“We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them,” says Poe (Oscar Isaac) in an effort to boost morale as the Resistance gets ready to go up against the Final Order and its massive forces in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Resistance is still trying to recover from their last fight with the First Order in The Last Jedi as the film begins. Poe and Finn (John Boyega) are working together on missions for the leader of the Resistance, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), while Rey (Daisy Ridley) trains to become an even stronger Jedi.
When the voice of an old and terrible enemy from the past is heard on a transmission, Poe, Finn, BB-8, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Rey take off on a mission to find the origin of the transmission. This search will take the team all over the galaxy, facing dangers on every planet and in space.
Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who’s now Supreme Chancellor, and his Knights of Ren are also searching for the voice’s location to determine if it’s a threat to his reign. Ren’s also still trying to find Rey and convince her to join him and turn to the dark side.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a visually stunning film with stirring action scenes and featuring some strong performances. Daisy Ridley once again steals the film as Rey, a fierce fighter determined to help the Resistance defeat the Final Order while also on her own quest to discover the origin of who she is, where she comes from, and what’s her true destiny. Ridley is the heart and soul of the film.
The scenes between Rey and Leia (with the unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher) are powerful and full of emotion. They also keep alive an important link between the past films and the new trilogy.
Oscar Isaac and John Boyega have wonderful buddy chemistry in their scenes together as brothers in battle. They bring to the film the fun, friendship, and adventure Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford had together as Luke and Han in the first Star Wars trilogy. Adam Driver delivers a solid performance as Kylo Ren, but sadly the character never really matches up to being a truly threatening and memorable villain.
The biggest problem/let down with the film is its lack of originality. The first half of the film does have some new ideas and introduces a few new characters while bringing back two classic characters from the past. But a little over the halfway point, the film copies and re-works too many scenes and storylines from the original trilogy, especially from Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an entertaining, epic, action-packed, visually astounding yet unoriginal space fantasy adventure that brings the Skywalker saga to a fairly satisfying close.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action
Release Date: December 19, 2020
Running Time: 155 minutes
Directed By: J.J. Abrams