The newest film in the Star Wars saga premiered in theaters everywhere on Dec. 20. Rise of Skywalker is a fun, fast-paced, and beautifully shot film. The CGI work and special effects are second to none, and as has become standard with Star Wars, the musical accompaniment is perfect. In their third film living as these characters, the stars turn in their best acting performances, although the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian is something I didn’t think I needed. As a standalone film, it’s a success.
With that being said, Rise will no doubt be one of the more divisive Star Wars films, especially with previous fans of the series. The previous two films in this current trilogy have been accused of being mere re-treads of the original trilogy by some of their harshest detractors. Rise may find itself in that same category for many fans. This is definitely the “Return of the Jedi” of this current trilogy and every fan of this series will feel differently about what that means.
Star Wars fans all have a favorite character or story arch and because of that you may find yourself feeling like you don’t get the tight ending for some characters that you had hoped. With a story that has spanned nine films over the course of 40+ years, it would be almost impossible to stick the landing. This history caused the editing in the first 30-45 minutes to feel a bit disjointed as the story jumps around a tad too fast, but eventually settles and the story begins to unfold. Because the runtime sits at a substantial two hours 22 minutes, there is plenty of time for director JJ Abrams to tell his story. Abrams does the best job he can trying to wrangle all the open storylines for this saga, any reasonable fan can see that.
If anything, it’s a beautiful homage to the dedication and vision that George Lucas had all those years ago. This film is a way to say goodbye to the original characters you fell in love with and a way to greet the characters created for a new generation.
Or…it adds one more film to the Star Wars saga that you can argue about with your family during the holidays. May the Force be with you.