PG Score: 5.75/10
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a disappointing conclusion to a stunning saga. It lacks the energy, engaging banter from beloved characters, and epic moments that made the better entries in the series so memorable. With J.J. Abrams at the helm, I was quite confident he would compose a worthy swan song for the space opera that spans generations. Unfortunately, he falls well short of the mark. RoS covers the final battle between the Resistance, led by Rey (Daisy Ridley), and the First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ridley is the strong point here once again and portrays a more powerful and mature Rey with ease. She is a natural playing the heroine and is a pleasure to watch on screen. Driver is a very talented actor, but unfortunately, Kylo Ren is still not all that interesting of a character. He still has many of his annoying, whiny tendencies from the previous films, albeit they’re more toned down this time around, thankfully. He’s still your cliché bad guy struggling with being pulled towards the good side. There isn’t all that much else there. He is very one-dimensional and that is a red flag for a main villain in any movie.
The rest of the familiar faces from the earlier films are back. Finn (John Boyega) and Po (Oscar Isaac) return to head up the supporting cast and both do an adequate job given the script they have to work with. They have a somewhat interesting dynamic in their constant butting of heads, despite usually wanting the same thing. The entire cast does a good job. The problem isn’t the performances, it’s what they have to work with. Most of the writing is pretty stale. It lacks the eloquence and humor of many of the other earlier films. The monologues are dry and a lot of the jokes flat out miss. The attempt at humor is weak overall and the signature banter the series is known for is nowhere to be found. The quality back and forth during tense battles we are used to is severely subpar in Rise of Skywalker. Much of what was clearly intended to be funny had me rolling my eyes, often in rapid succession.
Additionally, too frequently was I left confused as to why a character was saying what they’re saying or doing what they’re doing. It was downright nonsensical at times. The writing is also very slow in places and causes some terribly noticeable pacing issues. It grinds momentum to a halt and crosses into the realm of boring. The decision-making behind the scenes is mind-boggling and frustrating. For all of the negatives, there are occasional moments of bliss in Rise of Skywalker. A few of the set pieces are quite enjoyable and feature some solid space battles and lightsaber duels. Unfortunately, those sequences are few and far between. A lot of times, I’d be pulled in by an exciting battle only to be spat right back out by an incredibly dumb one-liner or painfully slow conversation. I was extremely excited for Rise of Skywalker. While it does have its share of small victories, they aren’t enough to prevent this from being by far the weakest link in the Star Wars chain.