Here we are. 42 years since Star Wars (aka Episode 4, A New Hope) hit the big screen and created a cultural phenomenon. Now we finally reach the ‘end’, of the so-called Skywalker saga, at any rate, with Episode 9.
It’s been a rocky path. Few people loved the prequel trilogy, and this final trilogy seemed to enrage the fans. Personally, I rather enjoyed my rewatch of episodes 7 and 8 this week, although I can see why they were disappointing if you were more invested in the universe than I’ve ever managed. And so I went into this fully expecting another slice of entertainment.
Aaand… even I, not a rabid fan, came away just a bit disappointed. Oh, it looks glorious. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is great as a strong, conflicted new Jedi. Kylo Ren has managed to become more interesting than the stroppy teen from Ep7. Poe (Oscar Isaac) gets to smoulder and flirt with everything and anything. And then there’s the cameos, the old familiar faces, some new faces, the pulling together of threads from 8 other movies, the quest to find the thing that’ll let them find the other thing, the psychological stuff, Finn’s sudden Force-ish awareness, battles, morals, sand, space, more sand, and the resurrection of an old enemy.
Which is to say that it feels like they threw in everything bar the kitchen sink (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the background somewhere as some kind of easter egg) and managed to make rather a glorious mess.
Oh, it’s not awful. But I hoped for more. Instead it’s trying too hard on pretty much every level. There are fan nods and nostalgia things, some of which work more than others. There are also a raft of new characters and as many new planets as they could squeeze in, but there’s no time for half of it. And with so many threads to tie up, some aren’t really done justice – character development in particular goes out of the window, sometimes clashing with the previous movie(s).
I think my main complaint is that it all feels rather disjointed. Both in-movie, and in-series; I don’t think they’ve picked the right elements to focus on, or brought back things to make for the most satisfying story. And yet, the main stories, for the main characters, those are mostly dealt with. Perhaps it was just always going to be too much, tying together this universe. I highly doubt it’s the last we see of it, right enough.
Released: 19th December 2019
Viewed: 29th December 2019
Running time: 142 minutes
My rating: 6/10 – not awful, not amazing, bonus mark for looking amazing