Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker - Is the Force strong in this final chapter?

It's the finale that was 42 years in the making.  Fans have been waiting to see how the Skywalker arc ends in the Star Wars universe and now they finally have their answers.  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is quickly taking the world by storm, but should it be?  I waited 24 hours to post my review so I could process what I saw and what I wanted to say.  In an effort to keep this post spoiler-free, I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the film by breaking down some questions you may have before you see it.

Do you have to be a serious Star Wars fan to enjoy this film?


Yes and no.  I'm gauging this answer the same way I look at Avengers: Endgame.  If the only experience you have with Star Wars are more recent films (like my husband - Episodes VII and VIII, Solo, and Rogue One are it for him), you can certainly see the movie and mostly follow along, but you want appreciate the entirety of the story.  I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that Palpatine factors into this film as his presence was felt in the trailers.  My husband, a Star Wars novice at best, would have no idea who he is and his importance in the Skywalker saga.

JJ Abrams definitely made this film for the fans - even including several fabulous cameos and easter eggs.  Knowing your Star Wars history will maximize your enjoyment of the film.  I'm not a diehard fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I've seen the entire Skywalker saga and was armed with all the knowledge I needed to see this movie.  I'll openly admit though that I probably missed some other nods to the Star Wars universe because I have not watched all of the other shows / stories so those of you that have a PhD in a galaxy far, far away will have a field day watching this!

Is this movie appropriate for my kids?


The film carries a PG-13 rating like some other Star Wars films.  Judge my parenting you may, but I have allowed my 7 year old to watch Episodes I - VIII in their entirety and there is nothing in this film that is more or less appropriate than any of the others.  Star Wars films mainly carry that rating due to the violence that is portrayed.  Most of this fighting in this film is again lightsaber battles, air fighting, and large explosions.

But just because I feel like my son COULD see this movie, I don't know that it means he SHOULD be seeing it in theaters.  I'm still torn on whether or not I'll take him to the movies over the winter break from school to see it.  This movie is very dark.  Read that as you will.  Dark scenes both from a lighting standpoint and a "heaviness" to them.  It's an emotional end to a powerful saga - keep that in mind.  Knowing my son too, he'd ask A LOT of questions during the movie because, while he's seen all of the Skywalker movies, he doesn't necessarily have the details memorized.  Seeing this in your home might be a better option for little ones. . .if you can keep them waiting that long!

Was the end everything it should be?


This is going to be a very personal question for Star Wars fans.  It's an end.  You will walk out of the movie feeling like the Skywalker story is complete.  But will it be what you wanted?  That depends on you.  Again, I think Abrams worked hard to create a movie that fans will appreciate.  I did feel like some of the pithy one-lines from characters were a bit forced.  Don't get me wrong, I like Rey, Finn, and Poe as much as the next fan. . .but they don't have the same chemistry that Luke, Leia, and Han had and at times it feels like filmmakers are trying to force that chemistry on screen.

You will walk away with strong feelings about Ren and Rey.  Both of these actors delivered powerful performances and I think this is Adam Driver's best Star Wars performance yet.  CGI Leia was a little weird for me in all honesty - just felt a little weird, but she needed to be there to end her story as well.   Notably absent was Rose who featured so prominently in Episode VIII.  She's there, but simply as a background character.  I really thought we'd see more of her.  And we also meet a few new faces as the final chapter comes to a close.

What happens with the Star Wars universe from here?


While the Skywalker story has come to a definitive end, there were several openings I noted during the movie where I can see more to develop.  I don't want to ruin any of the plot points for you so I'm not going to say much here, but keep an eye on Finn.  I don't think we've seen the last of him!

Overall, I think Episode IX will satisfy fans.  Will it astound you?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  As a fan of Star Wars, I walked away emotionally drained and very content with how the story ends.  I have a lot more I WANT to say about this film, but I'll write a spoiler post in a few days to unpack more of my thoughts after hopefully more of you have had the chance to see it.  Enjoy the final chapter and. . .may the Force be with you!



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