First, let’s get the credits out of the way. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is helmed by JJ Abrams (who was also in charge of The Force Awakens), bringing to an end this new trilogy in particular, following aspiring Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley), Rebel pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), former Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), and our resident Dark Sider Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). I’m itching to talk about the movie, so let’s get right to it.
Not gonna lie, I walked into the theater with low expectations. Despite the fact that I was going to watch the movie surrounded by other Star Wars fans who were undoubtedly going to suit up and saber on, I made an effort to dress down (not even a nerd shirt, blasphemy!) because I wanted to enjoy this movie simply, and. Well. Fast forward a couple of hours later and the credits roll, and I’m shaking my fist at the screen trying not to screech “COWARDS!”
But despite that, it’s actually not a bad movie. Sort of. Kind of. Let’s talk about that.
The Rise of Skywalker makes some… interesting choices. The pace, for one. As if to make up for lost time, we’re hit with scene after scene with little to no time to breathe in the beginning. This sorta works out?
Because the movie has only two hours to deliver on eight movies worth of expectations, and it decides to do just that. One hundred and forty two minutes of pure Star Wars from start to finish: blaster bolts, starfights, lightsabers, the good guys facing down the bad guys and ultimately taking them down and returning to the galaxy a promise of a better tomorrow.
The action sequences in particular have some really intense moments (the shootout sequences actually outdo the lightsaber sequences in this movie for me, but YMMV). It’s a huge departure from what was established in The Last Jedi. But if that’s what you’re looking for in Star Wars, that’s what you get.
Episode 9 is an excellent wrap up and send off, but that’s all it ends up being. It spends so much time sitting with what it knows works that it fails to justify its own existence. It’s predictable and fanservice-y, and while this isn’t entirely a bad thing, a finale that would rather go for the safe bet than actually tell the rest of the story feels like an absolute waste of all the talent and skill that went into the movie. It has its high points, but the whole thing just feels like a mess that is doing its best to simply deliver an experience without rocking the boat.
It’s a ride to be sure, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is still worth watching for your Star Wars fix. Just don’t expect anything new to be worth your while.
Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker returns to Philippine cinemas January 8 2020, after the Metro Manila Film Festival.