Saturday afternoon my family went to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. All opinions are ours. The review is split into a spoiler free section that includes the Parental Guidance, and then a more in-depth thoughts section which includes spoilers. Note: I do include spoilers for past Star Wars films.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Spoiler Free Review
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had a monumental task. It needed to be an awesome movie, conclude the current trilogy, and wrap up the trilogy of trilogies. It’s task was more complicated with the passing of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and the overall negative reaction to The Last Jedi among many fans.
The New Trilogy Characters
Rise of Skywalker is the first film in this trilogy that really unites it’s trio of heroes – Rey, Finn, and Poe. They actually have extensive screen time as a group of 3 and with Chewie, C3-PO, and BB-8.
Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who was introduced in The Last Jedi, barely has a role in the film. After building a strong bond with Finn in The Last Jedi, she barely appears.
Kylo Ren also returns for the film. He still has a strong link to Rey which seems to have grown through each films.
A couple of new characters were also introduced in The Rise of Skywalker. Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) is a longtime friend of Poe’s. Jannah (Naomi Ackie) shares a common past with Finn.
The Original Trilogy Characters
Each of the films in this new trilogy was meant to feature a story arc for one of the original trio of heroes. The Force Awakens is Han Solo’s story and death, The Last Jedi is Luke Skywalker’s story and death. The Rise of Skywalker was meant to be Princess Leia’s story (and possible death).
Fortunately they had enough unused footage with Carrie Fisher from previous films (particularly Force Awakens) to give Princess Leia a small story role in The Rise of Skywalker. It may not have been everything it would have been, but for me it was better than having the character die off screen between the two movies.
Of course Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C3-PO make their return. Chewie and C3-PO go on the main journey with Rey, Poe, and Finn. R2-D2 is relegated to a very small role in Rise of Skywalker.
Billy Dee Williams also brings back Lando Calrissian in a small role.
Ever since the first trailer was released with Emperor Palpatine’s laugh at the end, his reappearance has been a point of discussion. I do wish they gave a bit more of an explanation of how he escaped the Death Star
Of course the Millennium Falcon itself is a significant location – including the chess board. After we sat at the chess board in the Rise of Resistance queue at Disney World last month, I was excited to see it in another movie.
There are callbacks to the original trilogy locations… Death Star Ruins, the Endor system including its forrest moon, and Tattoine.
They have brought a conclusion to the debate about “the forrest moon of Endor”. For years it was assumed by many (me included) that the moon was named Endor. While others contended that the forrest moon orbited Endor. In The Rise of Skywalker, they refer to the Endor system implying Endor is not just the moon.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker My Spoiler Free Thoughts
Overall I enjoyed the movie and thought it did a fairly good job wrapping up the trilogy and the entire series especially given the constraints they were working with.
I loved that the central trilogy of heroes had a chance to be a unit. In the
I think this last trilogy would have benefitted from a more consistent storytelling and character development. With JJ Abrams directing the first and third movies and Rian Johnson directing the middle installment, there were too many disconnects. They would have benefited from a strong creative influence carrying plot points through the trilogy.
The Last Jedi dropped and changed story lines from The Force Awakens. Similarly, The Rise of Skywalker drops some story lines from The Last Jedi and returns to some of the arcs from The Force Awakens. With a single
The ending did not completely satisfy me either. Looking back Return of the Jedi has a “happy ending” with the Empire defeated by the Rebel Alliance. But, in The Force Awakens we learn it wasn’t that simple and the empire was succeeded by the First Order. Without a flash forward at the end, it’s hard to believe in the “happy ending”.
While I felt it could have been better, I do recommend seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It is the conclusion of 42 years of a Pop Culture juggernaut. Overall I would give rate it 7/10.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer
Before going to the movie, check out the trailer below:
About Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
From the Press Release provided by Walt Disney Studios:
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in U.S. theaters on December 20.
The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. Callum Greene, Tommy Gormley and Jason McGatlin serve as executive producers. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was written by J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio and opens in U.S. theaters on December 20.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Parental Guide
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a PG-13 rating. The rating is earned by violence and dark themes. I would say it is roughly equivalent to the other films in this trilogy.
Yes, main character(s) die – as has happened in most movies in the series. Empire Strikes Back has the least significant deaths, but still brings the turmoil with Han left frozen in carbonite and Luke’s hand cut off.
- New Hope – Obi Wan Kenobi,
- Empire Strikes Back – No significant deaths
- Return of the Jedi – Yoda, Bobba Fett, Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine
- The Phantom Menace – Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Maul
- Attack of the Clones – Shmi Skywalker, Jango Fett
- Revenge of the Sith – Padme Amidala, Mace Windu, younglings
- The Force Awakens – Han Solo
- The Last Jedi – Luke Skywalker
If your child has seen The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they should be fine to see The Rise of Skywalker. I am glad that they did not follow the path of the prequels which released two PG rated movies followed by the darker Revenge of the Sith which was rated PG-13. The new trilogy is all PG-13