Movie Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

When I first saw the very poor reviews of the very last of the 9 Star Wars movies, the first one released 42 years ago – I originally thought that this could not be true. How could JJ Abrams, who both directed and co-wrote this last of the Star Wars movies, drop the ball and not spend enough time and resources to come up with a great story to end this greatest of all movie franchises? This could never happen. Impossible. Unfortunately, the critics are right and the failing grades on Rotten Tomatoes of only 57% are correct. The reason for this is the same reason for all blockbuster movies like this one that have spectacular special effects. All the money went to the computer graphics and the special effects and nothing was spent on coming up with one last final great story – like the first “Star Wars” or the second one, “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”.

The screenplay for this film, jumps from one battle, to another planet, to another scene, to another planet and then another scene, in many cases with no continuity and no connection, from one scene to the next. There is no way anybody can know what is really going on in this story and this problem also happened in the last Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, released in 2017. JJ Abrams shared the screenwriting credit with another writer, Chris Terrio  and it was almost as if they both wrote two different screenplays, had many different ideas and then they tried to pull it all together in the end. The task of writing the last Star Wars movie is enormous, perhaps the biggest in the history of movie production and for this reason, more time should have been taken for screenplay re-writes, to avoid ending this franchise with a very disappointing finale.  Not because of the special effects, but because of a bad story.

As far as this movie being the last one, my understanding is that there will be no more Star Wars movies, that involve the original characters and story, but there will be many more Star Wars movies, like the one released in 2016, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. The reason for this is that Disney paid so much money to George Lucas for the rights to Star Wars that, there is no way this will be the last time we will see a movie about Star Wars.

The cast for this last Star Wars film is very strong with appearances from the late Carrie Fisher, with the use of archive footage. Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill and the main characters for these last 3 movies, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Nobody can blame these actors for a bad script and they all acted well. I also suspect, when they all did their last group hug, for me the best part of this film, that they were all relieved that this chapter in their acting careers has come to an end.

Unfortunately, like most of the critics, I cannot recommend this movie, except for the most die hard Star Wars fans. There is a chance that the producers of this movie decided to make this the last of all Star Wars movies because they were worried that the critics would be so harsh that this film would bomb at the box office. Telling the world that this was the last in the franchise, might create the same box office hit as “Avengers End Game” that was released in April of this year. However, the difference with Avengers End Game is that that film had a good story and this one does not.

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