Action! Of course, there’s action in a Star Wars movie but in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker the action is plentiful without ever bogging down. The kinetic action to standing around talking ratio is high. The pacing is swift, allowing many things to happen in the two hours and fifteen minutes between John Williams’s famous opening fanfare and the start of the end credits.
The anticipated faceoff between the good guy (woman) Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is complicated by the return of the baddest of the bad Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).
Rey is the brightest light in the galaxy. She’s fierce. She’s smart. She can levitate. Her swordplay (well, light saber play) is skillful. She flies and flips in ways that recall the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She can communicate telepathically. And, although she does not flaunt her sexuality, it’s obvious that pilots Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) have their eyes on her.
Considering that The Rise Of Skywalker is said to be the conclusion of the nine Star Wars episodes George Lucas originally envisioned, it’s appropriate that this film includes a good amount of “fan service.” That’s a term from the anime community that refers to elements of a movie or book which may not be vital to the narrative but might provide a thrill or two to viewers or readers. In the anime world, fan service is often racy or suggestive, but in SW:TROS it is mainly nods to prior Star Wars films.
Not mere fan service but a major presence in the film is Lando Calrissian, played by 82-year-old Billy Dee Williams who appears to be having a blast in the role.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker hits all the right notes and should make fans of the series quite happy. That includes those of us who saw the first film 42-and-a-half years ago as well as relative newcomers who are just now catching up.
It is, however, hard to believe that Disney and Lucasfilms will, after establishing Rey as a major player in the Star Wars universe, abandon the character and move on to totally different Star Wars scenarios. Especially after the success of strong females in the Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies—and with a Black Widow movie coming in just over four months—it’s easy to imagine a Rey-centered feature popping up a few years down the road. Quoting a James Bond title, “Never say ‘never again.’”
Tread carefully as you bound about the interwebs during the next few days, keeping a careful eye out for spoilers and leaks about this film. Even the best reviewers sometimes share vague hints which, when churned through the mind of a series fan, can lead to conclusions that are often accurate. If you don’t want to know what happens in the movie, stay off Twitter and Facebook.