A voice has reverberated throughout the galaxy portending doom – who is this Phantom Emperor?
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has named himself supreme leader of the evil First Order. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is deep into her Jedi training with teacher Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Finn (John Boyega) works with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and the Resistance forces.
When Kylo Ren launches his plan for galaxy dominance, Rey, Finn and Poe embark upon a counterplan high in risk, a desperate strategy that will save the galaxy or vault it to the dark side.
“Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker” is the concluding story in the episode 7-9 trilogy.
Our heroes, Rey, Finn and Poe find themselves jetting across the galaxy, searching for the location of a rare Sith Wayfinder. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren continues to tempt Rey to the dark side of The Force. Poe takes on a larger role in the Resistance force and Finn continues to look at Rey with googley eyes.
The conclusion of this trilogy perfectly follows the lead of the previous two episodes. Offering great special effects within a familiar world that we know and love. However, the old characters from the original Star Wars episodes are simply cameo window-dressing with little substance while the new characters, Rey, Finn and Poe are uninspired and garner little emotional investment.
This final episode is action-driven and that action is top-notch. The ship battles are well choreographed and bring the scale of these battles to the forefront while still keeping the personal feel of the characters within these fights. The vast array of environments is also well done showing the diversity of planets and people within the galaxy. Yet, the element that is missing in all three episodes is balance. “The Rise Of Skywalker” like its predecessors, leans too heavily on its action and special effects at the expense of deeper characterization.
The strength of any film is in its writing and characterization, even action-adventures – as in the Marvel movies. This is the reason that audiences get giddy when they get a deeper insight into Leia, Luke or even Chewy. Rey and especially Finn have not been developed as well. In this film we begin to get deeper into Rey’s history and psyche, Poe takes more responsibilities and we learn of his past, and Finn, well, Finn is still underused – a huge disappointment for fans.
This concluding film certainly feels like a finale. The action is ramped up, there are more battles and The Force is used more as character arcs are wrapped up, but the tension just isn’t there. The drama of good versus evil is missing true peril.
The narrative is shown in bite-sized pieces, giving it a choppy feel at first. As the story unfolds, it blends into an incendiary of desperation and action as the internal and external struggles collide.
The performances are strong, we feel Kylo Ren’s determination and sincerity. Rey is both strong and vulnerable, but, again, the emphasis on action rather than a more balanced approach limits the actors.
“Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker” sees the sun set on this trilogy and these characters, making this both a suitable conclusion and a relief.
Bonus features* include:
• The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
• Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
• Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
• D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
• Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
• Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
• The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.