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Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Brings the Legend to a Thrilling End

December 18, 2019Ben MK

Forty-two years ago, moviegoers were introduced to a soon-to-be Jedi Knight named Luke Skywalker, whose adventures in a galaxy far, far away would give rise to not one, but three trilogies centering on the stories of the Skywalker clan. Now, that saga has come to its highly anticipated and action-packed conclusion — but will fans be satisfied by how it all ends?

Picking up after the events of Rian Johnson's polarizing The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker finds J.J. Abrams returning to the director's chair and finds our characters troubled by a great disturbance in the Force. The evil Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), long thought to have perished at the Battle of Endor, has resurfaced to announce his revenge and to make known his plans for conquering the galaxy — and with the resurgence of this old foe comes a terrifying new threat with the potential of wiping out planets en masse.

In an attempt to stop Palpatine before he can set this deadly plot into motion, our heroes — Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and BB-8 — set off on a journey across the stars, visiting a variety of new worlds as they search for one of two ancient relics that will aid them on their mission. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), motivated by his fear of being dethroned as the Supreme Leader of the First Order, has embarked on his own mad quest to locate Palpatine. Little do any of them realize, however, that they're all just playing into the Sith Lord's hands

Creating the final chapter of a saga so epic that it spans nine films is by no means an easy task, and in that respect what Abrams and company have achieved here is certainly worth commending. Though at times too briskly paced and overly concerned with introducing new characters, fleshing out backstories and resolving dangling narrative threads, this is a final installment that's nothing short of thrilling. The only problem is that, even with its lengthy running time, the movie feels so densely populated with pivotal events and universe-shattering revelations that it doesn't give audiences the necessary breathing room to truly absorb the impact of the story as it unfolds.

Make no mistake, however. Despite its shortcomings, the result is far from a disappointment. After all, this new Star Wars trilogy is one that has been built on fans' nostalgia for George Lucas' original vision — and if there's one thing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has in spades, it's a reverence for the classic trilogy and a desire to give these beloved characters the legacy they deserve.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases December 19th, 2019 from Walt Disney Studios Canada. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 21 min.

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