Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker  (2019)

First of all, thank you for not spoiling this movie for me! While I assume that pretty much everyone else has already seen this, I will continue the tradition started with Rogue One and continued with The Last Jedi and keep this main review Spoiler-Free, and then let everything out after the trailer and [CH] logo.

Let's start simple: I was happy. Ending a 9-film (10 if you count Rogue One (I guess 11 if you want to include Solo)), 42-year journey was a daunting task, and there was literally no way to make everyone happy. Someone would find something to complain about, some character got slighted or storyline ignored or continuity messed up or something. I'm not saying Episodes 7-8-9 were perfect, but honestly when I look back at 4-5-6, there are plenty of errors and contradictions and ret-cons (many of them caused by the prequels, but that's for another time). My point is, this is entertainment, and it did the job by making me laugh, cry, cheer, and just feel pure excitement.

I was happy with all of the bits and pieces, from the acting to the cinematography to the CGI. The light-saber battles were excellent, and the climactic spaceship dogfights were incredible. As with any 2.5-hour movie there were bits that I would have left on the editing room floor, but it really didn't feel that long. Even the parts that could have been excised didn't really drag, they just weren't totally vital to the story.

After the internet hate machine rioted over Episode 8, I had feared that JJ Abrams would basically erase what Rian Johnson did, but I was mostly happy with the choices Abrams made. He honored the past without just re-hashing (like how The Force Awakens mirrored A New Hope). If this is it (and I hope it is), then I'm happy. I'm a huge Star Wars geek, so maybe I take this stuff more seriously than others, but to wrap up the Saga with a sense of both closure and an open future was satisfying.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" a 9 out of 10.

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Okay, so you're here because you want to be, not by accident, so you can't whine about spoilers.

- I legit thought they killed off Chewie. After killing Han, Luke, and knowing Leia was next, I actually believed they were just going to wipe the original trilogy slate clean.

- Similar to the casino planet in The Last Jedi, I felt like the side trip to visit Babu Frik was mostly unnecessary. Babu Frik was awesome, but we didn't need everything with the bits of Poe's backstory and the flirting with Zorii.

- Hux being the mole was good. His character projected this confident aura, delivering an epic speech to thousands of assembled troops, but it always seemed like a mask to hide how threatened he was by Kylo Ren. To have him be a snitch and to have him killed with a quick unceremonious blast was appropriate.

- Seeing Han was awesome. Just awesome.

- I'm not sure if I would have hated or loved it, but when Rey started to hear the voices of all the Jedi before her, I was expecting to see them all appear as Force ghosts. It may have been a bit of fan-service, but I think I would've geeked out to see Qui-Gon and Mace Windu standing alongside Luke.

- Kylo turning back to Ben and going good was fine. I wasn't the biggest fan of the kiss, though. I LOVED the 'shrug' that he gave when he was surrounded by the Knights of Ren and the lightsaber appeared in his hand.

- I know it's still unfair to bring in the real-world aspects, but everyone was worried about how the death of Carrie Fisher would impact the story of Leia. I kind of feel like Leia's sacrifice was weakened because we all knew that it had to happen. I suppose they could have let her live, and they could also have Fisher be alive and kill the character off, but I expected to cry at that moment, but the tears never came.

- I'm truly hoping this is the end. "The Mandolorian" is awesome, and I think that thanks to that the proposed Obi-Wan show could work. I know we can easily suffer from overkill, I wouldn't mind new movies or anthologies and distancing the Star Wars universe from the Skywalker family opens up endless possibilities.