SPOILER: I usually hate spoilers, those annoying little “And then this happened, and then that happened…” pecks that can bleed away any sense of mystery or wits that an audience brings with them in to see any film.
So, here’s a pretty spoiler-free review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Cert 12A, 142mins), not just my final film review of the year, but the grand finale of the decades-running Star Wars franchise.
It’s been quite a journey, all the way from those shots of a young Luke Sykwalker dreaming of adventure to this often spectacular finale, but all journeys end, even this one.
And, here, fans are given quite an ending to savour, with a finale that successfully ties up some longstanding loose ends and does a decent, not perfect, job of paying tribute to the spirit of the films.
The end result is a film that, as with its much criticised predecessor, is likely to divide fans as much as critics, but I suspect that this is a film that’s largely tied to the individual’s interest in Star Wars on the whole.
There’s an awful, awful lot to tie up here, with a dizzying range of locations and characters to wedge in across this dense, multi-layered film.
There’s almost too much plot to get through here – some sharper editing could have excised a number of sequences to tighten things up a bit – but still, at least you get your money’s worth.
Right at the start, I mentioned avoiding spoilers, but it’s hard to ignore a rather obvious one revealed by the trailers: a certain cackling Emperor Palpatine, long thought to be as dead as a parrot, proves to be a force to be reckoned with once again.
However, the film rests firmly on the shoulders of the two then unknowns who started off this trilogy, Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley.
While Driver’s star has since shot into the stratosphere through some canny film choices, both prove to be superb, charismatic leads here, while as Finn, John (Boyega) again excels.
Nothing ever ends, in Cinema; no doubt there are plenty of spin-off films, tv shows, and other tales and adventures in the Star Wars universe that we’ll see from here on.
Still, even though the final, fairly conclusive Star Wars film isn’t perfect, it’s much like the franchise that led to it: a true Force to be reckoned with…
- Verdict: 8/10