Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker Spoiler-Free Review

Star Wars has been a large part of the lives of many people through the years, including my own. Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi divided the fanbase and left many questions unanswered. That left JJ Abrams and The Rise of Skywalker to attempt the nearly impossible task of giving fans a satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker Saga. And in that, it mostly succeeds.

Episode IX picks up some time after the conclusion of The Last Jedi and sees the Resistance still fighting to stay afloat against the First Order. Kylo Ren, now the Supreme Leader, is now taking orders from a dark force thought to be long dead and will stop at nothing to turn Rey to the dark side, or kill her.

While I like The Last Jedi more than most people, it does have some pretty clear problems. The Rise of Skywalker does its best to rectify some of those issues. It feels every bit as epic as you would expect as the conclusion of Star Wars as we currently know it. It answers many of the questions we have been asking since The Force Awakens. Some of it could be considered “fan service”, but, for the most part, it’s done in a way that works well within the movie.

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Both Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver deliver standout performances. Ridley, in particular, is the strongest she’s ever been. Both fully complete their respective character arcs, which leads to emotional moments that both portray beautifully. I am going to miss both of them, assuming this truly is the end for these characters.

Another standout of the movie wasn’t in the acting department. It was the always solid John Williams and his score for this movie. It might be the greatest he has put together for a Star Wars film. The way he works with themes from all three main trilogies and weaves them into the narrative is flawless. It even feels like certain themes have arcs of their own, in addition to the characters themselves. It truly is an outstanding score. Yes, JJ Abrams does a really good job directing, the action is excellent, and the visual effects are outstanding, but Ridley, Driver, and Williams rose above everything else.

The movie does have flaws. The story, while good, does feel rushed. The first act is choppy and doesn’t flow particularly well. The two and a half hour runtime flies but, but it feels like it could have used another hour to fully flesh out the plot and develop new characters introduced in this movie. It feels like a lot was cut out, which means some plot points and seemingly important lines of dialogue never have any sort of payoff.

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With that said, overall The Rise of Skywalker was all that I could ask for as a finale. I really liked it the first time I saw it and loved it the second. I enjoyed the vast majority of it, was in awe of the action, laughed a lot, and was on the edge of my seat throughout the last act. Despite many negative reviews, it might personally be my favorite of the sequel trilogy. If you’re a Star Wars fan, see it as soon as you can in a theater with a crowd before it gets spoiled for you.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker gets a Golden Donut.

Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut

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