Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ★★★

In my view this is a somewhat more successful franchise pastiche than THE FORCE AWAKENS but it clearly lacks the formal cohesion and the spiritual and autocritical core that made THE LAST JEDI so indelible. Abrams was criticized once for basically rehashing STAR WARS, and this time he's done an equally competent job of it for RETURN OF THE JEDI: sometimes wildly bloated, other times strangely rushed, with poignant moments bumping right up against eyerolls, and too-pat resolutions sitting alongside unnecessary and overdetermined so-called arcs. What works here is, as always, look and feel: in design, in basic structure, in humor, in moments of real emotional power and even in half-assed callbacks. Ultimately I'm glad this saga is supposedly over. I've spent as much time as a Star Wars fan being frustrated and dissatisfied as I have being awed and thrilled and moved, and in true fashion this provided both experiences. The dead really can speak sometimes, and here they're saying that a little can feel like a lot, and maybe a lot is too much of what you never really needed.

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