Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit cinemas for a limited early release last weekend and fans who missed it have to wait until January 8 to see the conclusion to the Skywalker saga. Avoiding spoilers will be tough, so we made sure to keep them to a minimum in this review.
It’s no secret that The Rise of Skywalker garnered a low 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from film critics. However, some fans (including myself) generally enjoyed it. Here’s a trick to enjoying Episode 9: don’t set your expectations too high. Still, expect surprises. The Rise of Skywalker has a couple of twists up its sleeve that I genuinely liked.
Bringing back what’s familiar
Look-wise, Episode 9 features classic Star Wars elements. Director J.J. Abrams borrowed a couple of elements from the earlier trilogy, especially when he introduced the big bad of the movie. Other film languages like lighting the main villain were also reminiscent of the first Star Wars film.
With John Williams working on the movie’s soundtrack, you can look forward to hearing the series’ familiar tunes. I have to admit, the musical scoring helped make Episode 9 more emotional and epic. Hearing The Imperial March a.k.a. Darth Vader’s theme sent chills down my spine.
Onto the glaring problem
Although the runtime of The Rise of Skywalker is 2 hours and 22 minutes, it felt longer and almost dragging. Since it’s the last movie of the saga, Episode 9 had to answer a lot of questions left by not only the sequel trilogy, but of the whole Skywalker saga. Who are Rey’s parents? When did Leia start using the Force? Where is Jarjar Binks? Let’s just say the movie had a lot going on.
Besides tying up loose ends, it tries to introduce new characters we couldn’t quite get behind yet. We get it! The studio is setting up a spin-off. In the process, it neglects certain characters they introduced in the last movie.
I love Leia and she is one of my favorite characters in the franchise, but I felt like most of her scenes in Episode 9 are forced. The filmmakers used what they had left of Carrie Fischer (RIP) on the cutting room floor to put her into the last movie. But it felt like Leia’s story was written around these scenes, making it disconnected from parts of the movie.
Where it shines
These issues aside, The Rise of Skywalker definitely brings action to the table. Rey and Kylo Ren’s lightsaber duel won’t just have you on the edge of your seats in excitement, it’s going to give you the feels, too. And since Poe is in this movie, expect epic fighter jet battles.
Like other series-ending movies, you can expect your favorite characters across the lore to make a comeback. The trailer already teased the return of smooth-talking smuggler Lando Calrissian and a couple more familiar faces.
The movie’s overall theme is identity and it addresses it the old Star Wars way. But the charm of the sequel trilogy is that it brings a fresh take to a story that fans know and love. The Rise of Skywalker might not be the ending that satisfies the Skywalker saga, but it’s still better than the prequels.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will return to Philippine cinemas on January 8, 2020.