A Film Review by Tim Riley


STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER” (Rated PG-13) A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the “Star Wars” saga began on May 25, 1977, for the first installment in a trilogy that later became known as “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

Since then, unless one is a diehard fan heavily steeped in the trivia of the franchise, a scorecard of the three trilogies would come in handy to keep track of the important developments. Space doesn’t permit an exhaustive step-by-step rundown in just one article.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” turns out to be Episode IX, which is appropriately noted in the iconic crawl that opens each film. The crawl is revealing in other more significant ways that are better left to be experienced by the filmgoer.

I may not be alone in thinking Episodes I through III are not worth revisiting. Emblematic of miscues with this particular trilogy was the unserious character of Jar Jar Binks, an awkward swamp-dweller who was the punchline to a bad joke.

The Rise of Skywalker” falls into an improved trilogy that started with “The Force Awakens” and followed with “The Last Jedi,” Episode VIII. Granted, there were some problems with “The Last Jedi,” but we can rise above them, so to speak, with “The Rise of Skywalker.”

With the ninth installment, the primary characters are fully established as heroic figures to the delight of most of the fan base. A contrary view would suggest a complete lack of interest in the wonderful “Star Wars” universe.

Our rooting interest is found in the new vanguard of the Resistance, including Daisy Ridley’s Rey, a scavenger from a deserted planet training to be a Jedi; Oscar Isaac’s Poe, a brash fighter pilot; and John Boyega’s Finn, a former stormtrooper who defected to the good guys.

Just when you thought some of the villains are dead and gone, the first line of the opening crawl is “The dead speak!” In this case, it’s former Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who happens to be alive and planning a comeback that doesn’t bode well for the rebels.

While the Resistance has had its share of setbacks, to say the least, Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa, formerly known as the Princess who bantered and bickered with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), is still leading the band of rebels.


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