Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

There’s ample spectacle on display, but barely sufficient characterisation to make us feel anything for the ragtag group of protagonists.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dir. J.J. Abrams
2019 | USA | Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi | 141 mins | 2.39:1 | English
PG13 (edited) for sci-fi violence and action
(Note: Theatrical version was edited – read more about commercial censorship in Singapore by distributors.)

Cast: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac
Plot:  The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Awards: Nom. for 3 Oscars – Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Mainstream

Viewed: In Theatres (GV Suntec)
Spoilers: No

For some of the easier-to-please fans, this may be the moderately satisfying denouement that they have been asking for.  For others, fans or otherwise, The Rise of Skywalker is just another Star Wars movie with ample spectacle, but it is not unlike anything they have ever seen. 

To that end, it is a serviceable movie, with a workmanlike approach to try to tie up loose ends while attempting to draw us deeper into the franchise’s mythology.  It doesn’t quite achieve the latter in a fascinating way—it’s more of the same old, same old. 

If the GPS signal was allegedly lost in The Last Jedi (2017), so-called caused by Rian Johnson’s ‘creative meddling’, J.J. Abrams’ is literally on autopilot. 

“We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.”

And because Abrams is more interested in plotting the safest route out of the metaphorical asteroid field, he doesn’t show much care for his characters. 

They just happen to be on the same journey marked by light and darkness. As such, there is barely sufficient characterisation to make us feel anything for the ragtag group of protagonists. 

Their pains and joys ring hollow to me; the likes of Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren don’t seem integral to the grander narrative in retrospect—perhaps the most charitable you could say is that they are useful but not indispensable addendums. 

As a Star Wars fan, The Rise of Skywalker is, for better or worse, a familiar ride—it gets you to where you want to go, but not necessarily giving you a strong reason to be there. 

Grade: C+




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