Critics’ Corner

Movie Review: The Rise of Skywalker

Madison Popovic, Senior, Editorial Director

Many Star Wars fans entered theaters with high hopes for the latest installment in the series. The Rise of Skywalker, directed by J.J. Abrams, had the audience captivated with action-packed scenes as Rey, who is training to become a Jedi, continued on her endeavor to bring back balance to the force and to define her identity through more knowledge about her parents. With the help of fighter pilot Poe Dameron and Finn, a former stormtrooper who had a turn of heart, Rey is seemingly unstoppable in her quest to strengthen the Rebellion against the Dark Side. The film does an amazing job at portraying how difficult it is for one to forge their own path, as well as the demonstration of an innate need to define oneself.

The film focuses on Rey’s inner conflict with identity as she still has yet to figure out who her parents were. Along the way, Han Solo and Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, attempts to persuade Rey into joining him in ruling the galaxy by offering valuable information about her parents. The audience is always on the edge of their seat, as many wonder about Rey and Ren’s relationship. Does Rey take Kylo Ren’s hand? Does their force bond become stronger? As the audience is left to grapple with these thoughts while watching the film, Rey is torn between right and wrong as she travels throughout the galaxy alongside her friends and droids. These aspects of the film are what make it relatable to the audience, as many people understand the plight of searching for who they are and picking between good and bad.

The presence of Princess Leia and Rey’s friends play an instrumental role in guiding Rey towards the good side of the force and away from the First Order. She continues to act as a mother figure when Rey seeks someone to turn to in this great time of trouble. Leia continues to be the leader of the Resistance as she plans for coming battles against her longtime foe Kylo. The presence of Poe and Finn act as a family that Rey never knew she would foster. The relationship between Leia and Rey and Rey and her friends grants the viewers an opportunity to connect with the film as Abrams cleverly portrays non-related family relationships.

Even though the film is amazing and entertaining, some believe otherwise. The previous film in the franchise was directed by Rian Johnson. J.J. Abrams and Johnson have contrasting directing styles which make the films different, a reason why the fan base is now split. However, it is imperative for fans to not watch the new movie with this in mind. An open minded attitude would allow viewers to enjoy it instead of comparing the two.

The characters and plot of The Rise of Skywalker bring the film to life as the trilogy comes to a close. The actors not only give an amazing performance, but also demonstrate conflicts that most people must face in their life. Even though Rey started out in the recent Star Wars films as someone who wanted to find her parents, this particular movie focuses on how her friends became her family, making the movie noteworthy and riveting.