Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is stuffed with overused Star Wars tropes-and-plotlines you can think of.
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker movie cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamilton, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Richard Grant, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong’o, Ian Mcdiarmid
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker movie director: J J Abrams
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker movie rating: 3.5 stars
There is a reason why the Star Wars franchise is called a space opera: everything happens in a galaxy far far away, and almost everything—the rattle of sabres, the stomping of the storm-troopers, the squeak of the droids, the innumerable skirmishes and chases on land and air—is accompanied by swelling operatic riffs.
Episode IX is the third of the trilogy (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), and the final episode of the legend of Skywalker. Only those who are die-hard fans will remember the order and the sequence of the films, and have an instant reckoner of the characters that flit in and out of this mammoth saga, which began more than forty years back. For someone like me, who has seen every single film, and will continue to do so because, well, nostalgia, and, well, how can you not, it’s more about curiosity – how does this end? Does it end at all?
The film opens on a brisk note. Rey (Ridley) is hard at work, being trained under the kindly but firm eye of Princess Leia (Fisher). Soon enough she and her mates, crack pilot Poe (Isaac) and ex-stormtrooper Finn (Boyega) are out and about, taxed with saving the universe from the evil intentions of the Dark Lord of Sith (Mcdiarmid) and his icy lieutenant (Grant). But before Rey gets to her target, she has to contend with Kylo Ren (Driver), who seems to stand between her and her destiny. Or is he?
This is just the bare bones of a film stuffed with overused Star Wars tropes-and-plotlines you can think of, but what Abrams does is to keep things moving very swiftly. How different can one space chase be from another? Why, by making at least one absolutely spectacular: the screen explodes in an orange ball of fire, and you exhale, just at that very minute.
But the reason why this one works (as opposed to the many editions which were overpowered by clanking machines) is because of the emotional connects it creates with us. You feel for our old pal C-3PO (Daniels is the only actor to have appeared in every film of the series) as it yanks hard at its memory banks. You are anxious when the furry Chewbacca (Suotamo) is taken prisoner.
But most of all you feel for the two people who are at the heart of this film, Rey and Ren, as they clash, come close, pull apart, exploring the strange bond between them. There’s one scene between the two, when there is silence, broken only by their words, that is the most powerful of the film. And even if I did guess what’s coming (this is what comes of too much familiarity), I still exited the theater smiling.
And psst, maybe it was the end, and maybe not. A little giveaway strand in the climax hints at fresh adventures, so I’m guessing there will be more: after all, there are so many galaxies even farther away.