STAR WARS - THE RISE OF SKYWALKER REVIEW: Epic series gets a somewhat flat ending

Matt Adcock reviews Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (12A)

Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn
Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn

It’s all built up to this. The iconic saga of those called ‘Skywalker’ comes to an end. Having journeyed with this incredible franchise for four decades, which all began with the ground-breaking Stars Wars: A New Hope in 197, now we can witness the finale.

The Rise of Skywalker sees JJ Abrams return to the director's seat in order to steer this space-ship home for his Disney masters. So, is The Force strong with this entry, or is it time to hang up our lightsabers and move along?

As a huge Star Wars fan (yes, I called my firstborn son Luke as a homage), I’m a little disappointed to report that this final part of the saga isn’t the highlight I’d hoped for.

Here’s a quick catch up – the evil First Order led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) finds out that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) isn’t dead and has been secretly pulling the strings of what happened in the last two films. Not only that, but he’s such a rotter that he’s going unleash the ‘Final Order’ – an unstoppable battalion of thousands of new star destroyers he’s been building, all fully staffed and ready to conquer every free planet in the universe.

Meanwhile the heroic young Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley) must help Resistance General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher skilfully brought back using footage shot for The Force Awakens) plus hotshot X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) track down Palpatine. This mission requires finding an ancient Sith intergalactic satnav, because that’s the only way to get the secret location – obviously.

The plot dashes around bringing as much closure as possible to the burning questions like will Rey turn to the dark side, and will Kylo come over to the light? What was Poe’s shady backstory and what has General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) been hiding?

The climax sees another ragtag fleet take on the impossible odds of the Final Order, while Rey and Kylo discover their destinies.

The Rise of Skywalker delivers plenty of star-spectacle but feels very Force-d, over-saturated, and in the end it leaves a little aftertaste of disappointment.