As I sit here typing this review, one major question keeps coming to my mind: is The Rise of Skywalker any good? The ninth installment in the Star Wars saga has a lot of pressure riding on it. It promised us it would wrap up the Skywalker story in style, but how can it possibly satisfy all facets of the fandom? As a fan, I think it gives us a conclusion we can all live with. Is it perfect? Definitely not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.
While I will attempt to keep important spoilers at bay, I cannot guarantee my discussion throughout won’t spoil it for you. Bookmark this page and come back if you don’t want to be spoiled. I have spoken.
Yes, The Rise of Skywalker is Good
From the moment the opening crawl disappears, we are literally whisked away into the world of Star Wars that doesn’t stop until the credits roll. In previous episodes, there always seems to be at least ten to fifteen minutes of buildup before we launch into the story. Not so with The Rise of Skywalker. Everyone, including director JJ Abrams, seems to be in a hurry to get this story told. I love a good action sequence, and this movie was full of them.
Between the battles, there was maybe five to ten minutes of dialogue before we jumped in another ship and took off again. My friend Patty has a great post about when you can get up to pee during the movie, but there aren’t many opportunities so make sure you prepare your bladder to sit tight lest you miss anything important!
So what’s good about The Rise of Skywalker besides the action? I appreciated the visuals and art direction as well as some of the character arcs (notice I didn’t say all of the character arcs…we’ll get to that in a minute). JJ Abrams has an eye for rich cinematography, and the colors he pulled from both sets and costuming made The Rise of Skywalker a visual treat.
No, The Rise of Skywalker is Not Perfect
As a fan, it can be difficult to point out flaws in things you really love. Book, television, movies, art…we all want everything we love to be good all the time. However, I would be remiss in my duties as a reviewer to gloss over some of the film’s issues that really nagged me.
My kids go with us to just about every movie we see. Star Wars has become something we all bond over together. I was a bit disappointed at some of the extraneous language in this movie. Star Wars is usually something I don’t have to censor for them. The violence is minimal (not typically graphic), there is no nudity/suggestive scenes, and there is almost zero language. However, The Rise of Skywalker has more instances of adult language that I remember previous films having. My girls are also old enough now to start noticing that kind of thing, so awareness is something I’ll have to consider when screening future movies for them.
Characters with Storyline Issues
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo had such a deeply difficult character arc, I was only somewhat satisfied with its conclusion. I am hopeful we will see him again in another iteration of Star Wars, whether that be on Disney+ or some other medium. I felt like the writing for his character’s end could have been a little more fleshed out. Again, time is everything, and there wasn’t nearly enough of it in this movie. It could have been two movies. Seriously.
Another issue I had was with the females in the movie. Rey, another character who needed more time for her story, Leia, and Rose Tico’s stories (or lack thereof) were kind of a let down. I wasn’t really surprised by the reveal of Rey’s history, but it felt a like a lot of build up for an ending that was just ok. I don’t fault JJ for what he had to do with Leia’s story, but it, too, didn’t give me complete satisfaction in her send off (RIP Carrie, our Princess/General forever).
Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico could have been so much more than what she was in The Rise of Skywalker. I am sad that the backlash from The Last Jedi seems to have affected the use of her character. Again, she’s someone I would love to see more of in a show on Disney+. Basically, I’m not ready to give up a lot of these Star Wars character just yet.
The Rise of Skywalker is the Ultimate Fan Service
While not a perfect film, the issues I had with characters, adult language, and small moments don’t outweigh the enjoyment of the movie. I love the sense of nostalgia I get from Poe and Finn and their zingy one-liners.
It reminds me of the camaraderie of Han and Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story as well as The Empire Strikes Back. Seeing a sky full of Star Destroyers facing the Resistance ships, lead by Lando Calrissian in the Millennium Falcon, is the ultimate fan service moment that you can help but smile about.
Finally, should you see it or Redbox it? This one you need to see in the theaters. It’s worth a full price ticket. I’m always an advocate for matinee/super saver pricing, but don’t wait for The Rise of Skywalker to come to Blu-ray/DVD. Star Wars movies are always worth seeing on the big screen, flaws and all.