Three decades. Nine movies (not counting the anthology films). One epic franchise. We have finally reached the end of what has been called “The Skywalker Saga”. With its popularity, there is no doubt that more characters and worlds will be explored in the form of shows and spin-offs (There is reportedly a Kylo Ren prequel series in the works, but with so much news, how can you trust the internet anymore?), yet somehow, this truly feels like the end of a much-beloved franchise. As perfect as it seems, the journey, however, can be a long and winding road filled with so many paths and choices that, as you go, you start to wonder if you have taken the right turn.
As of late, the ‘Star Wars’ franchise has been divisive with the seemingly lackluster prequel trilogy (1999-2005), and with Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012, it seems that fans are mixed on the sequels, with some saying it is either similar to the original trilogy, or boring. As for me, I like where it is going. Though, it is not a perfect trilogy, there is still something to enjoy about the installments. The inclusion of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and BB-8 already feel welcome as they carry the franchise to new heights.
‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is meant to be an epic conclusion to a much beloved saga with expectations being high (unless you have been disappointed with the path thus far), goodbyes aplenty and tears being shed as we watch these characters go through one last hurrah. However, with J. J. Abrams returning to “right the wrongs” of Rian Johnson’s ‘The Last Jedi’ (which to be fair, was not really a terrible movie, just slow and flawed), he did his best, yet the result is just as clunky as it is satisfying.
As always, the fans get served in more ways than one (Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian and Ian Mcdiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine make appearances here and there; not a spoiler as it was already shown in the trailer), while the visual effects and cinematography are stunning as they grace beautiful locations. The battle sequences are just as exciting and well-filmed. Yet, with so many things Abrams has to do to make the perfect ending, it may just be too much of a good thing.
I have to admit that while I did like ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ and felt its emotional weight (The scenes with the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa in unused footage from ‘The Force Awakens’, albeit awkward at times, are still tear-inducing), even more-so than ‘The Last Jedi’, it may just be more clumsy than the entire franchise as a whole.