J.J. Abrams (director)
2h 21 mins (length)
19 December 2019 (released)
19 December 2019
The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson in 2017, was a hit with critics but proved divisive among fans, so the pressure was on J.J. Abrams to deliver a satisfying finale to the current trilogy as well as all nine films with The Rise of Skywalker.
The film takes place one year after the events of The Last Jedi and follows Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she continues her Jedi training, trying to find out about her family and resisting Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) attempts to turn her to the Dark Side, while General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and her Resistance team - including Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) - continue to find ways to defeat the First Order, now run by Ren.
Brace yourselves - there is an overwhelming amount of content in this film. It is an exhausting watch because so much happens, and it zips along, leaving you no time to process all the mind-blowing revelations which are made throughout.
This is jam-packed with non-stop action strung together by a fairly weak plot. The action sequences, of which there are many, weren't as exciting as they could be, particularly with the starship chases and final Resistance/First Order face-off. The lightsaber battles have higher emotional stakes and look very cool but aren't as thrilling as some we've seen in earlier films.
The Rise of Skywalker is also well-stocked when it comes to fan service moments, especially the cameos. However, the decisions Abrams makes in regards to some of the characters' stories will be polarising. Some big moments don't feel true to the characters or make sense, which may leave viewers feeling confused and infuriated at the choices made.
However, there was a lot to enjoy with the outing. Rey, Finn, and Poe working together as a trio for the first time was a clever idea, as their banter and camaraderie is a joy to watch. The film also has stellar comedy moments, beautiful locations, and fun new characters - the standout being the mini creature Babu Frik (voiced by Shirley Henderson).
The handling of Fisher's death was also handled extremely well. Abrams managed to incorporate unused footage of the actress as Leia from The Force Awakens and make it work here, and her inclusion is completely seamless. You would never be able to tell she wasn't there.
As ever, Ridley carries this movie and she does a good job.
It is physically and emotionally demanding and she is a likeable lead. Finn and Poe get more to do this time around, while Poe is given more personality and a bit more colour. A lot of the new characters - such as Zorii (Keri Russell) and Jannah (Naomi Ackie) were barely in it, as was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, which is a shame.
The Rise of Skywalker has many enjoyable moments but makes too many bad story choices with the characters to be truly satisfying. A disappointing end to the trilogy.