‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ movie review

Note: This is a spoiler-free Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker movie review

Well, the Star Wars saga is coming to an end. But the ninth installment of the franchise makes sure the conversation among fans is just beginning. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an intergalactic success for the fan wanting nostalgia. When it comes to substance, stakes, and story, however, the movie comes up short.

A Conclusion That Calls Back

It’s clear that Rise of Skywalker has a solitary, primary goal in mind, and that is to provide the most diehard fanbase over the last 40 years a cinematic walk down memory lane.

Straight from the opening scroll fans are treated to callbacks from past years, and it continues for the entire movie. This is a spoiler-free review, so there’s no reason to get into specifics. But it’s safe to say your favorite Star Wars character has a very high chance of being represented in some form within Rise of Skywalker

Taking this approach is a bit of a double-edged sword for the movie. When the nostalgia route works, it really works for the Star Wars fan. There are multiple times where people in the theater will shed a tear, mostly within the final hour. As Rise of Skywalker speeds toward one final climax, the energy is palpable and the audience knows the saga is coming to the end. The movie plays off this emotion well.

Fans can’t help but remember the journey they’ve been on for the last four decades.

Also, if you like the classic Star Wars action, Rise of Skywalker is jam-packed with it. Lightsaber fights light up at least five scenes in the movie. X-wing fighters are battling TIE fighters that are protecting star destroyers which have planet-eliminating cannons. STORMTROOPERS CAN FLY NOW.

All the battles in Rise of Skywalker are big, epic, and undeniably Star Wars.

And the entertainment is constant. You won’t go 3-5 scenes without a fight. The production keeps up right through to the end. The final battle scene is glorious.

Epic final battle scenes are quintessential in all the great movie franchises. Lord Of The Rings probably d0es it best. Harry Potter follows suit. The action and explosion and drama with Rise of Skywalker ranks right up there. Get your popcorn ready.

This sentimental approach is the strongest aspect of the movie, by far. In this sense, it truly is a movie for the fans. Which is something a passionate fanbase like this one deserves. 

Unfortunately, it seems as though J.J. Abrams and Co. spent too much time living in the past and not enough putting together a rewatchable movie for the now. 

Maddening Final Moments

The first and most obvious issue with Rise of Skywalker is the lack of cohesion in the story. A fellow Star Wars fan (who is much smarter than me) observed that Abrams took his personal Last Jedi script and essentially put it into the first 25 minutes of this movie. That is accurate, and it makes for some big action and plot development right away. But it also makes for audience confusion.

Essentially the question is this: why are we introducing new worlds and storylines for main characters in a final chapter?

It is likely an attempt to reverse the work done by The Last Jedi. But it’s not like that movie didn’t happen. Adding more to it that changes storylines just jumbles things up and confuses a fanbase that harps on every little detail. Essentially they’re digging deeper into a hole that everyone is ready to move on from.

The lack of story cohesion is the most obvious blunder in the movie, but it is not the most blatant.

The penultimate moment of Rise of Skywalker is legitimately disappointing.

Not the final battle scene. That’s epic. Not the FINAL scene of the movie. That’s nostalgic and beautiful. Between those scenes is a puzzling, unnecessary moment that simply doesn’t make sense. After 40 years of following a saga, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth both figuratively and literally.

Wrapping up a series like this with a bow is damn near impossible. For the most part Rise of Skywalker provided admirably for the Star Wars fan. This gratuitous moment right at the end simply didn’t need to be there and it will leave fans wondering why. It’s a shame, but it’s difficult to get over.

Should I See Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

I’m about 1138% sure you’re going to see this movie no matter what I write in this section. And you’ve probably seen it already. You wouldn’t be a true Pure Fandom reader if you didn’t see the end of the Star Wars saga. 

That said, don’t go in with sky-high expectations. Be ready to enjoy yourself with big battles and action. And be ready for an epic walk down memory lane as a historic story concludes. But you won’t be catching an all-time Star Wars movie for the ages. 

In other words, watch Rise of Skywalker as a fan, not a critic. That’s your path to mastering this final chapter, young padawan.

For more, check out our Movies section!

(Featured Image courtesy of EPK)

About Steve Richards

First and foremost, I love anything Philly sports; that includes the Phillies, Sixers, Eagles, Flyers and Union (that’s a soccer team). I’m also a fan of the English Premier League squad Manchester City. In the college ranks, I follow the football, basketball, and baseball teams of both Penn State and the University of Texas. I work for SportsNetworker.com, where I am the COO. I also cover a variety of high school sports for The Reporter and PaPrepLive.com as a freelance writer. On the broadcast journalism side of things I'm a co-host of the Prime Time Fantasy Football and Showcast podcasts on Next Level Radio. You can check that out right here. You'll also find me on Twitter discussing a multitude of things. Feel free to give me a follow over there.
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