So it’s finally here! The finale to the Skywalker saga, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker released today and you can bet your sweet tuckus that I was there for the midnight screening. Having pre-booked my ticket way back in October, I was ready. Let me start by saying, I wasn’t disappointed!

“I’m just saying a potted plant would really spruce up the place…”

As the title suggests I’ll do my best to keep this as spoiler free as I can for you, but if you’re trying your best to keep yourself completely in the dark, then maybe stop reading right about now!

Now what does episode 9 do that it’s predecessor failed to, The Last Jedi divided opinion amongst fans, some like myself loved it, but others had nothing but bile in their throats over things like The Bombing run, Snoke’s speedy death and Rose Tico. Rise of Skywalker tries off the bat to heal a few of these wounds that The Last Jedi apparently inflicted on the fans, with many answers to hanging questions picked up immediately. In fact it almost gets to the point of too much, I honestly felt like the first hour of the film was tugging at a million plot threads seeing which one could get the biggest reaction, all the while asking you to suspend your disbelief a little too much about the location coincidences of many of the main cast. Characters separated by many parsecs are brought together instantly whenever the plot requires it. This might not be anything too new for the series but it’s so obvious in this film that it almost borders on the annoying.

How does a man look this much like a wet spaniel and still seem scary…

Of course the biggest draw of the franchise is always the mysterious lore and there is no shortage of that in this latest instalment. Most of the questions bubbling away in your brain from the old films will be answered but with several more added on top. This is no concern to the true Star Wars fan who will now revel in the chance to pick up a few new comics and books to expand their knowledge!

There are some truly stunning action set pieces throughout the film with what I’d call one of the greatest lightsaber  battles seen since the Obi-Wan and Anakin duel on Mustafar! And yet more impressive moments with fighters and cruisers, though really ROS leans more heavily on the action planet side, similar to the final film of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi and its excellent action set on Tatooine and Endor. These boots on the ground moments give us even more glorious sets to examine with some new worlds really blowing me away. There was one scene in particular that gave me a strong Cantina vibe and really isn’t that what we all love about Star Wars? The variety of life!

When you want to wear a helmet but still really want a ponytail.

This has been a strange review since I can’t really talk about anything I saw without spoiling anything; the story kicks into gear immediately so you’ll just have to see that for yourself, what I can say though is that the cast once again bring the story to life, with top prize going to Adam Driver for once again giving us the conflicted yet rage filled Kylo Ren that we have grown to both love and despise. Of course Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac bring a warmth and joviality like they always have and now that the three actually share screen time together we get to really enjoy them bouncing off one and other. I really felt that that was missing from the first 2 films of this sequel trilogy, since a key part of the original films was the bonds between leads, Han, Luke and Leia. Though now, finally we get to see the three together and every time we do the chemistry is excellent! A special shout out must go to C-3PO star Anthony Daniels too, the butler like droid has normally just been a comic foil to plucky droid R2D2 but here we get to watch the golden plated lad bring it alone with the main cast and it produces some of the funniest and most heart-warming parts of this epic entry, a fantastic show by a man who’s been a perfect casting for 42 years!

This is how it looked when you asked your mum if your friends can come over to play.

With the Skywalker saga now concluded, I can honestly say that this film easily makes it into my top 5 of the entire franchise, and may even crack top 3 once I finish my second viewing! If The Last Jedi put you off, then I implore you to take yourself out to the cinema now and still give this gem a chance, since even Respawning’s own Alexx (a well-known Rian Johnson hater) has said this film has repaired all the damage done previously!

I give Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker:

8.0 / 10

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