Director: J.J. Abrams
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Rated: PG-13 (For sci-fi violence and action)
What I should now mention is that these are some thoughts I had about the film long after it had finished. While watching the movie itself there were few of these thoughts, as Abrams had delivered a film that was fun, exciting, and quiescently 'Star Wars.' If I were describing this film in a conventional Hollywood way, I might use a modified classic line and say "this movie is a total cop out...but it's a very good total cop out." Yes, as someone who was starry eyed about the previous film and all the possibilities the future of the franchise held, I can admit to being disappointed in the direction 'The Ride of Skywalker' took while simultaneously having a good time. I've seen enough movies where good battles evil, and the only hope everyone has is to destroy this one piece of equipment that controls the entire army fleet (amazing how no one in this series [but the droids] seems to be aware of backup data and how useful it can be).
Yet this type of formula persists throughout the decades because it's simply a lot of fun. It speaks to kids and the kid in adults, and we watch with hope and excitement because the idea of the good guys taking down the bad guys is almost never boring. Had this been its own thing, it might have scored a little higher on the star grade. The problem is, it IS the final act of a trilogy! It is not as much fun as 'The Force Awakens' was, and on an intellectual level it feels like it was written by underpaid chimps in comparison to the nuanced brilliance of 'The Last Jedi.' It is fun though. It has dramatic moments. A lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren on top of a near sunken Death Star has no deep meaning behind it, but it is pure eye candy and a thrill to watch. For that matter, most of the characters are fairly pedestrian and have just enough character development to keep things moving.
When the dust settles and the world is looking at these films years down the road, I suspect "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" is going to be frowned upon as the movie that brought a franchise that was on the verge of being given a new voice (and, by extension, a new life) and dragged it squarely back into the safety zone, where the status quo is embraced and unchallenged. It seems like such a tragic turn of events after "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" showed that this franchise still had bold, new things to say about human nature (all while delivering one of the best action climax's of the decade). Is 'The Rise of Skywalker' boring though? Is there no fun to be had? No, of course not. It's a very entertaining film at times. Poor writing aside, it's something I can easily see being watched just because it's an enjoyable romp. That gives it just enough of an edge that I can confidently recommend you watch it (I just can't confidently say your life will be any better if you do).
Parents, there is the usual amount of violence you would find in a 'Star Wars' film. There is some mild language added for strong effect, but no sexual content. Recommended for ages 11 and up.