- "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" tries so desperately to service the fan base that it loses sight of the story it's telling.
- The movie often feels forced and has way too many hat tips to the franchise.
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J.J. Abrams helmed the return of the "Star Wars" saga with "The Force Awakens" in 2015 and mixed a new chapter with the nostalgia to deliver a movie that was loved by the fan base.
Boy, what a difference four years makes.
Abrams returns to close out things with "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" (in theaters Friday) and clearly tries to pull off the magic trick twice. But this time it feels forced, unnecessary, and in some instances boring.
The first half of the movie, which brings Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) together to track down the planet that Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has been hiding out in (since "Return of the Jedi") and finally end the Sith, just isn't interesting. It feels like filler to get to the second half of the movie.
It seems there was a strong idea of how to end the Skywalker saga, but they needed to fill in an hour before getting there.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) discovers the existence of Palpatine before the Resistance does, and he is given an important piece of information: the identity of Rey's parents (it turns out he knew only one part of the answer in "The Last Jedi"). So, while Rey and the gang are trying to figure out where Palpatine is, Ren gets his mask put back together and goes out to find Rey with Palpatine's army.
Yeah, it's really confusing and, worse, lame.need
It's clear with just the pacing of the movie that Lucasfilm/Disney did not want another "The Last Jedi," where Rian Johnson slowed things down and let it all breathe. "The Rise of Skywalker" is as quick as the Millennium Falcon. There is no time for you to catch your breath or for the actors to give anything in the scenes. It's basically, how many things can we do in how many locations?
And the movie goes overboard with nostalgic hat tips. Some feel necessary, but for the most part it's a shock to the senses. It will make even the most dedicated "Star Wars" fan say, "Enough!"
Because so much is packed in, there is little for the new characters - and some of the existing ones - to do. Thankfully, Leia (Carrie Fisher) gets a nice send-off, but there is one highly CGI'd scene with her that will have some folks up in arms.
If there's one thing that will stay with me, it's Driver's performance as Ren. He's always the standout, but in this film he shows why he's an incredible talent. Honestly, the movie would be a disaster if it weren't for him.
Despite all of that, the movie is going to be a monster at the box office - at least for the opening. The question becomes what kind of legs it has. It most likely won't have the staying power of "The Force Awakens," but will it earn as much as "The Last Jedi"? We'll be watching.