The Rise of Skywalker is the final film in an epic saga that began 42 years ago, and tries to give one of the most beloved franchises of all time a fitting farewell. It mostly succeeds in tying up the loose ends in the original characters’ stories, while still giving the new generation of Resistance fighters time to shine.
The film starts one year after the events of The Last Jedi, when Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and the rest of the Resistance narrowly escaped annihilation by First Order forces.
As new Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) amasses his fleet to hunt down the rebels, Rey trains in the ways of the Force under General Leia (Carrie Fisher) to prepare for the final showdown between the Jedi and the Sith. Both sides are spurred into extreme courses of action when clues about an old threat from the past are revealed.
Daisy Ridley gives a great performance as a young person still coming to terms with her newfound powers, yet who is already expected to save the universe. Moreover, all Jedi must struggle with the temptation of the Dark side, and Ridley portrays this convincingly enough that an evil Rey is a distinct possibility.
Adam Driver is also excellent as Ridley’s nemesis. Though they are enemies, Kylo is the only one that can truly understand Rey. No one else can have this connection with her, and Driver’s nuanced performance successfully sells this to the audience.
For action fans who are only here for the lightsaber fights and huge space battles, you won’t be disappointed. There are many high quality action sequences sprinkled throughout the film and the lightsaber duels are as cool as ever. Be sure to watch this film on the big screen, as the fantastic special effects are worth the price of admission alone.
Diehard Star Wars fanatics will also be mostly satisfied with the nostalgic send-offs to the most beloved characters from the original trilogy. Many of the most memorable characters get a final tip-of-the-hat as they make way for the new generation of heroes.
The only flaw in an otherwise well-crafted film is that some prominent new characters from the two most-recent films were not given much screen time. This is understandable, as the creators had to wrap up a lot of history of all the previous lore. Despite this minor hiccup, The Rise of Skywalker is a worthy final act to the Skywalker Saga.