Star Wars movies: “Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”

Does J.J. Abrams bring the Star Wars saga back on track and to a satisfying end with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker?

Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
(USA 2019, director: J.J. Abrams)

The Resistance doesn’t only have to carry on the fight against the First Order, but soon faces the return of Emperor Palpatine, while Rey still struggles with her Jedi Powers and her mysterious past.

After The Force Awakens (see my review) was a great start, even if it played it rather safe with its storytelling, The Last Jedi (see my other review) was a different affair. Almost everything Abrams built was discarded, including a potentially powerful villain, and something rather less engaging was introduced, including a love story that simply didn’t work. So J.J. Abrams definitely had his work cut out to salvage whatever pieces Rian Johnston had left behind.

Unfortunately this all shows, as making the Emperor return is as nonsensical as most of the twists the director throws at its audience, i.e. Rey’s past and the identity of the Resistance’s spy among the First Orders’ ranks. Sometimes the director also can’t decide if he wants to promote a more peaceful approach in the way of the Jedi or the gung-ho all-out-war/survival attitude, which becomes especially prominent in the final sequences with the Emperor. It’s not all bad storytelling, though, as the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey is handled much better and there are quite a few emotional scenes that evoke the epic Star Wars feeling that only shines through in the space battle scenes. Using the Emperor obviously means that the movie becomes much darker, even if it remains a cheap narrative trick introducing a well-known antagonist.

If one accepts that most of the story doesn’t make much sense, then one can have a lot of fun with the final instalment, as it is much faster paced and has some great action set-pieces, even if these are pretty ridiculous, like Rey evading a TIE Striker or pulling down a cargo ship. Of course these power fantasies have always been part of the Star Wars franchise, as can be seen with the The Force Unleashed games (see GOG releases news), but it’s just one example of many how unoriginal (and in parts ridiculous) even the action feels at times. Considering how successfully Episode VII kicked off a new Star Wars era and how broken it became during the following episode and how much had to be fixed, it’s no surprise that the finale can’t live up to the legacy of the original trilogy (Episode IV, Episode V and Episode VI). All in all, The Rise of Skywalker is an entertaining but also rather forgettable piece of entertainment that is caught between trying something new and pleasing fans, but not really leaving a lasting impression.

Score: 7.5/10

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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