As the third film of the third trilogy of the adored space-opera saga, the pressure and anticipation for Rise of Skywalker was incredibly high. After pulling the strings in The Force Awakens back in 2015, J.J. Abrams takes hold of the directorial reins once again to finish the story he started. Reeling from the loss of her mentor, Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her Jedi training under General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) while Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) sends her dark signals through the Force bond they share. When a mysterious threat is received from Emperor Palpatine, the Resistance must come together for another battle with The First Order.
It was well publicised that Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi strayed from the longstanding themes of the Star Wars series somewhat as the filmmaker exercised his own ideas. Much of this instalment sees Abrams regaining control, papering over narrative cracks to steer the ship back in the direction he left it pointing in. Because of the changes in personnel, the story is messy and incoherent and the attempt at fan service results in something that feels more like lazily crafted fan fiction, completely void of stakes or emotional resonance.
At the beginning of the trilogy, the new heroes were clearly sketched with shades of the old; Rey the new Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren the new Darth Vader; Poe Dameron the new Han Solo. This worked well with the nostalgic vibes of the comeback, but unfortunately after three outings none of the modern faces have been allowed the scope to break free from the shackles of the original films. Aside from Driver who helped to make Kylo Ren one of the most intriguing figures of the piece, most of the other performances are lost in space. Characters and their flimsy arcs are picked up for while then cast aside like an impatient child playing with a Star Wars Lego set.
It’s frustrating that the inconsistencies of the crew has been so detrimental on the trilogy as a whole, and unfortunately this final chapter epitomises the considerable conflicts in vision. Even by the far-flung constructs of the sci-fi fantasy genre, the plot is nonsensical, and the action is completely forgettable. The Rise of Skywalker is a rescue mission gone terribly wrong.