￼ few weeks ago, at a movie theater not far away, my dad and I anxiously awaited the beginning of the long-anticipated new “Star Wars” film, “The Rise of Skywalker.”
After what I found to be a less-than-satisfying conclusion to the 2017 installment, “The Last Jedi,” I was incredibly curious to discover what direction the epic saga would travel next.
As the classic opening crawl began, several people in the audience cheered.
“I hope this will be a good movie,” I thought to myself.
I was not disappointed.
Two hours and 22 minutes later, as the final scene ended and the credits began to play, I turned to my dad and said, “That was awesome!”
At the end of “The Last Jedi,” the Resistance had been largely defeated, with the protagonist, Rey, caught in a struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force.
In the opening scenes of “The Rise of Skywalker” (which, according to published interviews with director J.J. Abrams, takes place one year after Episode VIII), villain Kylo Ren discovers that Emperor Palpatine has somehow managed to resurrect himself, rather than perishing at the end of “Return of the Jedi.” Palpatine has created a massive army of planet-destroying ships and orders Kylo to kill Rey.
Meanwhile, Rey has been continuing her Jedi training with General Leia Organa (portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher, using unused footage). After the Resistance learns of Palpatine’s return through a spy, Rey and her friends embark on a mission to locate the resurrected Sith lord. All the while, Rey struggles to come to terms with her parentage, which is revealed during the film.
The film is a roller coaster of twists and turns, triumphs and sorrows. The action-packed scenes kept me on the edge of my seat, while the ever-developing plot kept my interest piqued.
One aspect of the movie that I particularly appreciated as a “Star Wars” fan are the callbacks to past movies. Classic characters make appearances and familiar locations are revisited, creating a sense of nostalgia for every fan of the saga.
I did not, however, feel that the film relies too heavily on that nostalgia. Several new characters are introduced and new aspects of the “Star Wars” universe are explored. While the third act of “The Rise of Skywalker” did very much resemble that of “Return of the Jedi,” the new film brings a sense of freshness to the table.
But that’s not to say “Rise” is perfect.
The film has a rocky start. Too many important plot points are introduced in a very short period of time, making the beginning segment a bit difficult to follow. Additionally, the return of Palpatine raises the question of how he managed to survive, which is never entirely explained.
Additionally, the conclusion of the movie left me with more questions than answers, as there are many loose plot threads that are not tied up. In most cases, those plot threads contribute very little to the story’s conclusion.
I was also disappointed with the final line of the film, spoken by Rey. For the sake of not spoiling the movie, I will not divulge what that particular line is. However, I feel that the single final line contradicts the overall theme of the trilogy and could have been approached differently.
Despite certain unpolished aspects, I have to applaud Abrams’ work. He directed the first installment of the modern trilogy, “The Force Awakens,” while its follow-up, “The Last Jedi,” was directed by Rian Johnson. Because “The Last Jedi” proved to be divisive among fans, “The Rise of Skywalker” needed to appeal to a broader audience. So, Abrams had his work cut out for him. He had a difficult task but was able to bring the trilogy to a solid, heartfelt conclusion.
As my dad and I left the movie theater after seeing “The Rise of Skywalker,” I had nothing but positive things to say about the movie. And despite the film’s flaws, I believe “The Rise of Skywalker” is amazingly entertaining and will be enjoyed for years to come.