Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: for better or worse, J.J. Abrams’ entry to the franchise sticks very closely to the original source; it loses freshness as it follows the story beats of previous films, but on the other hand, the matinée adventure story (filled with silly dialogue, black-or-white characters, fights with impossible odds) is entertaining (particularly if the cinematic universe is appreciated in the first place). The old hands of the cast know how to handle the material: Daisy Ridley makes a plucky, resourceful heroine; John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, two entertaining sidekicks; Adam Driver a moody, sinister villain. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill make short and emotional appearances (again, particularly for longtime fans). It’s also good to see that the newly introduced characters are further examples of strong and ingenious female characters. As has been a tradition, however, it’s the droids essentially steal the show, with spot-on comedic timing on the voice acting and sound design (typically competent). The production design (by Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins) creates many different, memorable and distinctive environments; Michael Kaplan’s costumes are likewise varied and colorful; special effects are effective. John Williams’ musical score is rousing and exciting as usual.
Read also: Star Wars: The Last Jedi