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Showdown With The Dark Side - Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Updated on August 8, 2020


The First Order has once again assembled the weaponry it needs to put an end to the Resistance. All they have to do is eliminate those whose use of the Force prevents their domination. In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her Jedi training under General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who now commands First Order forces, has obtained a wayfinder, which takes him to the planet Exegol. There, he encounters the spirit of the Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who sees a future where Ren rules the dark side of the Force with Rey. Ren, though, wants sole rule. Rey, sensing this, makes one more attempt to stop him. Information extracted from C3PO (Anthony Daniels) helps Rey to uncover the location of another wayfinder, but Ren senses Rey's every move.

The Resistance knows an all-out attack is imminent. and plan to stop the First Order before they reach the planet where the Resistance has nade their base. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leads the air forces, with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Finn (John Boyega) on the team in his fighter. While Resistance forces head into battle greatly outnumbered, they get an important ally in Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). All is not right, though, among the leaders of the First Order, as General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) differ over Ren's role in their efforts. When Rey learns about the plan to lure her to the dark side, she runs from the conflict. A visit from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) helps to convince her to return to the fight.


The first three releases of the Star Wars series were largely the creation of George Lucas, and the second three releases had the hand of Lucas as well. The Rise Of Skywalker, on the other hand, is much like the other two entries of the sequel trilogy. While based on Lucas's vision for the Star Wars series, the sequel writers have created high-priced fan fiction. J. J. Abrams, who directed, co-wrote, and co-produced Skywalker, doesn't bring the series to a crescendo, but simply to an ordinary and rather lengthy end. The climactic battle scene made me wonder how the final battle plan didn't occur to so many generations of Jedi knights. To his credit, though, Abrams is one notch above the prequel trilogy, but some of the dialog sounds a lot like motivational speaking. I feel as though too much time elapsed between the sets of trilogies. I'm not sure that Lucas himself could have crafted a more engaging series, including the stand-alone entries Rogue One and Solo. The final trilogy is respectable, but anyone who has watched all of them likely realizes none of the subsequent films matches the ones that began this cinematic phenomenon.

Fisher (in her final film appearance) and Hamill get the top billing, but Ridley and Driver have, by far, the most screen time. Both Rey and Kylo have to come to terms with their identities as warriors in touch with the Force. Rey finally learns the origin of her powers, and tries to run from that reality. She realizes, though, that the Resistance relies heavily on her continued participation. Driver, as Ren, sees his plan for domination challenged on a number of fronts. Rey is the most relentless of all adversaries, and their collision course may not be the one either of them expects. Both leads do fine work as fighters who know the call of the Force, but don't want their moves completely dictated by it. Boyega aslo has good moments as Finn, who learns other stormtroopers have broken from the ranks as he did. The others have a much more limited role here, including Lupita Nyong'o as Resistance ally Maz Kanata, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, and Keri Russell as Zorii Bliss, an old acquaintance of Poe's who helps the Resistance cause. In addition to Fisher, Hamill, Daniels, and Williams, many of the cast from previous films make small appearances. Harrison Ford has a cameo as Han Solo, and the key actors who played Jedi make vocal cameos, including Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, and, through archival tracks, Alec Guinness.


When the Star Wars series began, I was still in high school. By the time The Rise Of Skywalker hit theaters, I got a senior discount on my ticket. The original trilogy set new standards in the genre of science fiction, and the subsequent films proved that the originals were largely impossible of creating a similar impact. I've followed the films as I have many a TV series. The best of the series came at the start, and the later shows held my interest until the end. Luke, Leia, and Palpatine guide a younger generation in the ways of the Force, but few new twists come with these teachings. The journey through the series has been a satisfactory one that clearly began long ago in a galaxy far away.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker three stars. A space saga has finally come in for a landing.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker trailer

© 2020 Pat Mills


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