As the twin suns sets, hope showers down over the desert sands of a planet named Tatooine. “If there is a bright center to the universe, this planet is the furthest from” says Luke, a precocious young moisture farmer who stares at these suns, hoping, believing that he is destined for more. A journey that fortune conspired to send him upon, and ultimately taking millions of us fans along with him on a glorious ride.
In 1977, “Star Wars” introduced us to a hero named Luke Skywalker and his adventures into the discovery of self and a legacy that he never knew. And for over 40 years, the Star Wars story was like a well written song with great melodies, that sang about Jedi, Sith, Light Sabers and Death Stars.
Politics played fluently in the background of this space opera while in the foreground the battle between good vs evil festered within a family legacy, wrapped around a spiritual and all-powerful concept called… the Force. Because of this, we now live in a world where, “I am your Father” “I have a bad feeling about this” and “May the Force be with you” comfortably resides within our popular culture.
One of my earliest, fondest memories was when my Dad took my mom and me to see “Return of the Jedi”. Enthralled with the first two installments of this trilogy, watched upon this new thing called a VHS, we were excited to find out how this story ends.
And like Emperor Palpatine said, “Only now at the end do you understand” as the final film in the saga, “The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters. This movie has the inevitable task of not only wrapping up the story arc of nine films, but it has the extra burden of trying to repair a fractured fan base created by its predecessor… “The Last Jedi.”
“The Rise of Skywalker” is an engaging, fun story that does a credible job at ending the saga. The movie strives to capture the adventure and lure that has made the series so beloved by reintroducing familiar faces and concepts in an effort to reconnect to the many longing fans of the Star Wars franchise.
At times, it is choppy and quick into and out of story beats because J.J. Abrams choose to make a sequel to the “Force Awakens” instead of leaning into the concepts laid out in “The Last Jedi.” The first third of this film actually serves as a bridge between the “Force Awakens” and the story Abrams wants to tell in “Rise of Skywalker.”
The performances by the newest stars of this trilogy – Rey, Poe, Finn and Kylo Ren – drive this film with great care, something that should have come earlier in the threesome. “Rise of Skywalker” also serves justice to the late Carrie Fisher, with previously recorded, unused footage creatively laced throughout.
Overall, the “Rise of Skywalker” is a fitting end to the nine-film saga, but it is a rocky end to this final trilogy. The movie provides much fan service but is also overstuffed with exposition that would have benefited from more time to explore instead of retconning story beats from the “Last Jedi.”
If you are fans of the “Force Awakens” then you may feel this film is an appropriate sequel. But if you are a fan of the “Last Jedi,” chances are you may feel disappointed with this installment.
Now as we peek over the horizon and the future is upon us, perhaps for the first time since the original “Star Wars” debuted, we as fans are unsure what to truly look forward to. The Skywalker saga has reached its finality and for the first time in over 40 years, Star Wars will no longer loom large within the pop culture lexicon.
And maybe this is fittingly where we belong, in a galaxy far, far away… standing just like Luke, gazing out towards the twin suns… wondering what’s next.
3 out of 5 beats on the MMTrometer.
Darryl King is a director, filmmaker, writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Force Awakens right here on musicmoviesthoughts.com, his YouTube channel Euphoria Media, and purchase his latest book Voyage to Lyrad here.