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Movie Review: Star Wars IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019) *Very Mild Spoilers*

Star Wars IX - The Rise of Skywalker.
After Star Wars VIII - The Last Jedi my enthusiasm for the new trilogy wasn't in a great place. Director, Rian Johnson, did make a fairly good movie but his efforts to subvert expectations by almost completely trivializing (or ignoring) most of the interesting hooks from The Force Awakens, meant that J. J. Abrams needed to make up for a lot of missing story for Star Wars IX - The Rise of Skywalker.

The Rise of Skywalker is the final installment of the Skywalker saga that includes nine films, though technically it really only concludes the stories of Rey and Ben Solo that began with The Force Awakens.

If you saw the trailers then there are few surprises to be had here in terms of the story. Rey and Kylo Ren are on a collision course that eventually leads to the return of Emperor Palpatine (thanks to Rian who turned Snoke, a potentially interesting villain, into nothing noteworthy) who for some reason needs Rey in order to make himself even more powerful than probably the most powerful Sith Lord he already is bar none.

As a movie it's fine. If you just want a great adventure where the main characters have to find a thing that leads to a thing where they can confront the big bad guy at the end, all the while being hampered by lesser bad guys along the way... you'll get all that, with Easter eggs and nostalgia.

If story that gets you invested in characters matters to you then this is going to fall short. The further you get into this the more you'll realise so much of what is happening could have been much more satisfying if it had been set up better and/or explored more in the second film.

For example, Emperor Palpatine is just back. With a bit of retro fitting exposition he's apparently been there all along but how much better would it have been if the second film had been building, not so much to his return, but to the moment Rey and Kylo have to confront him (not really a spoiler, as soon as you knew the Emperor was in this, it was inevitable Rey and Kylo would face him).

What I ended up getting from this movie is wishing that J. J. had directed all three films in the trilogy so he could have told the story he set up in The Force Awakens. Rian's movie is kind of a stand alone story that J. J. mostly ignores except for the few places where he can't (much like Rian mostly ignored things from The Force Awakens that should have been fleshed out in his film but were not).

Despite that, The Rise of Skywalker is still an enjoyable Star Wars adventure that brings quite a few cool new visuals, and has a lot of fun along the way to its final conclusion.

This may not be the end of the Skywalker Saga (I mean the clue is in the title) but hopefully it's an end to so much focus of Star Wars movies being on one family. I kind of like the smaller side story films like Rogue One and Solo. I particularly would like to see the continuing story they were setting up in Solo but, unfortunately that doesn't seem likely with the reception that film got.

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