2019’s Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker saw J.J. Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio ditch many of Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s more controversial aspects and deliver something which felt more like Star Wars. They put the focus back on lightsaber fights, space battles and rip-roaring adventure. Yes, it’s a little over-stuffed and there’s enough going on to fill two films, but this delivers in a big, big way.
It’s great to see Rey, Finn and Poe finally creating the trifecta of friends which mirrors that of Han, Luke and Leia and the trio share an easy chemistry between the set pieces. However, its Adam Driver who delivers the best work, as the man still trying to decide if he’s really Kylo Ren or Ben Solo. He’s got a lot to work with on both a dramatic and physical level – this is what Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker should have been in Lucas’ prequel trilogy.
The younger actors are great, but it’s wonderful to see old faces return for one final time. Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker is now a sage Force Ghost delivering advice to Rey much like he received from Obi Wan Kenobi. Billy Dee Williams is back as everyone’s favourite smooth-talking scoundrel Lando Calrissian and seeing him again behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon is the thing of childhood dreams. The Rise Of Skywalker is also Carrie Fisher’s final performance as Leia and it’s a fitting send-off for the actress and her iconic character. The performance may be created from editing room cast-offs, but it never feels that way. There’s a reverence in the way that Abrams has crafted Fisher’s character and performance and it feels organic to the movie and its plot.
Budgeted at $275 million, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker grossed $515 million at the US box office and over $1 billion globally.