A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (12A, 142 MINUTES)

They say a good story never dies. Whether that works with J.J. Abram’s conclusion to the legendary space opera is debatable to say the least.

In the wake of Luke Skywalker’s mystical death, Jedi trainee Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her resistance pals, Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) are still battling against the fascist regime of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. But hidden in the shadows, in the darkest regions of the galaxy, the villainous Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has drawn plans against his foes and prophesises the total domination of the galaxy.

Credit is due where it’s due. Abram’s has returned to a trilogy of films after directing the opener to critical acclaim, leaving the second film (or eighth, as the devout fans will be quick to correct me) to Rian Johnson – who recently did a grand job with Knives Out, and now returning for the closing chapter.

But his return to this overwhelmingly complex universe brings problems. Whilst many panned the previous film, I for one found it particularly impressive and a brilliant kick start for further instalments that dare to take risks away from religiously padlocked canon.

Unfortunately for The Rise of Skywalker, that’s simply not the case.

There are many problems, but I’ll get to the point. First up is the script and its pacing – blink and you’ll miss something. It’s nauseating. If you’re up for some rip-roaring action, high speed chases through deserts and a few light sabre battles then this is the film for you.

But if you’re seeking a deeper sense of closure to the franchise’s many questions, you’re better off going to see gyrating cat-people throwing moves on the cobbles and having a sing song about memories.

This film is more fragile than a china teapot. All the anticipation turns to despair and disappointment very quickly and it’s safe to say the dialogue is what makes it crack.

Off the back from watching spin-off The Mandalorian, it’s clear that George Lucas’ baby can reach brilliant heights and be developed in spectacular ways if creative control is given to the right people. But the script for Rise of Skywalker is rushed and somewhat lazy.

I hate to say it, but it feels like an easy cop out.

In some places, line delivery looks painful. It’s a huge shame given it’s a very talented, diverse cast, but no one has the opportunity to express their ability at the spectacular level they’re obviously capable of and as exciting it may well be to hear the cackling, broken voice of Palpatine echoing through the room, it must be said his return is extremely reminiscent of another much loved villain on the smaller screen.

I’ll let you be the judge of who that may be. Only one moment managed to grab me, and within the following five minutes I was released. It’s not a great look, nor is it an exciting feeling.

Astonishingly disappointing.

RATING: 3/10

  • Will Ferris is a screenwriter and director
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