Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

The Rise of Skywalker is the “final” instalment of the Star Wars Saga. George Lucas created a strong story about light and dark, good vs evil and had family relations put to the test. The Skywalker Saga has always been about lineage and how those who came before you, influence your power with the force.

Lineage, especially the Skywalker name, has been the central force in this franchise. From Anakin, to Luke and Leia and now Ben Solo/Skywalker. It’s an important name, it’s a name that is known by everyone, even if you’ve never watched a Star Wars film in your life, you know their story.

This is the first Star Wars trilogy where I actually cared about the storyline, well one person’s storyline in particular, Kylo Ren. Being the son of a Solo and a Skywalker and still turning to the dark side, is a character arc that can be played with. I waited for the impact Ben Solo/Skywalker could make on the Skywalker legacy and I’m still waiting.

The first half of this film was visually stunning, had wonderful banter between Poe, Rey and Finn, was fast paced and perfectly choreographed. Everything I have grown to love about Star Wars was incorporated in the first half. Then towards the middle, when we find out about Rey’s past, the story became weak and the entire franchise seemed to waste away. The powerful lineage, the deaths that came before, the power of the Skywalker name, were wasted by the end of this film.

The nostalgia, banter and force ghosts/voices couldn’t save the story that I had been so interested in, since we first found out that Rey and Ben were linked. Then we heard the words “balance, the light and the dark” in The Last Jedi and that lead to the idea that Rey and Ben were that balance, since they were tethered together. It wasn’t hard to carry on what Rian Johnson delivered in TLJ, Abrams and Terrio just didn’t want to go that route and the back-peddling was evident.

4 decades worth of Skywalker’s and this is how the name will live on forever? I can’t seem to stomach it. Due to the impact of the lineage and who holds the Skywalker name at the end of this, just doesn’t sit well with me.

Ad Astra Review

First and foremost, Ad Astra is the most visually stunning film I’ve seen all year. Space is such an extraordinary imaginative area for filmmakers and James Gray delivered on all fronts. 

This story was very simple and the heart of the film was the father-son relationship. Not only was this a space film, it had an in depth analysis about how children are affected but their parents actions. It posed questions about the universe, life, human psychology and mental illnesses. The story is linear but the dialogue was rich in the development of these ideas. Brad Pitt gave a very subtle and powerful performance as Roy McBride and at times he brought me to tears. There was this overwhelming sense that he was in pain and he delivered it beautifully. 

What I absolutely loved about this film was the attention to detail and the inventive content about space exploration in the near future. I have never seen a film actually develop different textures of sediments on each of these planets. The lighting and sound design accompanied each planet differently and it was incredible. 

If you love space, this is definitely a film that elevates that genre of filmmaking.