They Fly Now? Our 99.9% Spoiler-Free Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Review

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It’s all riding on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the finale in the nine-movie saga that so many sci-fi fans grew up with. Will Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac collude with director J.J. Abrams to ruin all of our collective childhoods? Will the story that George Lucas began telling back in 1977 get a fitting end? Will Baby Yoda make an appearance? We’re here to tell you that the answer to all of these questions is… no.

There’s a lot of great stuff in The Rise of Skywalker, including unexpected plot twists and turns that we won’t tell you about here. But there’s a lot of subpar stuff, too—nods and cameos that feel forced and awkwardly wedged in (look, we love Ewoks as much as anyone, but there’s just no reason for a three-second visit to Endor).

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What the film gets right is the way in which it develops and brings to a conclusion the relationship between the Force and its Dark Side—represented in the movie by Ridley’s Rey and Driver’s Kylo Ren. The shifting, uneasy bond between the two remains as fascinating as it was in the previous films, and the way their relationship to one another plays out does both characters an equal justice. Similarly, Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa also gets her due, playing a pivotal role in the resolution of one of the saga’s key conflicts.

Still, frustrating elements continue to pile up over the course of the film. Some of the cuts feel strangely offbeat and haphazard. The insistence on including cutesy characters seems multiplied to the point where we were genuinely expecting a Baby Yoda cameo (that blessedly never came). With a franchise as big as Star Wars, it’s obvious that fan service is going to be a thing, but it was a thing done clumsily and at the expense of the movie’s core story line.

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On the upside, questions are at long last answered in ways fans might not expect, epic space battles are fought, one-liners land well, and BB-8 remains one of the most adorable droids we’ve ever encountered.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hyperjumps into theatres this Thursday, December 19. Check out the trailer below.