A Review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Nine movies. Forty-two years. A story that changed science fiction, storytelling, and cinema as we know them.


It doesn’t seem real that after all this time, the Star Wars saga is coming to a close. Oh, we all know there will be more movies and Disney+ series. Disney didn’t spend $4 billion to make three saga movies, two spin-off movies, and some TV shows and call it a day. They will continue to make Star Wars for as long as it’s profitable, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.


But this, the Skywalker Saga, as it has been dubbed, is over. Nine movies telling the story of the Skywalker family from Anakin and his mother all the way to Ben Solo. There have been bumps along the road, poorly-received movies along with critically-acclaimed ones, but fans in the millions love the Skywalker Saga, its characters, its rich themes of family and hope.


Can “The Rise of Skywalker” ever live up to the legacy it has to bring to a close? Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly, fans are divided. I’ve seen reviews that shower it with praise and others that say the movie left them feeling hollow, empty–an unsatisfactory conclusion. That decision will always be up to the individual viewer to come to, and no one feeling is necessarily right or wrong.


What I will post here is just my opinion. Many will agree with me, while others will wonder how I came to such a conclusion. That’s the beauty of consumerism: we can choose for ourselves. I will try to be vague, so as not to ruin any major surprises, but what lies beyond this paragraph will contain some SPOILERS for the movie, so be advised, if you have not seen “The Rise of Skywalker” yet, you may want to put off reading further until you have.


Set a year after the events of “The Last Jedi,” this movie follows Rey, Finn, and Poe as the Resistance frantically searches for the location of Emperor Palpatine, who has revealed himself to be alive after all this time. Palpatine has a secret fleet, which he calls “the Final Order,” and Supreme Leader Kylo Ren of the First Order has submitted to the Sith Lord’s control.


Rey leads a search for a device that will give them Palpatine’s location. The search leads her on a journey of discovery of her own identity, a mystery she has long sought to unravel. Along the way, her faithful companions–Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, C-3PO, BB-8, and D-O–struggle against the First Order and some of their own inner conflicts. Kylo Ren leads the hunt for Rey, dealing with his own demons as he does. It is obvious that the parallel journeys of Rey and Ren are central to the movie, as their choices ultimately affect the climax in huge ways.


Speaking of the climax, the final battle of this movie may be one of the most ambitious of any Star Wars film. The sheer number of ships involved is astounding, as is the more emotional conflict going on in the three-way confrontation between Rey, Ren, and Palpatine. There were twists and turns along the way that I saw coming, and others I didn’t expect.


Appearances by familiar actors Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and (in cameo only) Dennis Lawson tie the movie to the previous trilogy, making this finale seem like one for the whole saga, not just the Sequel Trilogy. The way they handled Leia, despite the death of Carrie Fisher three years ago, was wonderful and more than any fan probably could have hoped for.


Without going too far into detail, the movie’s ending is, in ways, exactly what I expected it to be, and that’s not a bad thing. The heartfelt sendoff we get from this galaxy far, far away is one that had this lifelong Star Wars fan very satisfied. In my opinion, “The Rise of Skywalker” is the best possible ending to this nine-movie saga I could have imagined.


Overall rating: 9/10

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