Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: DVD Review
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams
Director: JJ Abrams
That the latest Star Wars can't be all things to all fans and non-fans is - and should be - no surprise to any.
But director JJ Abrams has tried his best to neatly tie all the loose ends started with The Force Awakens, reset some decisions from The Last Jedi and provide closure after some 42 years to a saga which started a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
This time around, Poe (Isaac) and the rest of the Resistance find a new threat - the oldest one around - lurking in a hidden corner. With the possibility of the Final Order arising once and for all, and with an old nemesis pulling the strings, it's one last desperate push for the Rebellion to try and save the day.
But elsewhere, Rey (Ridley, shouldering a lot of the story, and doing so admirably after so much unnecessary criticism was fired her way) has to put the final pieces together to complete her Jedi journey and the mystery of her lineage.
The film starts with a breakneck pace, smashing out plot and exposition at greater than light speed levels before settling into a more relaxed mode. However, the stop/start nature of the start of The Rise Of Skywalker means the choppiness takes a little to get into.
Once it does though, the wave of nostalgia sweeps over, as Abrams brings back the past and swathes it in what you'd want for the grand finale. Evcn if it doesn't stick a landing 42 years in the making.
There are some impressive battle sequences, some patented moments of deliberate fan service and some elements of Abrams' MacGuffins and nonsense babble to service the plot where it's needed.
And while moments like the digital insertion of the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa seem awkward and stilted, in truth they're there as a series of generic pieces of dialogue to service a plot and be retrofitted to help with an at times exposition-heavy plot.
There are confused moments in the story which ground The Rise of Skywalker in ways which should not have been - but for every one of those (of which there are sadly many) there are equally as many moments of joy, from the return of Billy Dee Williams' Lando to the crescendo of John Williams' iconic score. (Though depressingly Keri Russell is sidelined and Kelly Marie Tran gets a disgraceful short shrift here).
While the Force may not be narratively as strong with this closing chapter as we'd all hoped, it's pointless to waver on the resistance.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may not offer all the answers, and may worryingly leave a lot for other filmmakers to rhapsodise on (either on the big or small screen), as well as landing somewhere in the middle of expectation and delivery - but it does prove an entertainment force to be reckoned with - like it or not given how apathetic you may be to the ending.