Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%
There’s an element of deja-vu with this movie, in more ways than one. The grand conclusion of a great franchise produced by the gargantuan Disney movie machine hit all of the right points but did little more.
Following on from the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren meets Emperor Palpatine face-to-face on the hidden Sith planet Exegol. He discovers that Palpatine has been building an armada of Star Destroyers that will allow them to rule the galaxy. Ren is tasked with eliminating the final threat to their domination, Rey, who continues her Jedi training with the Resistance. When the Resistance learns of the First Order’s plan, they are tasked with finding a way to reach Exegol, leading Ren and Rey on a collision course that will test both their loyalties.
You could never get away from the fact that this was going to be the last Star Wars film, at least along this storyline. That fact ended up driving much of the film’s direction and contributed to a notable lack of originality throughout. The story was perhaps one of the only things that felt slightly unique, but the plot itself was disappointingly small and linear for a 140-odd-minute blockbuster. On the other hand of the film’s lack of newness was the fact that it delivered lots of exciting and enjoyable moments for fans of both new and old Star Wars films. The classic whistle-stop tour of galaxies and characters led to plenty of on-screen entertainment, while the relatively few fights that occurred were still fun to watch.
The acting in this film was good, but perhaps without the grand performance you would hope to see in a movie of this calibre. Much like the story itself, it all felt slightly on the safe side, relying on the charisma of side characters the push forward a lead that was slightly muted given the psychological nature of the film’s storyline. The direction also followed a similar line, erring towards the tried and trusted. There was plenty of exciting and clever shots in this film as you would expect, but few moments that genuinely caught your breath.
One thing that is worth shouting about in this movie, though, is the incredible production value. The visuals in this film are awesome, from deep and vibrant planets to bright and colourful skies. It did feel an awful lot like watching Avengers: Endgame again, especially with the purple hues of the final fight. While that will probably be another stick with which to beat this film’s lack of originality, it still felt incredibly exciting to see such an epic production.
Overall, Star Wars: RoS was a really entertaining cinema experience! It certainly wasn’t a groundbreaking cinema experience which, for fans of the franchise, might leave a bitter taste in the mouth. However, there’s no denying that for the casual movie-goer to whom Disney markets these films, it has enough to please.