And here why I think Rey is the heroine we’ve been looking for.