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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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4sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD Judy Thorburn

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4lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD

 

 


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

George Lucas's outer space fantasy saga that began in 1977 and became a worldwide phenomenon comes to a close 42 years later with its ninth installment, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter of the Skywalker trilogy with director J.J.Abrams (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) returning to the helm, working from a script he cowrote with Chris Terrio (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice).

The story picks up a year after the events of the Last Jedi. The villainous, power hungry Emperor Palpadine (Ian McDiarmid, in perfect evil incarnate mode) is now back from the dead and more determined than ever to take over the galaxy while pulling all the strings on the sideline. Fighting back are the Resistance forces led by Rey (Daisy Ridley), Storm Trooper turned rebel Finn (John Boyega), ace fighter pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2D2, who unite on a quest to find a triangular crystal, called the “Wayfinder”, that will lead them to Exogol, the hidden planet of the Siths, where Palpatine is determined to make himself leader of the Final Order. Meanwhile, Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren (a superb Adam Driver), aka Ben Solo, son of Princess Leia and Han Solo and grandson of Darth Vader, is psychically connected to Rey and is intent on having her join him as Supreme Leader of the First Order, by taking his hand and turning to the Dark Side.

Daisy Ridley, with her emotionally expressive face, is terrific as Rey, the reluctant heroine haunted by questions about her lineage and her strange connection to Kylo Ren, whose own personal struggles come into play. Both actors are committed to their roles and you can't help but be drawn into their inner and outer conflicts.

The supporting cast includes Richard E. Grant (last year's Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) evoking his most evil side as First Order General Pryde and Domhnall Gleason as General Hux, with several beloved characters from past installments making an appearance such as 83 year old, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Carissian who hasn't been on board since 1983's Return of the Jedi, and the late Carrie Fisher, as the former Princess Leia, now known as General Leia Organa and mother figure/mentor to Rey, helping the young woman master her Jedi powers. Fisher's presence here is cleverly injected with pieces of unused footage from the Force Awakens (Fisher passed away in 2016). A few new characters are also introduced.  Keri Russell appears as the armored, masked Zorii Bliss, a figure from Poe's past that becomes an important ally for the Resistance, Naomie Ackie as the bow and arrow wielding, horse riding, Jannah, who joins in the fight against the Resistance, and a scene stealing, adorable puppet named Babu Frik. By the way, Fisher's daughter Billie Lourde has a small sideline role (blink and you might miss her) as a member of the Resistance.

There are also a few additional beloved characters that show up, but I refuse to divulge any spoilers. I will add that questions are answered, secrets are revealed, and love, loyalty and sacrifice are all neatly woven into the story.

This last chapter of the Star Wars saga may not be perfect. A few scenes had me scratching my head due to the lack of credibility. Nevertheless, the film delivers so many great elements starting with a solid script, exciting, action packed, space battles, one on one light saber fights, great camaraderie, banter and chemistry between characters and, of course, spectacular visual effects, that it doesn't diminish the value of the film as a whole. In fact, I was pulled into the adventure in a galaxy far, far away, right from the very beginning up to to the emotionally gripping conclusion.

I have always been a Star Wars fan, although I am not a fanatic to the nth degree as to nit pick for minor flaws, too familiar plotlines, or whatever. All I can say is that Stars Wars: The Rise of Skywalker met my expectations by delivering the goods as a throughly entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the most popular, blockbuster franchise in movie history.

One more thing. Although Star Wars has come to an end, I took notice of a brief conversation between two characters in this final installment that hints of a possible spinoff. I guess we will have to see what the future has in store. In the meantime, may the force be with you!


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