With all the different elements, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the best of the sequels
With the Star Wars sequel trilogy now finished, it is the perfect time for us fans to look at the story’s constituent parts and determine their relative merits. For me, the sequel movie which rises to the top of the pack is without a doubt The Rise of Skywalker, a fantastic Star Wars story and a great movie in its own right. Here’s why The Rise of Skywalker is so great.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Action and Adventure
Star Wars movies have always been great at gripping and unique action scenes and whilst all the movies in the sequel trilogy have delivered in this respect, The Rise of Skywalker does it best.
From the epic chase scenes on Pasaana to the unforgettable duel between Ben Solo and the Knights of Ren, this movie constantly delivers high-octane and memorable action scenes. Because of this, there is not one boring beat in the movie as the viewer is always either reeling from an action set-piece or looking forward to a new one.
Whilst some have levied the criticism at The Rise of Skywalker that it is too action-packed, I would resist this criticism. Star Wars has always been jam-packed and over-the-top (just look at the finale of Return of the Jedi!) and, in doing so, hearkens back to the fantasy adventure-flicks of the ’50s such as Flash Gordon.
When watching Poe hyperspace-skip through space or the gang break onto Ren’s star destroyer, The Steadfast, one cannot help but recognise the homages to these sci-fi classics, whilst also appreciating how this movie brings this sense of action to a new level.
And to make this even better, The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe as a group through these adventures. It is wonderful to see these fan-favourite characters reunited – to see Finn and Poe play off against each other and to see Rey find her place within the group is truly beautiful.
The Rise of Skywalker really is Star Wars action and adventure at its best.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Old and New
The sequel trilogy has often been criticized as being overly-dependent on nostalgia, but The Rise of Skywalker masterfully blends nostalgia and innovation.
Whilst embracing nostalgia to an extent (as with the return of Palpatine and Lando), it also introduces a multitude of new concepts: the plot-point of a mole in the First Order, the elaboration on the Force Dyad, Rey’s collaboration with past Jedi…
The movie is, of course, a tribute to the originals, but J.J. Abrams still manages to inject the movie with exciting and innovative concepts, which is what Star Wars has always been about.
Previous sequel movies do this too – look at Luke’s Force Projection in The Last Jedi, for instance – but The Rise of Skywalker is packed with it. One only needs to leaf through the pages of the extended visual dictionary for the movie to see the wealth of exciting new material fans have had to digest following its release.
What’s more, The Rise of Skywalker introduces a plethora of new characters that have quickly become favorites, such as the kick-ass Jannah or the adorable Babu Frik!
The movie also manages to do this whilst also being respectful of what has come before, perfectly represented by the beautiful and careful depiction of the late Carrie Fisher, who is very much at the heart of this movie as Leia and whose story is wonderfully concluded.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Rey’s Journey
The Rise of Skywalker takes the storyline of Rey’s desire for belonging and identity which had been so wonderfully laid out in the previous movies and takes it to a new, inspiring level.
No other Star Wars movie delivers such a powerful moral of self-discovery as does The Rise of Skywalker which shows Rey finally finding her position in the galaxy by rejecting the possessive bonds others try to impose on her, overcoming her inner struggle (represented by the Darkside Rey vision), and embracing a new and autonomous identity.
The wonderful nuance of this message is represented in the final scene of the movie, in which Rey buries Luke and Leia’s lightsabers on Tatooine and takes on the name of Rey Skywalker. It shows how she is respectfully burying the past and moving forwards, yet also appreciating its importance in moving on by taking on the name of Skywalker.
At that moment, Rey becomes her own person (symbolised by her unique yellow lightsaber) and it is a person who is both independent from yet also respectful of the past and her heritage. It is an incredibly powerful, subtle message for people still searching for their place in life.
And it is this combination of subtle moral message and epic set-piece action scenes that makes The Rise of Skywalker the perfect movie on so many levels. It’s accessible for those who want amazing action and adventure, yet also pertinent for those looking for powerful independent characters.
It really is the best of the sequels.
The Rise of Skywalker is now available to stream on Disney+.