Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ★★½

Caught the opening day latest 3D showing - started at 10pm, got over at 12:45am.

Video Review - just left the theater (no spoilers)

Firstly, you don't need to waste any surcharge money with the 3D version of this film. I detected very little 3D about it. Some additional depth in scenes, but that's about it. Skip the 3D and go IMAX or 2D if you choose to watch it at all.

Return of the Palpatine. We learn in the opening crawl that Palpatine is back so no spoiler there. For those who haven't read any of my other eight Star Wars reviews, I saw the original Star Wars in the theater in the 70s and have seen every movie of the nine in the theater. I enjoyed The Force Awakens and strongly disliked The Last Jedi. This one sort of redeems some of what I didn't care for in the last one but it's an hour too long at least.

Too much hey let's go fight in this secret new place we can only find if we have this mystic triangle locator thing. There are two in existence, I guess one for the bad guys and one for the good. It's just a long, long trek to get to the best part, which is the final battle we all know is coming. Rey has several light saber duels. Some cameos and callbacks to prior episodes. And then it's over, roll credits.

Just an OK experience for me. Very little to nothing like the original Star Wars that wowed me and so many others. The original trilogy is just miles better than most of what has been Disney Star Wars. I think they started out good with Force Awakens and then just kind of ran out of steam with the high risk Rian Johnson turn of Luke ... until Jon Favreau and Filoni whipped up The Mandalorian. I would rather have seen that than any of the Disney Star Wars movies, including this one.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren? Just felt a bit uninspired in this outing, while he was very good in the other two, despite not always having the best source material to work from. Daisey Ridley as Rey? Meh. I could never get into Poe in any of the three movies. Finn? Remember his cool storyline about how he deserted being a stormtrooper? Is any of that revisited here, what did that mean? Nothing that I caught. Too bad, because that could have been used so much better other than a once in a while reference to knowing key points about how First Order worked (that's an obvious one!). Maybe I missed it between yet another battle toward a battle toward a battle. The new characters except for Rey are just kind of ... there, which just makes it difficult for viewers like me to get invested in what's going on.

I hope Disney pulls back and waits several years before they roll out another Star Wars feature film. I realize they aren't planning on making any more in this main franchise and will probably explore other characters like Obi Wan or maybe (yes!) Boba Fett. Wait enough time, let the fans clamor for something, build up the anticipation and then roll out a new trilogy or standalone that won't have everybody comparing it to the original trilogy which, frankly, is just so much better than anything that has come to theaters since.

No, this is not recommended. And that saddens me a bit because I really do love the franchise. I'm not a Disney hater, I like Disney (and was a day #1 subscriber to Disney+), but I don't think they have dug any new gold in the vast minefields of Star Wars in the theaters. Just go watch Mando and Baby Yoda's adventures. Sooo much better.

Todd Russell liked these reviews