STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Review - An Intense and Thrilling Resolution to 4 Decades of Story

***This is a SPOILER-FREE review.***

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is here to conclude over 40 years of narrative story that has followed the Skywalker bloodline. Not only does it have to wrap up its own Trilogy, it needs to wrap up three different Trilogies of story. No easy task for anyone, but somehow, someway co-writer and director J.J. Abrams manages this feat with hyper-speed fast pacing and a storytelling narrative that leaves the viewer very few moments to relax within the confines of his two hour and 22 minute adventure. Seriously though, the pacing of this film is non-stop from the moment you finish reading the introductory crawl with gorgeous sets, action, Macguffin adventures, and surprise fan service from Star Wars canon.

The story of Kylo Ren, Rey, Poe, Finn, and Leia is at the forefront of this movie with Emperor Palpatine's return acting as the cherry on top. These characters are the main focus of this film — sorry Lando, who is really just a glorified cameo — and these characters are able to shine throughout. C-3PO is a standout standing by the side of our heroes by bringing a few real laughs with him.

Newer characters like Zori Bliss, Jannah, and the Knights of Ren all look cool, but are more or less irrelevant, although I will give a quick shoutout to the new little droid D-O and the small Droidsmith Babu Frik, who are adorable in their respective, limited roles. Each of the new characters has their purpose in the story to help our main characters progress forward, but do not expect much from them as this conclusion to the Sequel Trilogy is in fact about Kylo, Rey, Poe, Finn, and Leia.

So let's talk about these main characters starting with Leia. Abrams should be applauded for what he was able to accomplish with Leia as he had to use old footage of her and integrate those scenes and lines she previously recorded for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS into THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. It was not as awkward as you may expect and fits into this story very well. It almost feels as if the late Carrie Fisher was in fact still with us to record these scenes. And her conclusion to her own story arc is very fitting and every Star Wars fan should be thrilled with it.

Poe and Finn get time together after having developed great rapport with each other in the beginning of THE FORCE AWAKENS, but then separated and apart all through most of THE LAST JEDI. There is a camaraderie between them that feels so natural and fun it is great to see they get to share some time again. We do get to learn something very interesting about Finn during the film that will be debated and theorized for a long time after the credits role. Poe, on the other hand, really let's his charisma lead the way and it will make you wish we could have gotten more of this charisma in previous films.

Kylo Ren and Rey are the feature here. This is their movie and the Sequel Trilogy is all about them so they soak up the majority of screen time in THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Kylo's still conflicted but on the hunt to find and destroy the newly revealed return of the Emperor. Rey has been continuing her Jedi training (and reading up in her ancient Jedi texts) while the Resistance has been rebuilding itself after the events of the last movie. Both Force-bonded wielders see plenty of adventure as well as plenty of lightsaber action, too. The most important thing about their respective endings is how hope remains in the end of all of this.

If you are looking for answers to the return of the Emperor, be prepared to be disappointed. His return is glossed over and not fleshed out well at all. However, this is the darker part of the film's narrative and it is very intriguing and visually fascinating to see how dark Abrams went to helm this plot point.

Questions are answered. Some questions you thought were answered by subversions in THE LAST JEDI are in fact subverted against what the last movie wanted you to believe, which will surely get Star Wars fans yelling at each other in online comment sections and forums across the Internet. Honestly, fans who really loved THE LAST JEDI more than any other Star Wars movie will probably dislike THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, but the fans who didn't enjoy THE LAST JEDI (like me) should really enjoy this final chapter to the Skywalker Saga. I hate to be the bearer of this bad news, but the divisive nature created by THE LAST JEDI will most likely continue albeit flipped over to rage from THE LAST JEDI fans now. At least there is continued hope to unify Star Wars fandom that lies with one small child who we all know as "Baby Yoda" right now.

Finally, it wouldn't be Star Wars if I didn't mention how beautifully the movie is shot and how fun the action put it simply, it is a wonderful Star Wars experience and I left the theater satisfied, overall. This is a movie that all Star Wars fans need to go see for themselves regardless of your opinion on the most recent film releases because this is your last chance to see such a big Star Wars event movie for several years until Lucasfilm figures out a new path for the movie side of this franchise.

So sit back in your theater seat and enjoy this ride.

Written by Daniel Wolf, Founder & Publisher