Plot in a nutshell
Sometime after the events of The Last Jedi, the Resistance are still battling the First Order and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training to be a Jedi under the watchful eye of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), meanwhile a terrifying message is detected coming out of the depths of space – the evil Emperor Palpatine is alive and threatening to destroy all who oppose him – its now a race against time to find his whereabouts before he can unleash a vast armada of planet killing ships and bring about the return of the Sith.
In my view – a lot.
To begin with the story is superb, a rollicking good old fashioned space adventure, spanning lots of different locations, throwing in various McGuffins with some really interesting twists and unexpected turns.
As always with Star Wars, the action scenes deliver in spades, light sabre duels, blaster fights, space battles and endless escapism which had me whooping for joy.
Once again, the acting is also excellent – Adam Driver as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is extremely good and has now become one of the film industry’s most talented actors working today.
I also have to say that Daisy Ridley was brilliant as Rey, effortlessly showing how she has come on leaps and bounds from her rather wide eyed performance in The Force Awakens, the girl absolutely gives it her all here and along with Adam Driver totally anchors the whole film. The ever charismatic Oscar Isaac is great as Poe Dameron, even managing to channel his inner Han Solo with some cheeky one liners and knowing smirks. Finally there is the return of the magnificent Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine -the stuff of nightmares, seriously evil, and completely beyond redemption – the guy owns this role so completely that when he’s on screen you just cant take your eyes off him – to say he is incredible in this role would be the understatement of the millennium.
What could have been better?
Despite how good the plot was I have to say that it was at times a bit too densely packed and there were some ‘Basil Exposition’ moments that caused me to roll my eyes on several occasions.
The whole thing also seemed somewhat too focussed on Poe, Rey and Kylo which meant that some characters remained underdeveloped or didn’t get enough screen time – for example Billy Dee Williams comes back as Lando Calrissian but isn’t nearly in the film enough, then there is the excellent Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico who finds herself side-lined here in an almost afterthought of an appearance – a decision which seemed to be paying lip service to the hammering she had off the idiotic troll fanboys for The Last Jedi. Lastly, even though he’s on screen for most of the film, John Boyega as Finn isn’t really allowed to shine much at all and is very overshadowed by Ridley, Driver and Isaac – which is a shame as he is a great actor and was very central to the plots of the last two films.
Very well directed by JJ Abrams, winning performances from Ridley, Driver, Isaac and McDiarmid , cracking action, lots of throwbacks to the original trilogy and an interesting plot with lots of unexpected twists and reveals -Rise Of Skywalker is a fantastic thrill ride that had me completely fixated for its nearly 140 minute running time, yes there are flaws, but to be honest I was so caught up in the whole thing that it really didn’t matter. Wonderful stuff, I loved it.
As the Skywalker story comes to a close I thought id share with you some of my thoughts on this incredible film franchise. As most who know me (long suffering girlfriend, long suffering family, the eternally exasperated Phil Hobden etc) will be aware that I have been a dedicated Star Wars fan for nigh on 42 years. For me its always been about the films themselves, I’ve never cared for the expanded universe, the books, the games etc plus I really don’t take any notice of the highbrow critics or rabidly moronic fanboys who still cant see what Star Wars is all about.
For me Star Wars is simply a wonderful fairy story -one based on all the classic tales our parents read us when we were little – theres a castle, a hero, a princess, a wise old wizard and a man dressed in black –and that’s all a fairy story needs to be.
Star Wars represents everything incredible in this world and in life itself- the ability to rise above your standing, that mastering a skill isn’t ever easy and takes lots of hard work, that failure is the best lesson of all because it teaches us to always try harder, that those who are older and wiser are in fact pretty much right about everything (even if they are 900 years old) that heroes can be flawed, villains can be redeemed and most important of all – good will always triumph over evil.
Thankyou George Lucas and may the force be with you – always.
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