I must confess, I never started off as a Star Wars fan during my childhood.
While I was always aware of Star Wars, my family weren’t really into film, nor were they into arts and culture – something which I am now making up for in leaps and bounds. So, in my early adulthood, when I finally managed to thoroughly dive into the Star Wars franchise, because of my love already for sci-fi and fantasy, I became a fan. Not the kind of fan that could properly explain to you what ‘midi-chlorians’ are, but still a Star Wars fan, nonetheless.
Although I have seen each trilogy in the Star Wars saga; the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy. I have always connected to the sequel trilogy more. I’ve loved all the characters, their individual journeys and the casting diversity. As you can imagine, I, like many, was both curious and excited to see how the saga would end in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Pulling back the reins off Rian Johnson for the mess he made in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams returns to the franchise with the heavy responsibility to not only provide the last film for the sequel trilogy, but to provide the 9th and final film of the beloved saga.
Fans are reunited with their favourite characters and villains on-screen; Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Issac), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Chewbacca played by Joonas Sutamo, C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels), R2D2, Lando (Billy Dee Williams), Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDermid) and Princess Lea (Carrie Fisher). In an on-going theme of good versus evil, the mission our favourite space crew must endure is practically ‘the war to end all wars’. Even though the Star Wars franchise, like the universe, is ever expanding, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a sense of finality.
It goes without saying that the costumes, props and special effects are phenomenal, making Star Wars visually so unique with its style, imagination and futuristic appearance. But together with the brilliance of John Williams’ golden touch, returning to the franchise to compose The Rise of Skywalker score, the fight choreography shown within the first few seconds of the film alone, is so impressive (lovingly equipped with everything mentioned above) that it appears like some kind of mesmerising dance. The film only gets better from here.
The narrative, although appearing somewhat slow at first, is purposefully paced to transform from a slow walk into a run. Once all the secrets and surprises unravel, Abrams provides one mind-blowing explosion after another, without warning. I found myself on an emotional battleground, trying to survive by running through landmines of joy, fear, heartbreak and redemption. Honestly, my heart was racing and I was hanging on the edge of my seat, as once the suspense of Rise of Skywalker started, it did not cease until the very end.
Not only is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a must-see on the big screen, but it deserves praise. One can imagine it is no easy task to tie 9 films together by giving the final film of the saga its own identity, while also respectfully staying true to the original content that started it all. Perhaps maybe it does provide a bit of fan-service, but who else would these films be for, really?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker provides a fitting conclusion to the sequel trilogy, and one that I am personally happy with. I was so pleased, to the point, I was constantly moved to tears throughout many moments of the film. As a film critic, it is not often that I get to witness a film that is both unpredictable and joyfully surprising. As a fan, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker closes out the epic saga in style, and showcases a world that I have grown to love, and characters who I will truly miss.