Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Weaponized nostalgia

The word around the galaxy is that this is the last of a trio of trilogies that started more than 40 years ago. Right.

Let’s cut to the space chase: your enjoyment of this ninth Star Wars flick will depend entirely on your fanboy quotient. 

The previous film, The Last Jedi, which I liked, had the temerity to veer off on a few new tangents, which the franchise’s traditionalist fanbase did not. So this Disney product is walking that back; kind of a course correction. 

It’s first-class, very expensive eye candy. JJ Abrams is nothing if not a crowd pleaser, but he’s more concerned with paying homage to the franchise’s past than moving forward to the future.

At heart, this is a busy, dismayingly safe checklist of loose ends that need to be tied off and a few lame attempts to recreate the magic of the 1977 original. It’s almost funny how hard it tries to spring that old “I am your father!” shocker again. Twice.

Bottom line, Abrams has been very careful to avoid offending the fans, but this comes at the expense of fresh storytelling, any joy or wonder, or any identity of its own. Should you see it? See second paragraph. (141 min)