Friday, December 20, 2019

Movie with Abe: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Released December 20, 2019

There’s arguably no franchise as famous as Star Wars. The first film earned an Oscar Best Picture nomination in 1977 and universal acclaim. Two sequels followed that were equally well-received, before a triumphant restored release of all three two decades later. Three prequels from 1999 to 2005 proved divisive and remain generally reviled, and a new trilogy of sequels, begun four years ago, has now reached what is supposed to be its final chapter. Standalone films, TV spinoffs, and fan desire for more will surely prevent that from being true, but the official ninth episode still marks an important turning - and concluding point - in this particular story.

As the First Order continues to exert power over helpless planets, an old evil emerges in the form of a seemingly undead Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who commands Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to find and kill Rey (Daisy Ridley). Determined to stop the First Order from building an invincible fleet capable of forcing the entire galaxy into submission, Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) make one last stand for the rebellion with the help of old friends and new allies.

There’s an unbelievable amount of expectation that comes with this film, with this latest trilogy delivering its entries two years apart rather than the traditional three. Some fans were unhappy with “The Last Jedi,” and, like episode three, “Revenge of the Sith,” this closer offers the opportunity to right any wrongs and set the series on the right course. This film certainly ups the stakes in terms of unlikely victory for the rebels and the Force at the hands of the First Order and the Sith, respectively. Yet it’s all too expected that they’ll ultimately triumph, and it either feels like there’s absolutely no hope or altogether too much to be found.

What does work well here is the continued entertainment value of the main characters, particularly Poe as an obvious heir to Han Solo’s legacy as a skilled pilot and smuggler known for pissing off just about anyone he’s ever met. C-3P0 is especially funny in this installment, representative of an old guard that still feels relevant. The visual effects, while still compelling, don’t feel quite as vivid or formidable, like this film itself. It still manages to be enthralling and exciting at times, but it doesn’t manage to reach the level of glorious, satisfying conclusion that it should be.


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