Click here to return to the main site.

Movie Review

Star Wars
Episode IX
The Rise of Skywalker


Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels and Richard E Grant
Director: J. J. Abrams
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2 hr, 22 min
Opens 20 December 2019


Well it had to happen eventually, they've finally made a Star Wars film I didn't love and I'm as shocked as anyone.

Review imageDon't get me wrong I didn't hate it,  my love of all things Star Wars is as high as Anakin's Midichlorian count, but I can't recall a time when I've left a cinema feeling like so many opportunities were missed, or wilfully bypassed, as I did at 3am-ish this morning.

The Last Jedi gave me hope that the franchise was going to speed into the future telling new and interesting stories with diverse characters. Instead the galaxy has just eaten itself.

I love a meta reference as much as the next bothan but there's referencing and there's Selective Star Wars Bingo where the  prequels and The Last Jedi are ignored in favour of a fan boy parade of  WEDGE! LANDO! JAWAS! EWOKS!

Review imageThis would be forgivable if the movie was otherwise strong but the plot manages to be both pointlessly complicated (find this thing, now this, now go there for no reason) and yet entirely unoriginal (we blow up this one small thing then the whole evil scheme will fail). If The Force Awakens was a soft reboot of A New Hope then Rise of Skywalker is a do-over of The Force Awakens in Return of The Jedi robes.

There are more plot holes than languages in Threepio's database, characters behave illogically compared to their existing arcs. It's a hot mess.

In one scene early on Rey accidentally blows up a First Order transport containing Chewbacca. That was a WOAH moment but less than five minutes later it turns out he's fine and was on a completely different transport which no one else saw... hmmmm
That first pulled punch sets the tone for the film. J. J. Abrams constantly shies away from any sort of emotional impact beyond nostalgia. There's a point where Threepio has his memory wiped but... oh it's okay Artoo can restore it, oh look Rey has somehow developed the ability to heal mortal wounds with her hands and so on.

Review imageAbrams also shies away from even considering, let alone answering, some of the questions raised by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi, women are back to being sidelined. Leia apparently names Poe as General of the fleet despite his being responsible for the death of virtually the whole rebellion six months ago, Rose and Commander D'acy are basically invisible, new character Jannah exists for five minutes to cast doe eyes at Finn and be flirted at by Lando (because POC can only be paired with other POC right? jeez). Even Rey needs Kylo to rescue her. Oh and all her powers come from being Palpatine's grand-daughter. Yes really.

Again this is telling. So deliberately is Abrams trying to avoid even mentioning the prequel-canon that he ignores the obvious way to setup that needless connection by having Rey created in utero by Palpatine's manipulation of the Force as with Anakin.

Review imageThe Rise of Skywalker is illustrative of the perils of making a movie to try and please the vocal fanboy contingent instead of trying to y'know, actually tell a story. It's cowardly.

The creature work is as exceptional as always (Babu Frick being my personal fave), the cast attack everything with complete conviction and that elevates the whole enterprise. Richard E Grant is smashing but underused ditto Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) and Hux (Dominall Gleeson). There are some good action set pieces but we've seen them before and nothing comes close to the Battle of Crait for visual power.

I realise that perhaps I sound like a hater, I'm not, I still love Star Wars. I'm just sad that at the end it was just trying so hard, desperately, to be loved instead of just being its best self and trusting that we would love it anyway.


Lizzie Biscuits

Screen shot

Click here to return to the main site.