Image from Disney/Lucasfilm

The final chapter of the Skywalker Saga is upon us. STAR WARS EPISODE IX is in theaters now, and every angle, perspective, and opinion under the sun about it is bombarding the internet. Some hate the film, some love it, some are enraged at Disney’s supposed “failure” and “mishandling” of the franchise, and others have bittersweet feelings, seeing the final chapter come to a satisfying close. All that being said, here’s a balanced, positive, and measured review on STAR WARS EPISODE IX: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.

A Culmination Of 42 Years

Star Wars is a story a vast majority of people deeply care about, myself included. It’s a cross-generational series of films spanning 42 years, becoming a large pop culture piece of iconic Americana. Attempting to end that saga, (the main films focused on the Skywalkers), is a tall order and one that director J.J Abrams is brave to tackle in the first place on Disney’s behalf.

Furthermore, there’s a lot of obstacles getting in the way for success, such as the reception to prior films, fan expectation, and the desire for commercial success on Disney’s part. So, how does EPISODE IX measure up now that it’s out there?

The Scope of EPISODE IX Is Grand

THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is a massive undertaking. It has no time to stop and take a breather. Every moment is huge, big, and important. Which in my opinion is not a bad thing, considering the scale of what’s trying to be concluded. The Resistance is doing everything they can to avoid destruction from the First Order. Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is determined to consolidate his power. Rey continues to train as a Jedi with fierce determination. A looming threat from wars past has returned, forcing both the Resistance and First Order to respond.

Image from Disney/Lucasfilm

EPISODE IX has a scope that is large. It has to be in order to deliver everything it’s trying to deliver: A satisfying end, answers to several questions, development for several characters, all while trying to retain everything that makes STAR WARS what it is. Thankfully, EPISODE IX largely succeeds with a lot of said delivery, providing a lot of service to fans, all while crafting an ending that is meaningful in multiple ways and honors the eight films that proceed it.

Hard to Dive Deeper in EPISODE IX

With such a large scope, it’s hard to focus in on elements that seem to deserve more time than was given. Without giving away any spoilers, it’s definitely a film that has more than a few of these moments. It feels like a natural consequence of such a big film with such big goals. Audiences will leave EPISODE IX having questions, many of them in reference to some of these scenes that were unable to be explored more. However, that’s the great thing about the STAR WARS universe. For every answer, another question appears and thankfully there’s enough content to flesh out the universe whether it be from new films, series, book, comics, or games. You just have to be willing to explore them.

Redemption of LAST JEDI Elements

EPISODE IX certainly improves upon many of the previous film’s (THE LAST JEDI) more divisive elements. Several key points of controversy from that film come around to be redemptive moments in RISE OF SKYWALKER. It’s hard to say, however, if those points of redemption were part of the planned story from the beginning, or if they were in response to the controversy post-LAST JEDI and serve as a course correction/damage control. I’m inclined to believe it’s a mix of the two depending on the specific moment.

An Epic Conclusion of A Wonderful Saga

In the end, STAR WARS EPISODE IX isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close. It very much satisfies and fulfills the expectations and goals it had: to end the Skywalker Saga and honor the eight films that came before it. It has high action, holds satisfying conclusions for characters’ arc, and also provides new angles as well. The best way to describe it is as an epic end. An epic end to the epic that is STAR WARS and the Skywalker Saga.

Image from Disney/Lucasfilm

While I loved EPISODE IX as a personal STAR WARS fan, I am also saddened that it is the end of the Saga. Also, while I don’t fault the film’s large scope and not being able provide more in-depth context, I do still want to see that context somehow. I can only hope more will be revealed as time goes on. For now, I will be making multiple trips to see this epic end over and over again.

What did you think of EPISODE IX? Let us know in the comments below!



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